The minute I discovered H-Art on the internet, I instantly knew that this shop and its founder, Kriszta Kemény has to be featured on Hungarian Success Stories – and the sooner the better. H-Art is a community with a recently launched virtual store offering creations and products of talented Hungarian artisans and artists, mostly in the categories home accessories, fashion accessories, jewelry, and cuddly toys. This concept would be nothing new in itself, but it is based in Australia, thus it opens a new market for Hungarian craftsmen and craftswomen. And, for a change, Hungarian products abroad are not marketed with the regular clichés as ‘gulyas, paprika and palinka’ but their real potentials are showcased.
H-Art was launched by Kriszta Kemény, who formerly run the Folt-Bolt and she is an active creative person herself with her own collections. With her move to Australia she was not willing to give up her métier. It is lovely to see how she carries on with her motto and started a new business that is most definitely a win-win situation for all participating parties. I am happy to share my conversation with Kriszta about her new business Down Under and about how it all started:
Hungarian Success Stories (HSS): Kriszta, what made you launch H-Art?
Kriszta Kemény (KK): The basic idea of H-Art had already been there for a while, when I started the Facebook page in January this year. Actually, for the last 20 years I have been part of the creative community, too. About a year ago I decided to close down my shop ‘Folt Bolt‘, but I did not want to lose the community. As I am constantly surfing the internet to find new talents – just for my own pleasure – I thought that I could share my finds with my fans. Currently, this Facebook page has over 23’000 members, so it seems like a few people have similar taste. In the last three years I have been featuring new Hungarian creators every week in my ‘Kéznyűvész’ series and last December it became clear that sometime soon I am going to set up H-Art and provide Hungarian artists an exclusive sales platform. Only creations of selected artists will make it to H-Art, who I personally like and who I think represents Hungary and the Hungarian creative community well. It might be a bit harsh statement, but I think this is the only way to create a unique offering that reflects my taste and my style. Around March this year I have received many messages asking about stockists of the products featured on the Facebook page. This was the time when I decided to definitely expand H-Art into an online store that can be found under http://h-art.com.au. Even though the domain name ends with ‘.au‘ for Australia, we welcome visitors from everywhere and we also ship worldwide.
HSS: Why do you think works of Hungarian artists and designers are a bit different, or let us say, special?
KK: In my opinion, Hungarians always look at the world from their own angle – and they always have. We carry a lot of things in us that artists and creatives can express in different ways, and yes, sometimes this way appears unusual to other people from foreign countries. Be it our traditions, be it bits & pieces from our culture or a tiny reference to our history, based on the mixture of many things, the end result differs from average. We do not have to put Kalocsa embroidery everywhere to see and to feel that it is different. Here in Australia people probably will only notice that these pieces are from Europe – and I think this would already be great as a start.
HSS: When did you move to Australia and what else keeps you busy besides H-Art?
KK: We came to Australia three years ago, I am still searching my way and what my calling is. But by now things seem to be clearer: I would like to make my dreams come true as well as to spend quality time with my family. Our son has just started school and thanks to my patient partner I have the time and space to be with my family, to support Hungarian artists, and to further develop my collections.
HSS: What is your ultimate goal with H-Art?
KK: I would love H-Art to become a thriving community, a successful online store and I would like to find a lot of resellers for these wonderful creations. Obviously, it would be a bit easier in Hungary, given my large network there, but now I am building a similar network here in Australia. And of course it would be fantastic, if people in the know would be familiar with the name ‘Kriszta Kemény’. As a closing statement I would like to mention that I am extremely proud to be in contact with these world-class creators by being their ambassadors and that I can help making their creations more popular.
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By combining creativity and business acumen, Kriszta opens up new opportunities to Hungarian craftsmen and craftswomen on a far away market. Given the fact that Kriszta has a lot experience in this business, I think it just a question of time that she will make the breakthrough Down Under, too, mostly thanks to her determination and sharp eyes for stylish and marketable products. H-Art is an excellent example that it is possible to make a positive contribution to our homeland, even if one lives abroad . . .
Source of images: courtesy of H-Art.