What do a former second-grade teacher and NASA spaceflight microbiologist have in common? More than you can imagine. Friends Hattie Noworatzky and Michelle Blackwell bonded while helping their community during Hurricane Harvey in 2017. Today, the two Clear Lake moms run a full-time jewelry business, Hattie Now Designs, that's grown a national customer base.
Colorful fringed earrings, dazzling druzy bracelets, and understated stone pendants are hand-crafted right here in Houston. “I love to create, and my brain kind of works like a puzzle with colors and textures,” Noworatzky says.
Noworatzky first discovered her knack for jewelry making at a craft night with fellow teachers. She left with a simple pair of handmade earrings and a piqued interest. Eager to learn more, she signed up for a jewelry-making class in Friendswood; once she started, it was game over. “I just couldn’t stop,” she says. “I turned my kids' playroom into the jewelry room and just played around for months.”
Friends took notice of her intricate designs, and Blackwell jumped in to support Noworatzky with social media. After leaving her job at NASA to spend time at home with her children, she was looking for a new cause. “I followed what Hattie was doing, and she had really amazing products," Blackwell says. "I wanted to help her sell it.” Within a few months, the friends became business partners, and Blackwell took over the business side of Hattie Now Designs.
The Facebook page that catapulted the women’s business now serves as a place where the duo cultivates their community of fans. “We have so much fun together. I think people see that, especially on our live videos that we do on Facebook. People see our relationship, and we finish each other's sentences,” Noworatzky says.
From being spotted shopping at H-E-B to including handwritten notes in each shipment, Noworatzky and Blackwell have become the face of their brand. One customer, a mother to a child with autism, even approached them with an idea for a custom pair of earrings in honor of autism awareness. Hattie Now Designs delivered with a blue puzzle-piece earring that Noworatzky says meant “so much to her.”
Outside of Hattie Now Designs, Noworatzky and Blackwell find time to be involved mothers and serve their community on the board of local nonprofit Momkind. Blackwell’s tips for starting a business all center around loving whatever you do. “Being intentional, coming up with a plan and following your plan, and being okay when you don't get it all done,” she says. "Tapping into your community is a huge part,” Noworatzky adds. “We’re very lucky because we have a really great network of women who support us. We owe a lot to our community.”
Hattie Now Designs jewelry is available online and in select boutiques in the greater Houston area, like Brave Boutique in Seabrook.