Natalie HolstFounder & Designer of Holst +LeeNew York, New YorkPhotos by Lauri Levenfeld & Andrea PosadasStory by Lauri Levenfeld
When you meet Natalie, you immediately fall for her zany, fun-loving and creative spirit. She is her art and her art is she. Natalie has managed to make her passion for designing jewelry a true reflection of her life passions- infusing her inspirations around travel, art, and fashion within every creation. And every design has an extra dose of humor, a gifted way in which Natalie sees the world. I am currently wearing her What’s Your Sign bracelet and I am constantly stopped on the street. Natalie’s pieces are noticed.
Hi, I’m Natalie Holst-I am the designer and owner of |HOLST + LEE|, an NYC based Fashion and Jewelry House. I began my fashion career almost 10 years ago after moving to NYC from Charleston where I studied Art. Once I moved to New York I was fortunate enough to work for a variety of different fashion houses including Marc Jacobs, Proenza Schouler, and Adam Lippes. This being New York, I had to supplement my income by working in different restaurants as a maitre d…
Being an active participant in NYC nightlife, I was constantly inspired by the fashion and culture that is NYC and that was exactly the reason I moved here. Spending each night mingling around such people inspired me to create. It was here that I started designing and making jewelry to accentuate my looks each night. Since I couldn’t afford to be fabulous head to toe, I decided to make jewelry that would make my whole outfit look fashionable….and it worked.
I have always loved fashion. Just like most little girls I used to sneak into my Mom and Sister’s closets (even my Dad’s) and try and mix and mingle their clothes with mine. My Mom used to have this secret container of jewelry that I would play with when she wasn’t looking. And I was always making things whether it be art or drawings or whatever I could find. My background in Art led me to Fashion organically because the two are intertwined and now I strive to make wearable art.
Have I faced challenges as a women?…um yeah, where do I start? Ha. No, but I’ve been really blessed. Being a woman can lead to many challenges, but it’s about taking those challenges and making them work for you, not against you. There’s always going to be obstacles no matter where you come from. The real challenge is to not make that your excuse to not accomplish the things you want in life.
There are so many obstacles when it comes to starting a business in fashion. It definitely takes a long time to figure out one’s place in this world. The realization of what it will take to make a dream a viable business that you can be proud of is one that am constantly aware of. I feel that if you aren’t struggling then you aren’t progressing…. At least that’s what I keep telling myself.
Every single piece I make is handmade, so trying to keep production in the United States while maintaining quality at a price point that someone like me can afford is always going to be a challenge. But that is one that I am proud to take on.
One thing that has always continued to motivate me and give me satisfaction is the simple fact that the jewelry I create seems to evoke a reaction in people. That someone will part with their hard earned money to wear something I designed constantly pushes me to evolve and get better at my craft. One recent design that gave me great personal satisfaction, was a collaboration I did this fall with Ann Taylor LOFT for Breast Cancer Research. Everyone knows someone that has been affected by this terrible disease and being able to raise money and even inject a little beauty and happiness into the fight was very edifying and cathartic on a personal level.
I have been very lucky in that I have a very supportive family. I think they always knew that I would have to do something creative to be happy. I recently got married to my awesome husband. He is my biggest fan, but never one to hold anything back, which is a good honest person to have in your corner. He keeps me grounded when the fashion world starts to overwhelm what’s truly important.
When I started this company I asked everyone I could possibly think of for advice, regardless of their area of expertise. It’s something I continue to do everyday and I feel the more points of view I get, the better. In the end, trust your instincts. I also turn to my parents for advice, something that came more naturally to me much later in life. So cue rebellious teenager. I’ve been so fortunate to surround myself organically with good people, not only good at their jobs, but good in their hearts.
My advice to pass on would be that no matter what you want to do in life never let fear of failure stand in your way. My younger years were spent trying to become the woman I hope I am today and to find a voice in the world. It’s not just about succeeding in business or achieving monetary goals, it’s about being happy and carving out a life for yourself that matters. We only get one chance to do the things we want. And being a woman is so rad! So live it up! Look at all the beautiful things we have to enjoy!
2 thoughts on “Natalie Holst”
I have been collecting your necklaces for a couple of years, and they are among my most cherished possessions. (My favorite is the Chica Chica Boom necklace.)
Without knowing much about you, I have always felt that your designs are very personal and that they come from your heart.
Now, having read this article, I see that I was right. Congratulations on what you have achieved, and for the story of how you got there which is inspirational.
One more thing. I am a senior level marketing executive and I appreciate superb customer service. It is rare—and you’ve got it nailed. This does not surprise me. It is a reflection of you.
Your kind words brought a tear to my eye. I appreciate you so much as a loyal and amazing customer with excellent taste. Really thank you so much for your comments. They mean so much to me.
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