Hadley Pollet is a contemporary American designer from the New York City area known for creating classic, timeless designs that inspire kind, powerful women to shine strong. Her line includes handbags, belts, one-of-a-kind jewelry designs, athletic wear, and apparel.
Hadley’s original signature belt designs sprung from inspiration while at Rhode Island School of Design. Her unique style caught the eyes of many when she wore a belt made of vintage ribbon and a tortoise buckle to a birthday party in Boston where several people asked where she got her belt. And with the blink of an eye, she started her business and never looked back. Since then, her line has expanded into a lifestyle brand for high-spirited, powerful women.
Her inspiration for not only her business but also her business’s purpose came after 9/11. Hadley felt propelled to channel the chaos going on politically, economically, and socially into something positive and uplifting. In January 2002, after several years of working in marketing and public relations for textile and fashion companies, Hadley Pollet launched her own line of belts made with copyrighted textiles that conveyed hope and happiness. Hadley’s intent since day one has always been to inspire women to radiate the power of kindness despite the ongoing negativity in our world. The brand represents self-expression, empowerment, and confidence by igniting an emotional desire for women to feel spiritually uplifted when dressing. Each piece in the line is intended to “exude an outfit” while propelling women to express their individuality, wholeheartedly. She hopes that every day, women wake up and dress as their spiritual selves, shining brightly for all the world to enjoy.
Sustainability for Hadley Pollet goes beyond ethical sourcing and green operations. It includes economic empowerment for women and female-owned businesses worldwide; propelling clarity, forging opportunities for women, and giving back. This translates into Hadley visiting every factory and artisan who works with the company, not only to make sure their business practices are ethical and fair but also that the women are paid fairly. It is a fact that if women are empowered economically, then the local society as a whole strengthens. Hadley personally
knows every factory the company sources from, who owns it, who partakes in the profits, how they produce products, and, even more importantly that there are kind, powerful women behind all the hard work who are treated equally to men.
Everything Hadley does is about helping to lift up women and girls, from training female artisans worldwide to involvement with Shark Tank mentorship programs at Westminster School and speaking engagements and events for organizations such as LiveGirl, the National Charity League, Connect to End Violence in Martha’s Vineyard, Boston University, Babson University and The Girl Scouts of America. Hadley Pollet is dedicated to aiding and inspiring young women to be future leaders of the world. And it all starts with inspiring women to express themselves.
StarCentral Magazine recently caught up with Hadley to discuss her journey to entrepreneurship and here’s what went down:
What do you like most about being a designer?
I literally FEEL color and texture with my whole being. The process of working with both to create products that give women a way to express themselves authentically is my favorite part of what I do. This goes for both our customers as well as the women who collaborate with us on the products we make.
I have a very critical eye. Everything I look at, I judge with a high standard of aesthetics. And it’s frustrating that my eye is constantly reminding me of how certain products are so badly made driving down the quality and design intent that fashion stood for, for centuries. The recent clutter of mass-produced products is a quintessential example of this.
What has been the most memorable experience of being in the fashion industry so far?
The day I opened Us Magazine and Eva Mendez was photographed full-page wearing our belt in a photoshoot to benefit AIDS. We didn’t know this was happening. Yet, Eva, the cause of the photo, represents, everything we love about powerful women using their influence for good. Also, the day Jessica Simpson decided to use my Departure Tote Bags as a gift bag at her birthday party.
Who have been the most interesting people you’ve met so far?
The women and families we work with In the United States and around the world. I love getting to know them personally. I also just love that our collaborative work with them creates a better life for their families and the local societies they live in. When you travel and get to know people from other parts of the world, the interconnectedness of being becomes blatantly obvious.
What has been the most valuable lesson you’ve learned while in the fashion industry. This can be about the industry or about yourself.
Always work with the best people. Surround yourself with people who have only pure intentions for you.
Is your family supportive of you being a fashion designer?
Yes. My husband is my biggest fan, as well as an integral part of the success of the company. My Mom has been behind me all the way. And actually, the textile business is an intricate part of my family lineage so I feel as if my ancestors are with me too.
What is the best advice you have ever been given?
You can never shine too brightly.
What are your future plans? Inside your career or out of it.
My plan has never changed – to raise the voices and businesses of women worldwide. We have a concept brewing at our company to do this in a new way, and I’m beyond thrilled with how it’s coming along. Fingers crossed we do it right and many women are elevated on the international stage via our brand.
The ‘LIGHTNING FAST’ Round:
1. Last good movie I’ve seen: Shadow of the Vampire. It’s hilarious.
2. What do you consider beautiful and why? Kindness. People who are kind radiate love by having an inherent ability to see and connect to the humanity in everyone. There is nothing more beautiful than loving kindness.
3. What haven’t you done yet that you wish you could? Dance on the Moon.
4. Complete this sentence: “If I had no fear, I’d…” Fly solo from planet to planet at light speed.
5. What is the one “flaw” you wouldn’t change about yourself? I don’t fit in and I don’t aspire to fit in. Many would call this a flaw. I prefer to go my own way.