Kali Hawk is a successful actress and owner of H.CROWNE jewelry. You may have seen her in Fifty Shades of Black, Couples Retreat, Bridesmaids, and/or Tyler Perry Presents Peeples. Her company H.CROWNE is a high fashion accessories company based in Los Angeles that started in 2015. Through her work ethic, celebrities such as Beyoncé, Janet Jackson, Nicki Minaj, and Serena Williams have been spotted sporting her jewelry.
She spoke to The Industry Cosign about what helps her succeed and how her faith keeps her happy.
You’ve been acting for some time now and you also have your own business outside of acting. What moved you to start your own business?
While enjoying my acting career I became a serious jewelry collector, often wearing my own jewelry in whatever film or television projects I was in. Little by little, it seemed that collecting jewelry gave way to commissioning custom pieces to be made, and the next thing I knew I was designing. In my case, what started out as a very personal endeavor turned out to have mass appeal. So in a way, it’s like the business started itself!
You’ve had a number of celebrities supporting you in your endeavor. Who are some of the people who have been most supportive of H.CROWNE, and how does it feel knowing that these celebrities are helping your business?
The first person to wear H.CROWNE jewelry publicly once the brand was launched was Madonna for the cover of Harper’s Bazaar. That was a huge deal to me, and a major confirmation that perhaps I wasn’t crazy to launch a High Fashion accessories company. Beyoncé has worn my jewelry a few times and I continue to be amazed that I even can say that! What’s been the most heart-warming thing to me is that people want to keep working with my brand and keep wearing my jewelry again and again. Nicki Minaj has worn H.CROWNE almost daily for the last two years. It’s really touching to see brand loyalty in action. So many wonderful stylists and superstars have lovingly welcomed H.CROWNE to the marketplace. It feels like an honor to be in business with such top creative people.
Evidently, you’re an entrepreneur! What advice would you give someone who wants to invest in themselves and start their own business?
As long as you’re in business doing something you love, and feel passionate about, entrepreneurship can be truly rewarding. It’s also fun to be creative and give the world a chance to get excited about something new. My love of jewelry became something I get to share with the world. If you love something, you gotta give it a chance to flourish and see where it can go. You may be pleasantly surprised!
How do you balance the business aspects of your company with the creative mindset needed for your acting roles?
I lead a very monastic lifestyle, which includes a lot of long walks and quiet time. Beyond that, I’ve found the best thing has been to allow myself to ask for help with things when I need it. Still, though, I can’t say that things are ever really perfectly in balance because the Entertainment and Fashion industries are super chaotic. Sometimes it’s the chaos that delivers you the gift of creation, so you can’t knock it. Whether there’s a flurry of activity or a moment of peace, I just try to let things be what they are and offer up improvements where I can. Or take a nap! [laughs]
As an NYC native, how has the hustle mentality that New Yorkers are famously known for, helped shape your success in acting, your jewelry obsession, and your entrepreneurial spirit?
What people describe as “hustle” is really just creativity. New York City life demands you get creative about accomplishing even the simplest of things, whether it’s crossing the street or going after a job. Things are always changing and it keeps you on your toes. You’ve gotta know how to improvise. That’s definitely something I utilized in my acting career because my focus was on comedy and improv. I feel the most alive when everything is up in the air, and I think New York is definitely to blame for that! Everything about the energy of New York is just so motivational. It’s aspirational AND inspirational, and there’s just a feeling that you can do anything! Whether it’s fashion, or jewelry, or finance, big business is everywhere, and from an early age I felt swept up in the energy of it all. New York City is the only place I get excited just thinking about. If you’re wanting to create success, you’ll find a lot of like-minded individuals there and I love that.
What is your vision for H.CROWNE in the future?
The future of H.CROWNE is definitely to keep focusing on quality while pushing the limits of affordable luxury. I’d love to keep expanding and finding new ways to make my jewelry even more affordable and more accessible worldwide. That’s something I’m in talks about now, and there are a lot of options. One thing I created just for fun is a Subscription Box that fans of the brand can sign up for at various price points. It’s essentially like a little sample sale that comes in the mail each month. I love choosing which items to send out each month and hearing the positive feedback from subscribers. I’d like to expand that more in the future as well.
What drives you to get up and run your business? How can anyone reading this get inspired by how you operate your business?
I think about jewelry all the time, and I really care about people being happy with their purchases, so I guess I’d say I’m driven by the love and the joy of making people happy. Love, joy, and happiness are not typical words people associate with business, but if you start your day with those words you’re guaranteed to have a better experience. When you’re surrounding your business with the energy of love, joy, happiness, and gratitude, it comes across in everything you make and people can feel the difference in your products. Many customers have said my jewelry brought them good luck and I love hearing that because it means the good energy that surrounds the business is transferable. As an entrepreneur, I find it’s always easy to get inspired thinking about ways to care even more about the energy my company is putting out.
What attracts people to purchase items from you? What draws people to H.CROWNE?
Many times people are drawn to purchase whatever jewelry their favorite celebrity is wearing at the moment. Fans are super great about gathering up fashion details and sharing them across social media so that creates a lot of buzz. Mainly though, it’s when people get to see the jewelry that the greatest impact is made because people are shocked by the quality. Quality sparkle and quality craftsmanship are key! We make fine jewelry, semi-fine jewelry, and fashion jewelry, but people often confuse our costume jewelry for fine jewelry because of how good it looks. Needless to say, people are more than pleasantly surprised to learn just how affordable it is.
What are some of the qualities and/or characteristics you look for in a business partner, and what keeps you moving forward with a business relationship for the longterm?
I like simplicity when working with others. People who do what they say they can do, deliver results, and are accountable to themselves are the easiest to work with. In any capacity, dependability and integrity are a must.
If there is one thing you can live by, in terms of handling business, what is that and why?
In business and in life I say: Always keep God first place. One way I do this is by tithing. It’s the biblical principle of giving 10% of any money I receive to an inspirational institution. I honor each purchase from my company this way as well, and donate 10% of each purchase to a church or similar organization. It keeps the positive energy flowing through my business, and also keeps praise and thanksgiving at the forefront of my mind. It definitely brings a Divine sense of order to everything, and it invites you to be grateful for what you’ve been given before you do anything else. The more thankful you are, the more you’ll have to be thankful for, and tithing definitely creates financial wonders in my life all the time so I stand by it in business especially!