Q&A with Yosef H Founder, Jared Handler

Nearly 18 years ago when I made the city my home, Jared Handler became one of first city friends. I have always admired his free and entrepreneurial spirit, and the fact that he marches to the beat of his own drum. It was no surprise, then, when he told me he was starting a fashion accessories company several years ago. This month I am featuring him and his company Yosef H which has found great success propelled by his instinct for fashion, passionate work ethic, and belief in his vision. 

JD: As a child, what did you think “you wanted to be” when you grew up?

Jared: I grew up in Merrick on Long Island and I went to school at F.I.T. As a child I always wanted to become a professional hockey player in the NHL. My great Aunt Amina was an expert tailor, who my Mom always compares me to. I currently use her old 1900’s Singer sewing machine to craft every piece. I use the manual wheel with no electric.
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Jared with Paula Abdul wearing Yosef H

JD: What was the path that lead you to starting Yosef H?

Jared: I always wanted to wear interesting/unique accessories that nobody else had or was wearing at the time. I began collecting leather exotics & taught myself how to craft & sew.

JD: What was one of the biggest challenges to starting this now very successful line?

Jared: I had no experience in the fashion industry and was hesitant to leave my career as a medical sales specialist to design full-time. At first my style was raw and unfinished and wasn’t certain people would get it.  One of the best lessons that I’ve learned is to be persistent and not listen to the naysayers. Being passionate & staying passionate is the key to becoming successful.

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JD: In what ways have you refined your craft since founding Yosef H?

Jared: Over recent years I’ve fabricated new hardware & closures in order to refine my designs. I’ve become an expert at sewing so all pieces are stitched with quality craftsmanship. I work with many materials including leather, metal & various fabrics to offer a fresh look. Today my designs are more buttoned up than ever.

JD: Your pieces are classic and transcend the trends of today; what was the inspiration behind the classic designs for your elegant pieces?

Jared: I wanted to make each piece wearable and versatile so they can be worn to many different occasions. It was important to create pieces that could be worn dressed up or down. I’m always aware of current trends but I choose to remain classic. I strive on creating timeless designs so people can wear each piece forever.

JD: What do you love most about the work that you do?

Jared: The ability to be creative. Challenging the mind, thinking outside the box, and executing a vision is what I truly love. Getting reassurance from people that wear my designs is key in regards to keeping the creative feeling alive.

JD: Do you have a favorite piece or collection that you are most proud of?

Jared: I am most proud of my latest Manhattan Villager watch collection. It combines my fascination with art deco pocket watches & exotics. The combination is the perfect contrast of timeless design meeting new age materials. The collection was originally geared towards just men, however women have taken a huge liking to the oversized and classic look.

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Manhattan Villager Timepiece

JD: Each piece is handcrafted; why was it important for you to give each piece the bespoke treatment it receives?

Jared: It’s important that each piece is handcrafted because this makes every piece unique and one-of-a-kind. This captures the feeling I’m going for and allows people to distinguish their own individuality. It’s the feeling one feels from wearing something they know is custom.

JD: Will you make a men’s line one day?

Jared: Yes, I’m actually in the process of creating a men’s line now. With the implementation of bespoke timepieces combined with edgy materials, men definitely have something to look forward to.

JD: Do you have a dream project?

Jared: My dream project is to create a well-known watch brand – Manhattan Villager – that transcends all ages & genders.

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JD: Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years?

Jared: I would like to see my work in many high-end department stores, with a huge spread in GQ and celebrities lining up to wear my designs on the red carpet.

JD: Where can readers find your pieces?

YOSEFH.com

JD: Thank you so much, Jared!

Jared: My pleasure, Joe.

 

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