Founder of Zahava
Since bringing her first company “The Brave Collection” to life, which is jewelry handmade in Cambodia to support local artisans and empower women against human trafficking, Jessica has been named a Forbes 30 Under 30, interviewed by MSNBC, and invited as a guest to the White House. Her passion lies in using design as a platform to tell powerful stories and celebrate moments in time including the people who shared them. Zahava is the second collection born from a desire to connect spiritually, emphasizing the symbolic character of jewelry.
Instantly smitten with this young lady and her gorgeous necklaces, we met with Jessica for a little chat about her upbringing, her creative motivation and feel-good rituals.Who is Jessica Hendricks?
I was born in Paris and I grew up outside Manhattan. As a kid I was obsessed with theater and was always performing in a new play. When I was 14 my mom opened up a jewelry store, and I started to fall in love with the world of design.
What inspired you to launch Zahava?
I’m Jewish and my husband is Chinese-American. When we were planning our wedding, it was an absolute feast of rituals, symbols and traditions. I was so moved by the idea of symbols from the past that have held meaning to millions of people for thousands of years. I began to dream about reimagining heirlooms to keep the past alive with an openness to the present.
What do you love the most about being an entrepreneur?
I love being able to put my perspective out into the world in a way that can change the status quo and hopefully open up people’s minds to a new way of thinking.
What do you do to pick yourself up when necessary?
I think for me, honing my self awareness is really key. Sometimes I’m feeling complacent and I need to go to a museum or on a trip to spark a new idea. Other times I’m feeling completely bogged down and depleted and I just need a day at home in my sweatpants! Giving myself the permission to be wherever it is that I’m at is challenging for me, but ultimately so liberating.
What do you admire the most in other people?
Passion, drive, kindness, spirit, soul and warmth.
Do you have a life philosophy?
In ancient Kabbalah, they teach that we each have a Tikkun, or correction – something deep in our nature that we are here on this earth to work on, and hopefully overcome. I believe this to be true.
Describe the symbolism of jewelry.
Jewelry is very intimate. It can honor a moment in time, a place, a feeling, or even a person. There’s something quite magical about the permanence of metal, and the fluidity with which it can be worn for years like a second skin.
Does this apply to your wardrobe as well? Do you associate clothing with memories?
Yes, almost to a fault! I remember the shirt I took my SATs in! I am a very visual person, so clothes and accessories from the past immediately take me back to a time and place, like smelling bottle of a perfume you used to wear.
What describes your own dress-code best? Has it evolved over the years?
As I’ve gotten older my wardrobe has definitely simplified. I have better quality pieces and don’t feel the need to have as many. I invest in blacks and ivories for the most part because that is what I live in. Ultimately I just love being comfortable so I’ve stopped kidding myself and realized that if I buy something too fussy or uncomfortable, I’m just never going to wear it.
What do you hope to see happening the next couple of years?
I’m excited about balance. I want to live my career dreams full on and grow this new brand internationally! I also want to continue to hone the discipline to put work away and invest in my personal wellness and creativity, my relationships with my friends and family, and just allowing for time to simply be.