John Hardy's history includes a long-standing affection for Texas and a deep connection to Houston. When the hand-crafted jewelry company began selling to states across the country in 1989, the Lone Star State was first in line. Twenty-seven years later, John Hardy is reaffirming its dedication to Houston, opening its very first stand-alone boutique in the River Oaks District.
The design vision for the store draws heavily on the company’s Balinese roots, incorporating black walnut, etched glass and the brand’s iconic hammered brass, exuding a luxuriously organic feel. During Houston’s summers, it’s a breath of fresh air and when the temperatures are cooler, it will surely feel like a slight tropical escape.
Jewelry cases line the perimeter of the 1,000-square-foot-store, so instead of a salesperson facing a shopper from the other side of a case, the design puts shopper and salesperson shoulder-to-shoulder for a more intimate experience.
“We want customers to walk in our stores and feel immersed in the John Hardy narrative and experience our jewelry as inspiring, yet approachable, art. Our founder was a sculptor, and we still feel our jewelry is art, as they are each one-of-a-kind handcrafted pieces,” Robert Hanson, John Hardy CEO said.
The company’s workshop in Ubud, Bali sources not only the jewelry, but also the little touches that seem right at home in the tony River Oaks District. Lighting and sound blend to reflect the rising and setting of the Balinese sun, throwing light on different parts of the store during the day, while a custom soundtrack plays.
Hanson and his team mulled over the smallest details for the first store (the second location opens this fall in New York) right down to staff wardrobing designed with with BIASA, a Balinese clothing line. Balinese tea and coffee served in handmade ceramic cups.
In a nod to Hardy’s beginning as a sculptor, a repurposed teakwood tree root was hand-carved and mounted on hammered brass sheets. The immersive experience extends to island in the middle of the store where shoppers are encouraged to touch the jewelry.
The John Hardy Collection has been available at Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and jewelry stores for years, but with the hiring of Hollie Bonneville Barden as its creative director, it was time for the company to take the next step. Bonneville Barden’s first first collection will be released fall 2017.
“The strategic move comes part of the larger brand transformation John Hardy is undergoing,” Hanson said. “We are striving to have the brand deliver to a much higher level of competitiveness globally.”
The Houston store carries exclusive pieces from the John Hardy Cinta Collection, one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces, as well the signature John Hardy Dot and Chain Collections. Ask to see what’s nestled in the drawers too. Colorful gemstones, diamonds and rose gold accented pieces offer a lighter look at the brand.