Haverhill Collection Co-Founders and Partners Haverhill Leach and Alison Cariati have a model business partnership, each coming to the table with unique but complementary talents. Creativity is in Haverhill’s DNA, from four generations in the jewelry business on her father’s side to her mother’s successful interior design career. She studied fashion design at Syracuse and the London College of Fashion and spent her summers soaking up experience at design houses such as David Yurman, Joseph Abboud and Vivienne Westwood. She worked as an accessories designer before launching her own swimwear line in 2006, which went on to be named as one of the “seven essentials for your closet” by no less than Vogue and be featured in a centerfold piece for the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. Alison honed her business expertise over years in executive positions for businesses and law firms, culminating in her work as a strategic consultant managing all aspects of a jewelry line for QVC, including product development, supplier and vendor relationships, and financial modeling and forecasting. These two Rhode Island-based moms joined forces to create Haverhill Collection, a line of “statement fine jewelry for every day”. Their concept won them the 2013 Rhode Island Business Plan competition – fitting, given Rhode Island’s reputation as the “jewelry capital of the world” – and the grand prize money allowed them to get their start.
What are three words that best describe your company? Haverhill: Happy, Evolving, Open.
Five years from now I see myself and my company… Alison: Flourishing as a growing, thriving company with a team of creative, passionate, hardworking and happy people.
I gave up ____ to pursue my dream: Alison: A traditional 40-60 hour week corporate environment with benefits and stability.
The key to balancing it all is: Alison: Not to expect to. You have to own your dream, vision and pursuit. There is nothing balanced about that.
What makes you different from your competition? Haverhill: Our aesthetic is very clean and easy. Our jewelry is designed to go with your whole wardrobe so that you can wear fine jewelry of beautiful quality whether you are dressed casually or more formally.
My biggest challenge is… Haverhill: Patience. Getting a company off the ground requires so much of it, something I have to remind myself of constantly!
What piece of invaluable advice did you receive that you would like to pass on to women pursuing their dream? Alison: Learn to take yourself seriously. That was the message given at my college convocation at Smith College, delivered by then-President of the school Jill Kerr Conway, and it has stayed with me ever since.
The most important thing I have learned so far is… Alison: Everything takes longer and costs more than you think it will.
My best quality and/or worst trait is… Haverhill: The best is that I can design a whole collection in a couple of days. Once I start there is no stopping me! My worst is that I lack organization. You should see my desk during the design process!
The best people to work with always… Alison: Are creative, hardworking, enjoy what they do, and really know what they know and what they don’t.
LET’S GET PERSONAL:
What are three words that best describe you: Haverhill: Impulsive, Mellow, Caring.
When you go on vacation you always… Alison: Go for sun and beach, late night romantic dining, and several good books. Haverhill: Have a cocktail before the appropriate hour!
My favorite singer/album is… Alison: Dave Matthews Band, but on my playlist right now you’ll find a lot of country.
My favorite food is… Alison: Pasta with fresh parmesan and a glass of red wine. Haverhill: Prosciutto, spaghetti, and anchovies.
Lately I’m inspired by: Haverhill: My silly, kind, and excited children.
I’m most proud of… Alison: My children.
A woman who inspires me is: Haverhill: My fabulous and brilliant mother.
Office would not be complete without: Haverhill: Music!
One thing I hope to pass along to my children is… Alison: Confidence, optimism, love, and the will to change the world.
WHAT’S ON YOUR DESK?
Photo of my kids in a Jonathan Adler Studded Frame. (Haverhill)
A paperweight from my husband’s rugby team. (Alison)
Prismacolor Fine Line Marker for technical drawings. (Haverhill)
A wooden box my son made in elementary school – it holds pencils and paper clips. (Alison)
Color Index by Jim Krause. (Haverhill)
Tell us what LIVING THE DREAM means to you: Alison: To pursue a passion that is challenging, creative and rewarding that contributes to my family’s and my business partner’s and our employees’ well-being. Haverhill: I will be living my dream when the business is thriving financially and creatively.