Medusa’s was one of my favorite places to visit! Just by looking at Kathryn Hauseman, you would never guess the level of success she has reached so far in her career. Today she has been working wholesale for over 45 years. When she started out there was no such thing as fashion school. In 1970 she hand-made her own bracelet’s and sold them on the streets on New York, and actually had success! Her bracelets now can be found in Henri Bendel, Anna Sui, Holt-Renfrew, and other hip-hop stores all over the world.
She attended FIT and then NYU for art studies. Her first store was on 1st Ave and 65th street in the basement. Back then she did not have really any competition against her famous bracelets, hair accessories, headbands, etc. Henri Bendel was the first big company to pick her up and start showcasing her items in their stores. She has also been president of New York’s Art Deco society for 15 years. Wholesale is the most profitable, and she now sells all over the world. Her business became so profitable at one point that she had to move offices, and now when we just visited she was also in the process of moving. Kathryn was also a little late in the game to the world wide web as she just got a website three years ago. But, her business still boomed without the website for years. This shows the true beauty of a loyal customer base and networking.
Experience needed: Some people find success without schooling, but now in this modern day and age, most people or companies will not take anyone seriously without a college degree. You do not necessarily need a college degree in art to create what Medusa’s Heirlooms has become, since some people can be creative on the side. But you do need a true passion since it is a large dedication of your time and effort. I loved seeing Kathryn’s true passion! She had a niche for jewelry and decided to go with it, and someday I also hope to be as happy with my career as she is now.
Why this is important to the fashion world: Kathryn’s journey was really interesting as it showed how the fashion industry has changed over the years. It’s crazy to think that there was no fashion school when she was young, and that she got discovered on the streets. Today that is not the way that most people would do business, nor would people really spend their time trying to make a profit on the streets. With modern day business connections, and brand development firms like RJM, building a business has become a lot more feasible in a shorter amount of time. Medusa’s Heirlooms also represents fashion in the way that antiques become one-of-a-kind, and worth so much more. Versus an old t-shirt from the 1980s people aren’t going to save like Kathryn did with an old necklace. Accessories cycle much faster through the fashion cycle.