Hillberg & Berk has been taking the Canadian luxury jewellery market by storm for almost a decade. After winning CBC’s Dragons’ Den in 2008, designer and entrepreneur Rachel Mielke partnered with business mogul and philanthropist W. Brett Wilson to establish the now highly successful Hillberg & Berk designer jewellery line.
Mielke has leveraged several extraordinary opportunities to outstanding success. In 2008, Mielke attended a Pre-Oscar Luxury Gifting Lounge in LA – the only Canadian jewellery designer to be invited. The designer was also commissioned by the Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan to design a one-of-a-kind brooch for Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. The sensational brooch has been spotted on the Queen several times since it was presented to her. Celebrities such as Carrie Underwood, Sarah McLachlan, Michelle Obama, Barbara Walters and Celine Dion wear Hillberg & Berk designs as well.
With a fully established, highly sought after jewellery line in Saskatchewan, the company started to focus their branding efforts on more of a national level. Being recognized as one of Canada’s Top Female Entrepreneurs in the 2014 and 2015 PROFIT/Chatelaine W100 ranking and a feature article in the Financial Post, has helped Mielke in this process.
In 2014, Hillberg & Berk signed a corporate sponsorship deal with The Saskatchewan Roughriders as the team's official jewelry sponsor. the Company also took another step to building brand awareness by working with The Shopping Channel to sell jewellery on its nationally syndicated television program.
Q&A with Emily Selinger of Hillberg & berk
Where does the name Hillberg & Berk come from?
Hillberg comes from the Owner & CEO Rachel Mielke's great grandmother Hilda Bergman and Berk comes from Rachel's miniature pincher Berkley.
Where is the jewelry made?
About 90% of Hillberg & Berk jewellery is made in Regina, Saskatchewan.
Where does Hillberg & Berk source the materials from?
Hillberg & Berk's head designer travels all over the world to source unique gemstones and chain.
H&B has become very popular not just in Saskatchewan, but internationally. Are there any famous people that support the line?
Hillberg & Berk was commissioned to design a brooch last year for Queen Elizabeth which she has now worn 4 times. We are currently in collaboration with Tessa Virtue and have created the Tessa Virtue by Hillberg & Berk Collection which is set to launch in September. Other celebrities include Marilyn Dennis, Ariana Huffington, Chloe Wilde, Carrie Underwood, Barbara Walters and Michelle Obama.
Hillberg & Berk has shown tremendous growth over the years, how many employees does H&B have at this time?
Hillberg & Berk currently employees almost 60 women.
Where do the designers draw their inspiration from?
The designers draw a lot of their inspiration from travelling to other parts of the world. When sourcing unique elements for the Hillberg & Berk collections they become inspired by the culture, architecture and daily life of different cities. They also gain inspiration from high fashion runway shows and trend forecasting.
What is Hillberg & Berk most excited about during the Saskatoon Fashion & Design Festival this year?
Hillberg & Berk is most excited about SFDF because it will give us a chance to connect with our Saskatoon customers and let them know we are opening up a store at the Midtown Plaza in Saskatoon this November.
Hillberg & Berk have been involved in the fashion community for several years. How has the community changed?
There is more support now for the fashion community in Saskatchewan than there has ever been. There are more people choosing fashion as a career in Saskatchewan and there are a lot more opportunities to pursue this path. There are also a number of events that have been created to support the fashion industry in Saskatchewan.
What can expect to see in the future of Hillberg & Berk? Any new stores?
Hillberg & Berk currently has two retail locations in Regina, a store on McIntyre St. and a Sparkle Bar at the Cornwall Centre. We are expanding this year by opening two more Sparkle Bars in Edmonton at the West Edmonton Mall and at Kingsway Mall this summer. We are also opening up a store at Midtown Plaza in Saskatoon this November.
What are three words you would use to describe Hillberg & Berk jewelry?
Timeless, Attainable, Luxury