Sakura Spotlight Series: Elissa Heitzler
Elissa Heitzler, the proud owner and creator of the fabulous jewelry business “Vintage Harte” knows exactly where her heart lies. *Pun intended* By pursuing something she felt passionate and excited about, she has been able to take her business to places she could never have imagined. We’re excited to introduce her and can’t wait to see where she goes from here.
- Tell us a little bit about your business and what you do.
Vintage Harte is a small-batch jewelry business where I design and deliver bold, empowered jewelry! I aim to create jewelry that is filled with energy and empowerment for all women ~ at least I hope people feel that way when wearing Vintage Harte pieces! Vintage Harte began about 10 years ago to help keep the women in my family connected. Following a 6-year hiatus, taking care of my babies, I started Vintage Harte back up in January of 2018. Harte is my maternal grandma’s maiden name. She was an amazing woman who I connected with on a deeper level. We were authentic and filled with love when together! So the meaning behind the name is that my mom, my sisters & I are all “Vintage Harte”.
Vintage Harte is a wholesale business model with quarterly pop-up or market opportunities to share my experience with fellow creators and to launch new styles. As of today, Vintage Harte is in 17 boutiques nationwide. Coming up, Vintage Harte will be at the One of A Kind Show at The Mart in Chicago, IL from 24-27 April! I am so excited for this market – as it has been one of my goals since I relaunched Vintage Harte in 2018.
- What made you aspire to be an entrepreneur?
I wish I could tell you that I was more intentional in being an “entrepreneur”. However, for me, it was more of an organic development. My undergrad was in interior design and art history. As a traditional artist, I had acrylic painting and industrial sculpture exhibits/shows in Denver, Des Moines, Chicago in my late teens & early twenties. When I moved back to the midwest, my art took a backseat to my drive to build a business career. I enjoy a successful career working for a Fortune 100 company but found myself really getting the itch to create again. The call was so loud that I decided it would start as something to keep my sisters & mom connected. In the re-launch, my focus has been on exploring this exciting world of makers! I have had the joy to invest in developing myself and my community of makers – both male & female! I went to Camp Climb in 2018 & 2019 and have invested in multiple online resources to support Vintage Harte and my own wellbeing.
- What is the one thing you wish you had known before starting your own business?
The one thing I wish I would have known before starting this journey was to dream big and not to limit yourself. Not kidding – let your dreams go and see where it takes you! It is so exciting and freeing to me… and I think that is why Vintage Harte has continued to be my fresh, creative, fun outlet.
- What has been the most successful avenue for building and growing your brand/business (social media, ads, word of mouth, referrals, etc.)?
In building and growing the Vintage Harte brand, my most success has been through social media, not only with investing in professional photos of Vintage Harte jewelry, but with customer shout-outs, collaborations with other makers and tribe love. These have all built enthusiasm around the quality, intention & personality of Vintage Harte. #boldempoweredjewelry
- What are the aspects of your business that you enjoy the most?
I enjoy the “making” the most! When I can channel my energy into the process of designing & creating a final product, I am most content.
- What do you love doing in your free time to refuel and have fun?
To refuel, I enjoy napping with my dog, Millie! Millie is a 10-year-old English Springer Spaniel I rescued from a pound in Chicago when she was 5. I also rely heavily on meditation and recommended books to keep myself grounded and growing. To have fun, I spend time with my two kids, Hannah (12) & Hayden (7). They are both at such different stages in their lives — and I don’t want to miss a thing! You often can find me at the top of the bleachers at a number of different sports for either one of them — or at my in-law’s lake house fishing, kayaking, and just goofing around with the family.