Jamie Batiste is the founder of Rejected Hearts Club, a fashion brand born from a mission to take a negative experience and turn it into something positive. Rejected Hearts Club features handcrafted necklaces, bracelets, earrings, cufflinks and clothing. Her designs have been featured in Vogue, Essence, New York Fashion Week and other publications and fashion shows. Read her story below.
Artisan Joy: What prompted you to start Rejected Hearts Club?
Jamie Batiste: I started this business after a really hard breakup. One day I decided that I needed another creative outlet not only to heal myself but heal others who were hurt as well. So, I turned a breakup into a business and regained my independence. We all have had plenty of struggles; it’s how you come out of it that matters the most. I create jewelry for men and women that transform into standout pieces that command attention and confidence. Always remember to love yourself no matter what or who hurts you.
AJ: When did you realize that you could turn your jewelry design work into a full-time business?
JB: Once people started saying they would actually purchase my jewelry back in 2010. Then in 2015, I showcased in New York Fashion Week with upgraded designs and never looked back.
AJ: Where do you find inspiration for your creations?
JB: I’ve always been inspired by the girl on the go and classic looks like Chanel. I design on the go and come up with new ideas as I work.
AJ: How do you apply that inspiration to your work?
JB: I believe everything comes in threes. So, you will notice most of our pieces have three strands or three hearts, which goes with our ‘Story of 3 hearts’ motto—the heart you gave away, the heart that was rejected and the heart we give back to you. We implemented magnetic clasps to our necklaces and bracelets to stick to simplicity for the girl on the go. For our classic looks, our hematite beaded necklaces and bracelets are staple pieces that fit a classic style.
AJ: What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?
JB: I started in radio when I was 14 years old. I was on air for years and have been in several films. I also was a tomboy for years until the movie Clueless came out, and now you will always see me in heels—so much so—I have a stiletto tattoo.
AJ: As creatives, we can continuously create and refine our art. How do you handle perfectionism?
JB: It’s hard to find a balance, especially as a creative and entrepreneur. Once you realize you are human and we all make mistakes, it’s okay to take a step back to balance out being perfect.
AJ: When it comes to running a creative business, what keeps you going through the ups and downs?
JB: I created this brand from a down point in order to lift myself up. We preach turning negatives into positives. After going through a rough breakup, my brother unexpectedly passed away soon after. I know he would never want to see me quit, so he is my inspiration to keep going on the daily to have a successful brand. He believed in me so much.
AJ: What advice would you give to someone who is interested in putting their work out into the world but feels vulnerable about it?
JB: Go for it. You don’t know if you don’t try. The worst you can get in life is a “no,” and then you move on. It’s okay. I get no’s and rejected all the time and never stop. You just need that one “yes.”
AJ: Has someone ever criticized your work, and how did you handle it?
JB: I’ve been at in-person shows and have people walk by our booth and make a smirk at our name without really getting the know the brand. Once they hear the story, that is, how you turn a negative into a positive, they change their attitude about it.
AJ: Creatives are often very in tune with what’s happening in the world. Sometimes it can feel overwhelming. If this happens to you, how do you cope?
JB: 2020, as we all know, was a rough year for everyone. I even struggled with severe panic attacks last year. I ended up limiting my time on social media platforms, stayed away from news outlets and found more peace in mediating and yoga. Everyone has to do what’s best for them in order to protect their inner peace.
AJ: Are you are passionate about a cause and why?
JB: Yes. We give back on the purchase of selected pieces. Our Aaron Michael bracelet is dedicated to my brother, and a portion of the proceeds goes to The Myositis Association. A portion of our proceeds from our Violet collection goes towards the Lupus Foundation of America.
AJ: And, of course, we have to ask you this: What brings you joy?
JB: Businesswise, it’s when I see people wearing our pieces and being happy inside and out. Personal-wise, it’s making other people smile and traveling.
This interview has been edited slightly for length and clarity.