Hila Rawet Karni is a talented jewelry designer whose works have been featured throughout the world, from Tokyo and Design Basel in Miami to Tel Aviv, Milan, and London. Combining her background in industrial design, her knowledge of origami, and her impeccable fashion sense, Hila incorporates unusual materials to create unique, wearable pieces.
You are an industrial designer by trade. What prompted the interest in jewelry?
In my work, I use silicon, paper, grommets, and stainless steel. As an industrial designer, I am fascinated by the idea of taking raw materials that are not usually used for jewelry and transforming them into wearable objects. I want to create jewelry that is beautiful and luxurious and is not made out of gold and silver.
A lot of my inspiration comes from my family and my childhood. My father is an industrial designer and my grandfather was a jeweler and woodworker. I have vivid memories of looking through albums of my grandfather’s works, and going through his origami books, trying to create the designs myself. Those experiences stuck with me, and influence my work. My Kipul collection, for example, is created using one large piece of material that I fold and manipulate. I don’t use any glue or add in additional pieces.
One of your main distribution channels is Etsy. What do you like and dislike about the site?
I like that Etsy provides me with an online store that was easy to create and maintain, and I don’t need to invest a lot into it financially. I also use a similar site, Erayo, a marketplace for wholesalers. Overall, I think Etsy is great, but it’s hard to browse randomly and find something interesting; you have to know where to look. Also, as a seller, it’s very time intensive. I sometimes find myself explaining to customers how to use the site. I even made a video recently to show one customer how to make a payment.
How do you use social media to promote your designs?
My online strategy is threefold: I have my website, which I use mainly as an online portfolio, with detailed information about my collections, press links, and contact information. On Etsy, I have my online store, and I also have a Facebook page that I update frequently. I use it to promote new designs and collections, and spread the word about upcoming sales and other news.
Facebook is amazing in the way that it produces a ripple effect. A good friend of mine who lives in New York recently came into work to see her colleague wearing one of my designs. When she asked her about it, the colleague said she saw that my friend was a fan of my designs on Facebook, and through Facebook she went to my Etsy page to buy the necklace. It also helped me foster new connections on the distributor end. I connected with a retailer in Palo Alto, California through Facebook and she is currently selling my designs there.
What advice can you give to artists trying to promote their brands online?
The main piece of advice I would give to artists trying to promote their brands is to coordinate the various pieces of their online presence. Try to update your Facebook and Etsy pages around the same time. Also, aim to slowly introduce a collection as opposed to putting everything up at the same time. It gives people a reason to come back more often.