August 24th, 2006
A quick glance at designer Peggy Li’s work schedule, and you’ll (rightly) assume that she’s a superwoman. Balancing a day job at notoriously hardcore technology company Electronic Arts and a second job running her own jewelry company, Peggy manages to create feminine, functional designs that are as unique as they are wearable. Speaking of superwomen, you may have seen her designs adorning some of TV’s most popular vampire slayers–Buffy’s Sarah Michelle Gellar and Alyson Hannigan. Read on to learn about the ambitious designer, her thoughts on jewelry trends, and how she manages to balance work and life.
Omiru: How and when did you start making jewelry?
Peggy: I’ve been crafty and making jewelry all my life. But about 5 years ago I had started making jewelry again when I was living in Los Angeles—I was a poor journalist and wanted to have some pretty things for myself!
O: At what point did you realize that you were really on to something?
P: After I sent in samples to my favorite TV show, "Buffy, the Vampire Slayer" and the costume designer called me back and said, "We love it, please send more."
O: In three adjectives, how would you describe the Peggy Li brand?
P: Feminine, elegant, and modern.
O: Describe your design inspiration.
P: The beautiful natural materials I work with are an inspiration to themselves. I also look at current fashion trends for inspiration in my jewelry design. I don’t make anything that I wouldn’t wear myself.
O: What has been your biggest challenge?
P: My biggest challenge has been running the business while still working full-time. While it meant missing out on a lot of opportunities, the slow growth has also let me continue to design when and what I like and keep the business personal.
O: What’s a typical day like for you?
P: I wake up and check my email, answer customer questions and log in new orders. If it’s Monday-Wednesday, I then go to my day job and work and then come home and work on orders until midnight! If it’s Thursday or Friday, I spend the day working on orders, creating new designs, answering email, updating my website, and surfing the web for resources and ideas.
O: How do you balance your day job with your second job designing jewelry?
P: I recently went part-time with the day job and am living a much more balanced life now! I’ve also allowed myself a little breathing room, like not feeling guilty if I turn an order around in 48 hours instead of 24.
O: Little known fact about you?
P: I spent my first years in Los Angeles trying to make it as a screenwriter.
O: If your house was burning down, and you could only keep one thing in your closet, what would you keep?
P: I would keep my classic black leather Christian Louboutin pumps.
O: Thoughts on Silicon Valley style?
P: It is very very casual. Flip flops and t-shirts are a common sight at my job.
O: Favorite piece from your collection?
P: My favorite piece is always my newest piece. Right now I love my Lovely Leftovers Bracelet!
O: Favorite designers?
P: My style has gotten so casual since moving back to the Bay Area! I’m wearing lots of jeans and Splendid t-shirts. In terms of window shop designers, I love Balenciaga, Missoni, Twelfth Street by Cynthia Vincent, Manolo Blahnik, Christian Louboutin, and Tom Nguyen.
O: What are the current trends in jewelry design?
P: Still lots of variation in chains, both in gold tones and silver. This fall I’m going for darks, with oxidized sterling chain and deep colors from red ruby, navy iolite, grey sapphires, smoky quartz and deep greens.
O: How about the next big jewelry trends?
P: Jewelry is great in that the trends get reinvented over and over again. The next big trend is taking the bohemian horns/tooth motifs from the past year and breaking them out into even broader nature themes. You’ll see insects of all sorts, branches, leaves, feathers, lots of critters in many interpretations.
O: Jewelry-buying advice?
P: Buy only what you know you’ll wear! Don’t be afraid to mix gold and silver. Don’t be afraid to go big or dangly, even if that isn’t normally your style — anyone can pull off those looks.
O: What can we expect from your next collection?
P: Lots of luxe details like ruby accents and a move back to big stone necklaces.
O: What can we expect next from Peggy Li, the company?
P: Watch for my work to appear again this fall on ABC’s "What About Brian?"
O: Last words?
P: Everyone has a creative side — find it and express it, it will make you happy!