‘Boss Lady Of The Week’ Is A Weekly Column That Highlights Empowering, Entrepreneurial and Inspiring Females In Our Community
Tiffany Harrison Givens, owner of Harrison+Pike is making a fashionable impact on the world of sailing. A lover of all things nautical, Tiffany studied Textiles at URI and was raised just off island in South Tiverton. I exchanged my love for the country-esque vibe of Tiverton and made jokes with Tiffany about my desire to live out there and buy a John Deere tractor. She told me, “I used to ride my tractor in my yard all the time”. As you can imagine, we were fast friends.
Tiffany works from home, enjoys TED Talk radio hour and is a hardcore goal setter, “I’ve taken up five winter seasons with ideas already”. With her website and blog newly updated, Tiffany is ready to start the new season – and she’s going at it solo!
Q: Tell me about the company …
A: “I come from such a strong nautical and marine industry background. My Dad was an ocean safety inventor and my Mom worked on sailboats so I was always surrounded by parts. I always wanted to do fashion so I guess I combined it all together!”
Q: What’s your Mom’s opinion of your work?
A: “My mother loves it and I actually ask her for a lot of advice on how to construct pieces. I ask her for techniques to create strength, nautical stitches, and some shortcuts. I try and ask her what the easiest way would be to make something. She’s very crafty.”
Q: What’s the story behind the name?
A: “Harrison is my middle name and my previous partners last name is Pike. I almost named it Spike because that was a bulldog that I used to have.”
Q: I read on your website that your bracelets are created by splicing. Can you explain the ‘splicing’ method?
A: “I make my own splicing tools and I actually want to keep it a secret. I don’t know, I try to keep the technique to myself. It is a trade secret, any sailor could figure it out. I do make them with handmade tools, it is just a very basic back splice.”
I love Tiffany’s protective nature over her craft, isn’t it enticing?
Q: Other than the obvious, what inspired this brand and how exactly did you get started?
A: “I would say that having a solid concept and style vision is key and then you just have to pound the pavement to find reliable companies to source form.”
Q: Do you remember who bought your first bracelet?
A: “Yup, It was St. Patrick’s Day. [parade day] Meghan and I, this is before we had adjustable bracelets and sizes completely down, were selling them. We literally hit the streets for the first time on parade day and started selling them.”
Tiffany is a genius, selling bracelets on parade day in Newport. Not that anyone would need beer goggles to love these pieces but a little liquid confidence doesn’t hurt on either end.
Q: What is your personal sailing and marine background?
A: “I grew up sailing but I definitely do not have the God-given talent for it. I like to do it but I am definitely more comfortable in dinghies, Sunfishes and 420’s. I would rather be a passenger than partake in the action part of it.”
Q: Do you make every single bracelet?
A: “Everything so far is made by me, my hands are in rough shape. I hope that I can teach a couple people how to make them but I am an ultimate perfectionist when it comes to things that I make.”
Q: As a Salve Regina University alumni, I love that you make bracelets for the University. Do you have an idea what would be your dream location, establishment or person to make a bracelet for?
A: “Yeah! I am afraid to say what my prospects are though. I plan on doing a line for my high school, St. Andrews, in Barrington.”
Q: How often are you compared to other brands (i.e KJP, Lemon & Line)?
A: “In the beginning I was definitely compared a lot more but now that I have my own unique style people are starting to recognize it. When I do get compared to other brands I feel like it is a compliment because they’re also other awesome Rhode Island companies. I think we are all making a difference in the world of jewelry in Rhode Island.”
Q: Do you wear anyone else jewelry?
A: “I have always been really picky about what I wear but I love all jewelry. I try to make it a point to wear at least one or two items of my own a day. I will always wear this one [points to her sterling silver castaway bracelet]. I like stacking other brands with my own, I think it gives it depth of style.”
Q: Do you source your materials in the U.S?
A: “My rope is made in Fall River by New England Ropes and I source my leather from an American company as well, it is all raised and tanned in America.”
Q: Do you have plans on opening a storefront?
A: “I think that I want to focus on internet sales and wholesale accounts for now. There are so many great places that my designs fit into as far as quaint little nautical towns: Oak Bluffs, Newport RI, Portland Maine. I could never imagine opening up a chain of stores and hitting all these towns, I would rather be represented by big boutiques. I will do more trade shows eventually too, my current focus has really been on getting ready for the Boat Show.
Tiffany can be found at the Newport Boat Show in Tent A (September 15th-18th). She is presenting her bracelets on up-cycled Monomoy oars.
Q: What do you love most about Newport?
A: “Fashion and architecture go hand in hand, that is why it is so cool to be here [in Newport] and to live where my parents lived. I love seeing huge industrial pieces and try to make them functional as a jewelry design. I find myself walking around town and looking at architectural fixtures. Even on boats, I look at everything and to see if parts would be a contraption that would fit on my wrist.”
If you have not already been a customer of Harrison+Pike, take a moment to browse her website and pick your favorite rope + shackle.
Editor’s Note: If you’re the type of person that prefers to browse and shop in an actual store, the entire Harrison + Pike collection can also be found at Style Newport (located at 306 Thames Street in Newport).