Hazel and Herb: jewellery made from real plants
Tambourine Mountain in Queensland is the perfect backdrop for River Hazel, who makes resin jewellery and keepsakes from botanicals under the moniker Hazel and Herb.
Video: We open inside a workshop. The camera is behind Chelsea as she walks up to River and hugs her.
Chelsea Thomas: Here I am with River…
Video: Chelsea and River stand side-by-side as Chelsea tries on some Hazel and Herb jewellery. We cut away to some shots of Hazel & Herb products packaged up in a box, and some of the different resin jewellery.
Chelsea: …and look what River creates. I’m going home with all of these. No I’m not going home with all of this stuff. What do you do? Tell me.
Video: Chelsea and River continue talking, with some close-ups of Chelsea’s hand wearing Hazel and Herb rings and a bangle, and some more shots of Chelsea playing with ring cones and paperweights, some products on display, and River taking an Express Post envelope from a pin board.
River: So I take botanicals and I put them inside jewellery and keepsakes and I work a lot lately with custom orders doing peoples bridal bouquets and funeral flowers.
Chelsea: So these are all your orders?
Chelsea: You’re obviously super busy and down at the post office all the time. Do they know you?
River: She know me by name. Knows my email address. Everything.
Video: Cut away to shots of: River lifting the lid off a dehydrator, close-up of resin being poured into molds with dried flowers, and River pushing jewellery out of its mold.
Chelsea: We’ve dried the flowers and now we’re at your making station where you obviously spend hours.
River: Yes. So to get them to the point it takes about two to three weeks.
Video: Collection of more cut-away shots: Chelsea and River walking in a garden, chatting and smiling, River standing by herself smiling, River putting on an apron, River cutting some flowers from her garden.
River: And I really just wanted to make stuff for myself. I really like mushrooms and I couldn’t find any mushroom jewellery that I liked. And then I put it on Instagram. It blew up and I realised I had a business.
Video: Back to Chelsea and River standing side by side, with Chelsea holding a necklace, and a mailing box.
Chelsea: You realised you were on to something.
Chelsea: I urge everyone to check out Hazel and Herb and get your little keepsake in the post.
Video: Australia Post logo
River Hazel is at home in nature. She lives amongst the trees on Tamborine Mountain in South East Queensland, and it is there that she collects memorable pieces of plant life and botanicals and turns them into tiny pieces of art, originally for herself, and now through her business Hazel and Herb.
These pieces get encased in resin and become earrings, necklace pendants, ring cones and paper weights, amongst other cute, cool products. River also takes custom orders, preserving items close to customers’ hearts: a lock of their child’s hair, a few petals from their wedding bouquet, something meaningful from a loved one that’s passed.
River was born to explore. She is particularly attracted to the rugged Australian landscapes, cliff tops, mountain ranges, majestic rainforests and Uluru. The backdrops, which she finds while travelling around the country in her campervan, provide her with constant inspiration for her creations.
She freely admits that she actually ‘tripped over’ her business idea. The first piece of jewellery she designed was just a fun piece she made for herself. But some would say that River was always destined for what was about to happen.
“I’ve always had a fascination with wild mushrooms, so one day I decided to set a few tiny mushrooms in resin and I turned it into a necklace with a small pendant,” River says.
“I posted about my creation on Instagram and within hours I had many enquiries and people wanting the same thing. The feedback was overwhelming.”
River then began making jewellery by placing beautifully delicate and tiny pieces of nature into moulds and selling the pieces through her online store.
Instagram was a game-changer for increasing online sales and River uses the platform to build a good rapport with her customer base. With the introduction of Instagram Stories, River began to share video snippets of her daily life and it gives her Instagram audience a personal insight into the business.
She films new products as they’re being made and takes engaging photographs that tell a story about where she’s travelled and the custom orders she’s made. Fans get to know her as a person, not just a business owner.
There’s a lesson in that for fellow small businesses who aren’t confident about putting themselves front and centre of their brands online. River is the face of her brand and has never shied away from that. Introducing herself and her story has really helped her connect with customers in a personal way.
After some time creating the designs herself, River started to receive queries from people wanting her to create more personal and tailored keepsakes. The custom order side of her business is booming.
“I do get requests on a weekly basis that people may find strange (River has been asked to create keepsakes with baby teeth, pet fur and funeral flowers) but this is by far the best part of my job,” she says.
“I’m giving someone the chance to savour something that’s really special to them and in some cases it’s the only thing that person has to connect them back to their loved ones.”