Tessa Hartman greets me fresh from her Gallery cover shoot with an enormous smile and a friendly handshake. Her demeanour puts people instantly at ease, despite hiding behind large designer sunglasses like the local celebrity she has rightly become.

A Jersey resident of only four years, Tessa has made a large impact on the community as she continues to push for a better retail industry, promoting the unique lifestyle that Jersey offers and making headlines through the introduction of the Jersey Style Awards. As someone who fell in love with Jersey the second she landed, she appreciates the true potential of the Island to become a fashionable place to live and do business – if we are willing to push for greater things.

“The biggest misconception is that to be stylish you need to have money. My mum taught me this at an early age.” It’s important to understand Tessa’s values when you talk to her about the Jersey Style Awards, as a common misconception is that it exists to flash the cash and pander to the glitterati. Yes, the event invites the rich and famous to attend, and yes, it features fast cars, private jets, the top luxury brands and the most beautiful people. But the important focus of these awards is that Jersey is pulling these people to our Island. We are worthy of this lifestyle and these brands because Jersey is that special and unique! It is an event about opportunity and about unlocking potential.

The moment her plane passed over St Ouen’s beach, Tessa realised that Jersey had something magical. This attracted her to moving her family and business over to the island and could just as easily attract some of the world biggest brands and labels to our high street. As a woman awarded a CBE for her services to Scottish fashion, with Tessa’s arrival came the Jersey Style Awards, a fresh take on the Scottish Fashion Awards which launched her career. “The Scottish Awards were instrumental to getting where I am today. They commanded the attention and respect of people like Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar – real institutions in the fashion world – which is a hard task because we all know how unforgiving this world can be. You only get one chance and you can be crushed by failure.”

The Jersey Style Awards took on a different incarnation, focusing more on lifestyle than fashion, but with an emphasis on retail over design. H heading towards its second year this June, the event has already secured some top names for appearances including the CEO of Prada for the Middle East and Africa, emerging fashion designer Richard Quinn, and fashion icon Pam Hogg. “Half the battle is getting these people to come and view the Island and see the potential that it can bring. It’s about putting us on the map and capturing attention.”

The Awards has certainly achieved this in the past, with over 2.3 million people focusing on Jersey through the social media of supporting brands and celebrity endorsement. This was more than Tessa had ever managed to achieve for a national event. “The fashion world can be a little snobby, so changing the focus to lifestyle for Jersey and applying a voting system meant there was much better engagement with our audience. These Jersey Awards had to vote based, because only the people of Jersey really know these businesses well.”

The return of the Jersey Style Awards this year comes with a few more categories – the result of listening to the response from local participants and making the necessary adjustments. “Restaurants wanted a category to acknowledge their wine lists and a lot of bars also wanted to be included as part of the Awards. We also extended the health and spa category to include all fitness outlets, so it has become more health and wellbeing.” Tessa is more than happy to shape the Awards to what the Island wants, admitting that the Style Awards should be owned by the people of Jersey, to enhance its offering.

The purpose of the Jersey Style Awards is to reposition Jersey as a destination of culture and style; to invite these luxury brands into our small world and show them the untapped potential there is to make luxury retail a reality. “No one is going to come knocking on your door, Jersey has to knock on these peoples’ doors and say yes, we are a great place to sell your product.” This starts with making the island cool, which lies with changing the perception of our high street. Is it possible that such a small island can really live up to such large wild dreams?

“I’m not suggesting that Jersey should start selling couture wear, but there is definitely a market for accessories and fast moving good such as bags, scarves and sunglasses. Jersey has the disposable income available to these brands, we just need to capture their attention.” Changing perception is a slow process especially by Jersey’s standards, with Tessa’s biggest challenge being that of getting the island to look beyond finance and embrace fashion and style. “We are already struggling to find people to work in our finance sector – that is because with these jobs needs to come the lifestyle of great bars, restaurants, and of course, retail. To continue to be the centre of global finance we need to look at the bigger picture.”

This is a topic Tessa feels passionately about and has benefit of wide experience to enable her to talk the language of the fashion world. “To attract the right retailers we need to do our homework and make the right offers. This can sometimes mean offering the first few years rent-free which is daunting, but you need to consider the long-term gain. Think of the kudos that it will bring to Jersey, not to mention the shipping and employment opportunities. It only takes capturing the interest of one high-end brand, and the rest will follow like sheep.”

Tessa’s ambition is to create a lasting legacy for the Island. “I don’t expect change to happen overnight, but if I can facilitate these life-changing introductions, it gives Jersey and businesses a platform for them to achieve greater things.” Tessa recognises there is a fear within the Island of what could happen if you make things bigger and better, but like most things with the fast paced change in the world, its important to be part of the conversation or risk being left behind. “I always look to aim higher than what you think you can do and Jersey needs to do the same.” Style may not be synonymous with money, but it is with cool – and there has never been a more perfect time to make Jersey cool.

Jersey Style Awards / 2018 Shortlists / Nominees
Vote at www.jerseystyleawards.com

Restaurant Of The Year

Bohemia
Sumas
Tassili
Samphire

Casual Dining Restaurant Of The Year

Cheffins At The Beaumont Inn
Mark Jordan At The Beach
Café Zephyr At The Royal Yaght
Quayside Bistro & Grill

Wine List Of The Year

Longueville Manor
Samphire
Ocean Restaurant

Island Bar Of The Year

Ce Soir
The Blind Pig Speakeasy
Jb’s Smokehouse
The Square

High Street/Online Retailer Of The Year

Feelunique
Voisins
Jack Wills

Independent Retailer Of The Year

Luella Rockerfella
Elizabeth Howell
Catherine Best
Madhatter Surf Shop

Visitor Attraction Of The Year

Jersey Zoo
Maritime Museum
Tamba Park
La Mare Wine Estate

Cultural Attraction

Mont Orgueil Castle
History Alive & Jersey Military Tours
The Channel Islands Military Museum
16 New Street – The Georgian House

Hotel Of The Year

L’horizon Hotel
The Royal Yacht
The Atlantic Hotel
Grand Jersey Hotel & Spa
Radisson Blu Waterfront Hotel

Small /Boutique Hotel Of The Year

The Club Spa & Hotel
Banjo Hotel
Biarritz Hotel

Active & Sports Experience Of The Year

Jersey Surf School
Absolute Adventures
Amaizin Adventure Park
Jersey Seafaris

Spa/Wellbeing / Health Brand Of The Year

Club Soulgenic
Manomara
Align Health Agency
Greenhouse Spa & Fitness
L’horizon Spa

Tastemaker

William Layzell – Layzell Architects
Jason Butler – Painter
Georgina Sutton – Concert Pianist
Ben Robertson – Bokra
Charlie Mauleverer – Composer
Jacque Rutter – Art Teacher / Art Consultant

Vote at www.jerseystyleawards.com