Hattie Banks has made her way up and down the east coast, collecting treasure wherever she goes. Her tremendous smile translates into the work that she does both professionally and personally. Following her passions and creating her first jewelry line, Sea Dipped, has allowed for her to combine work and play into a way of life. Hattie shares with Milou how she has learned how to be a Local anywhere her beloved ocean is near.
Growing up in South Carolina and its coastal towns, the beach and the ocean became my second nature and turned me into an absolute water baby. My mom and I would walk the coast and scour the sand for shark's teeth and unique shells. I would spend my days crafting little pieces of jewelry from the treasures that I had found.
After graduating from Clemson, I moved to New York City to work for a hospitality company. I quickly learned that building hotels was not what I wanted to do. I quit my job, took a trip to Mexico, and became inspired to follow my childhood passion of collecting shells and turning them into the jewelry. During my travels to the Carolina coast and other tropical and oceanic destinations, I also became aware of the dangers the creatures that inhabit our oceans are facing. I also wanted to create a company that would always give back to our beautiful waters and constantly connect our clients with the sea.
I returned from my trip, and founded Sea Dipped Jewelry. Sea Dipped's real mission is to support innovative non-profit organizations helping various aspects of our seas. One of our first partners, See Turtles, launched in 2008 as the world’s first effort to protect Sea Turtles through ecotourism. Their mission is to protect endangered turtles throughout Latin America and the world by supporting community-based efforts through ecotourism, education, and Billion Baby Turtles. See Turtles has saved more than 500,000 turtle hatchlings in Latin America through conservation projects! At Sea Dipped, very sale saves 10 of these baby turtles. From leatherbacks to loggerheads, six of the seven species of sea turtles are threatened or endangered at the hand of humans. Sadly, the fact is that they face many dangers as they travel the seas — including accidental capture and entanglement in fishing gear (also known as bycatch), the loss of nesting and feeding sites to coastal development, poaching, and ocean pollution including plastic.
Inspiration for Sea Dipped comes to me through new experiences that I try to cultivate on a daily basis. I love to be outside and connect with nature in any way possible. Being scuba dive certified has allowed me to come in direct contact with these sea creatures that I have admired from far for my entire youth. Swimming in their home is indescribable. In a recent seasonal move to south Florida, I've just created my own extensive outdoor garden. I plan to grow a sustainable abundance of vegetables, fruits, and herbs. I hope to continue to decrease my carbon footprint and give back to our Earth as much as possible, so that we can continue to enjoy our oceans for generations to come.
Since starting Sea Dipped, it has also inspired me to continue to expand my love of jewelry making into a new line of luxury jewelry called Hattie Banks. Launching in February, we will focus on incorporating precious gems into pieces that are truly unique, exclusive and timeless.