FIELD NOTES

Hali Emminger

Meetings

The Story.

We are building a collective of like-minded women who share a genuine love for the world around us. Women who live where mountains meet.

Meet Hali.

In the studio.

You started Hechizo as a side project. When did you know you were ready to pursue it full time?

I was working my umpteenth part time job after leaving a corporate role in order to pursue Hechizo. I kept thinking ‘if only I could devote the full workday to this business I know I could make it a success.’ I wasn’t worried about the scary things like feeding and sheltering myself as much as I was focused on shifting my laboring hours to growing the business. That’s how I knew it needed me full time. The universe opened that door swiftly! I was let go of my part time job and within three months we were in full swing.

Craftsmanship seems to run in your family. What were a few early influences that lead you to create Hechizo?

Thank you, I feel lucky to have so many creative folks around me! My dad, Bud, was a cabinetmaker when I was a kid and he always had a wood shop in our garage. He’s so resourceful with materials, so attuned to craftsmanship and so willing to create pieces for friends and family. I grew up with mostly handmade furniture in our home so I think that was my main influence. There’s a soulful feeling to handmade pieces and that’s certainly a pulse that runs through my collection.

Is there one source of inspiration you consistently return to?

I’m forever inspired by costume and adornment from all over the world.

Speaking of international cultures, you recently took a work trip to Guatemala. How did the culture and the community (including your artisan partners) impact your most recent collection?

That was a wonderful discovery trip working with the group of artisans in Panajachel. Weaving is a dominant craft in Guatemala and the pigments and patterns utilized in the region are just amazing. I’m detail-oriented so I was mesmerized by the motifs on the huipils, and fabrics. It definitely made me want to play more with color!

Carlos Gonzalez Ximenez (Cucurraumacho, Brazil)

In addition to working with artisan partners in Guatemala, you also run a studio of local artisans who handcraft every piece in your collection. What are a few of the things you do to boost morale when you are crunching to fulfill orders?

Dance breaks! We have a mini trampoline in the shop and I’m starting to make people go jump for a few minutes when they clearly need a break. Getting the blood pumping is a perfect re-boot.

What playlist do you listen to when work needs to get done (we all have one!)?

I like neo soul for focusing and busting out a project, maybe because of the easy pace. Give me Maxwell, Anthony Hamilton, D’Angelo…things’ll get done!

As small business owners who champion ethical practices and production, we both face quite a few uphill battles. What is the most valuable thing you have learned along the way? And what has been one of your proudest victories?

Keeping production of the core line in-house has been one of the most valuable assets for Hechizo. All the ceramic and leather components are produced in our Richmond, VA studio and it’s enabled me to keep a lean inventory and fulfill on demand. With my product there are many corners that could be cut in an effort to lower costs (decals for the ceramics, leather production overseas, etc.), but each step informs the next and it’s valuable to keep it all in the same location.

I also feel passionately about creating jobs within my community and that is going to automatically reduce the amount of jobs that are moved overseas. I would say my biggest win at Hechizo was expanding my studio and production team with my recent move to Virginia.

So then, what does the word community mean to you?

My sense of community has expanded since starting my business. I think of community as an ebb and flow of energy towards a common goal that gains greater force from the contribution of strengths from each involved.

Working with Friendship Bridge in Guatemala.

Learn more about Hechizo.

All imagery provided by Hechizo - unless noted otherwise.

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