Hey Ms. Carr

Architect, jeweler, founder, visionary, and whole vibe.

The picture that cemented my ❤

As a writer, I don’t always subscribe to a picture being worth a thousand words. But … BUT. Look at this picture and try not to love, admire, and want to be her. The smile grabs you first. Then it’s the style, the kind of styling I always wish I could copy but never could. That casual-not-trying-perfection. The attention to details and subtle neutral colors. The groundedness of the boot and the delicacy of the earring and hairstyle. The studio background (painted brick, cement floor, wood stool) which suggests craft and creativity. And she just looks like an awesome, authentic human. You look at her and wish you could be her friend.

Do I sound a little stalker-y? I got a little stalker-y. After discovering Ms. Carr (can I call you Malaika?) and her incredible jewelry brand, Chalk, from (you guessed it) Trinny Woodall, I clicked clicked clicked to buy her pieces, inspired by her practice as an architect. (These hybrid founders and pivot stories are quickly becoming some of my very favorites; the life lived somehow makes their work that much more inspiring.)

I’ve since bought more and even gifted a pin to my discerning Gubbie [ed. note: gay + hubbie = Gubbie], who approved. Then I reached out to see if I could ask her a few questions. With so much on her plate, I’m grateful she made the time, and I’m guessing you’re as ready as I was to get to know her.

“The Pitzhanger Collection pays homage to John Soane, one of Britain’s most influential architects and references key historic features within building to inform the designs of a striking collection of modern jewellery.” -Chalk Jewellery (This necklace was my first piece.)

HMS: The combo makes so much sense when I look at your pieces, but I can’t think of another jeweler-architect! Tell me about your architectural practice.

MC: I have been in the architectural world for more than 15 years now. I did a degree, masters and full qualification to be an architect, 7 years of my life! I quit my full time job at Michaelis Boyd to nurture Chalk last year, however since then I have been working 2 days a week on a private job. Jewellery [ed. note: English spelling], architecture and life is tough to balance. But I have had to tackle my time in this way since the inception of Chalk so I am pretty used to juggling them all.

HMS: How did your interest in jewelry begin?

MC: My passion for jewellery developed when I was studying architecture. I wanted to express myself through my jewels and at that time the pieces I wanted to wear did not exist, so I decided to create them. This is where my Chalk journey began. The hardest part was finding Chalk’s community, it has taken some time to grow this. The most rewarding aspect is seeing my customers wearing and enjoying their pieces!

HMS: What is your goal for Chalk?

MC: My dream is to grow Chalk, I would love to have a small team helping me run the Chalk HQ. It is challenging having to run every single aspect of the business and I now see that I need help.

HMS: I love how your work draws from architectural details! Any buildings or architects in your mind or inspiring you right now?

MC: I do really admire Scarpa.

Earrings from the Scarpa collection.

HMS: What has been your approach to advertising, marketing, building the brand?

MC: I have been building the brand slowly but surely, I do not actually have an advertising or marketing plan (I know it is bad). I have used PR intermittently and if i could I would have this running constantly, but it is just so expensive. So I predominately use instagram and my newsletters to draw in clients.

the history-making Ayah hoop

HMS: How did Trinny come about?

MC: Trinny had worn my Ayah hoops years ago for a photoshoot and liked them so much that I gifted them to her. Years later her team contacted me to participate in an international woman’s event and it is here she learned that I had made [them]. She did a wonderful feature on them, which had an incredible impact on building my community. I gained so many followers and sales alike through Trinny. I am very grateful for this.

HMS: What Chalk pieces are in your personal rotation right now?

MC: I wear my smaller pieces [these and these] to and from the studio. To the few dinners I have been to, I’ve worn these Derin earrings — my all time faves!

Malaika’s fave Derin earring. I bought these too and they’re super light!

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Hey Mrs. Solomon

Hey Mrs. Solomon

1K Followers

Grown-ass woman. Perpetual student of style. Sharer of tips. I work @honorcodecreative and write about fashion and style ahas here and on IG @heymrssolomon XO.