Jeanine Hsu, the founder and designer of niin, an environmentally and ethically-conscious line of accessories and jewellery, is redefining what it is to be an environmentalist. With her gentle demeanor and welcoming smile, we spoke with her about the importance of caring for the planet, her love for Leo DiCaprio and why running her own boutique is everything she could have hoped for, and more:
Despite being born in London, I visited my grandparents in Hong Kong quite often before finally moving here when I was 7 years-old. After studying at boarding school and university in the UK, I began the initial stages of my career in design. I almost feel like my time away from Hong Kong allowed me to discover what it was that I really wanted to do, and to go in a direction that felt organic. I’m lucky as I feel that Hong Kong promised an environment of incredible support and possibilities.
niin handcrafts nature’s treasures to create original jewellery and accessories, with ethical practices at it’s core.
When I was a little girl, I used to pretend to be a shopkeeper in my room—lost in my world of make believe for hours on end! I remember I even asked for a checkout till for Christmas one year, and got a calculator instead!
Looking back, perhaps the only thing I would have done differently is to take the time to travel to more obscure places before I had the business (and baby). I think there is still time for that, I also wish I had become more socially and environmentally involved earlier, but there is always time for this too.
I look to Leonardo DiCaprio for inspiration, he seems like a man who has followed his dreams and someone who uses his talents and success to spread a bigger message to try and change the world for the better.
The best part about running your own business is that you have the choice to work with peole who are like-minded, and on issues you believe in. Essentially, running your own business allows you to surround yourself with people and things that inspire you everyday, it also allows you to constantly challenge yourself.
My advice to budding entrepeneurs is to surround yourself with honest, savvy, inspirational people and to take as much of their support and feedback as possible, to challenge yourself to constantly learn, develop, grow and refine.
Aside from being a mother, my proudest accomplishment is having my own shop, it really is a dream come true. When I was a little girl, I used to pretend to be a shopkeeper in my room—lost in my world of make believe for hours on end! I remember I even asked for a checkout till for Christmas one year, and got a calculator instead. Later when i was selling my first designs on Portobello and Spitalfields market I dreamt of having a roof too—and now I do!
In ten years I hope to be able to say that I have grown a healthy family, and business...and that I am surrounded by interesting friends from all corners of the world.
My words to live by are: “Treat others the way you wish to be treated.”
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