Up-Close with Jewels of the Orient

Over the weekend, we sat down with Hillary Kierspe, a sophomore at Furman University, who owns her own at-home business that specializes in pearl-based jewelry from China, to discuss her business and the fashion trends in China.

Alexander’s Eyes: First off, tell us about your company.

Hillary Kierspe: My company is a home-based jewelry business. I am connected to a Chinese jewelry store in Beijing, which is where I get my stock. I focus mainly on pearl-based jewelry, but also have a few interest pieces that are non-pearl related.

AE: You work with your brother; how is working with a sibling?

HK: Originally, we worked together in the company… [We worked] together for part of last year… but now my brother, Caleb, is [now a salesman for] Amway Global… He focuses mainly on selling healthy energy drinks and meal bars to students at Furman.

AE: What inspired you to establish your home business, Oriental Connection?

HK: Another girl who grew up in China originally inspired me. She and her sister established their own business and were able to get quite a large clientele. I decided, while still in high school, that when I returned to America for college, I would do the same thing.

AE: You lived in China because of your parents’ occupation. How would you compare Chinese fashion and jewelry to American trends?

HK: I would say that Chinese fashion is uniquely different from American fashion. There is no set “fashion,” so things turn out much more interesting. I love seeing the different outfits that they come up with; they tend to like sparkles and animal prints [and bright colors]. As far as jewelry goes, the most notable things are the earrings.

AE: What’s a Chinese trend in jewelry that you would like to see carry over into American and European jewelry?

HK: I think that right now, China is trying to emulate American and European jewelry and fashion. [However,] I would say [that I would like to see the Chinese’s] willingness to try anything in jewelry [be transferred over]. When looking for new stock, I see things that are strange, but beautiful in their uniqueness. They have all sorts of interesting earrings, like hamburger earrings, or earrings where one is a little shirt and the other is a pair of pants. Some are quite cool, made of wires and beads, others are cheesy and plastic, but all are interesting!

AE: Out of everything you’ve sold, what has been your favorite piece?

HK: I think that my favorite piece would have to be a Five Strand Black Pearl Necklace with a beautiful flower clasp and a matching set of earrings.

To contact Hillary and to view merchandise, please visit her Facebook page.