American Marketer


John Hardy backs design contest benefiting art students

October 20, 2011


Balinese jeweler John Hardy raised $1,700 for the Take Home a Nude Art auction with a signature cuff partially designed by former contest winner Taehun Lee, who is currently studying with the creative director at the brand's Bali compound.

Coinciding with the Take Home a Nude Art auction, Ms. Lee arrived at the designer’s compound in Bali Oct. 17 to begin training alongside creative director Guy Bedarida. Ms. Lee had won a contest hosted by John Hardy that asked students at the New York Academy of Art to create a back grill design for its signature cuff collection.

“The artisans who craft our collections alongside head designer and creative director Guy Bedarida are the heart and soul of the John Hardy brand, where everything is still handmade,” said Damien Dernoncourt, CEO of John Hardy, Hong Kong.

“Carrying on traditions of ancient Balinese design techniques, their talent results in jewelry that is truly a one-of-a-kind work of wearable art,” he said. “We felt the academy was a perfect partnership for the brand to expose the value of the arts to a younger population.”

Art buffs
The Take Home a Nude Art auction was held Oct. 17 by the New York Art Academy and famed auction house Sothebys, with all of the profits benefiting the academy.

Official sponsors of the event included Chanel, Baccarat and Cadogan Tate.

The event is well-known among New York’s wealthy, art enthusiasts and celebrities alike, with this year’s guests including Mary-Kate Olsen and actress Padma Lakshmi.

John Hardy contributed a signature cuff, complete with Ms. Lee’s back grill.

The jewelry brand has been involved with the New York Academy of Art for quite some time now and was the exclusive host of the school’s Tribeca Ball this past April.

In the weeks preceding the ball, John Hardy asked students to design a back grill to be incorporated into the brand’s signature cuff.

The winner, Ms. Lee, was announced at the Tribeca Ball, along with the prize of studying alongside the brand’s creative director in Bali for one week.

“John Hardy recognizes the importance of cultivating today's youth,” Mr. Dernoncourt said. “We have a tradition of training our artisans and young people to carry on the John Hardy spirit."

Insider view
Ms. Lee arrived at the John Hardy compound in Bali on Oct. 17.

The young contest winner will be writing and creating video content that will be featured on the John Hardy blog throughout her time with the brand.

“We hope Ms. Lee will use this experience to take full advantage of the opportunity to work under Mr. Bedarida, who has Place Vendome training, and the artisans at the compound,” Mr. Dernoncourt said.

“By documenting her trip online, fans of the brand will be able to get an up close and personal view of the John Hardy jewelry-making process and exposure to the extraordinary surroundings in Bali,” he said.

Indeed, three blog entries have already become live, as of press deadline.

The first entry is from the narrator’s point of view and discusses her arrival, which included a private tour with Mr. Bedarida of the design and production room, the workshop and a “Triple Ceremony” where Ms. Lee learned the importance of the original Balinese culture to the brand.

Ms. Lee penned the second entry, which explains her reaction to the warm welcome she received and her immediate thoughts of Bali. Ms. Lee was able to see many of the collections’ inspirations from her surroundings, according to the blog.

In the third entry, Ms. Lee discusses traveling with the John Hardy team to plant bamboo in the Lebih Green Village.

As part of its corporate responsibility initiative, for every piece of jewelry that John Hardy creates using bamboo, the brand plants three more trees in Bali.

Ms. Lee will continuing blogging through her week at the John Hardy compound and will also be including videos and other content.

The digital emphasis comes as no surprise given John Hardy's recent Web site and social media revitalization (see story).

The site now includes videos that illustrate the story of the brand’s origins in Bali, industry insights and information on the brand’s social responsibility endeavors.

“A digital platform is crucial to engage our customers, educate them and complete the circle of brand experience,” Mr. Dernoncourt said.

“It is our hope with our recently-launched Web site that customers will feel more closely connected to the John Hardy brand,” he said

Final Take
Kayla Hutzler, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York