Peggy Li stumbled into her career as a jewelry designer when she was making items for herself. People would stop her on the street and ask where she got her pieces, and then one day, she thought about sending some of her pieces to the costume designer for the TV show Buffy, the Vampire Slayer (who she had met through her day job). Before she knew it, her work was being worn on the show and a reporter from USA Today was reporting about her website (which I didn’t actually have). Peggy quickly built a website, and her business was born.
Read our interview with Peggy Li below!
Tell us a bit about your day-to-day – and what you love most about what you do.
My routine is to start my morning by answering emails, pitching to press and organizing my orders for the day. If I’m lucky, I start on orders before lunch and then by the end of the day drop my completed orders at the post office. My favorite days are ones where I can have some time to work on new designs, update my website, and connect with customers. Having my own business means a lot of freedom, but I also like the feeling of getting tasks done and being disciplined is important (but tough to do).
Where do find inspiration for the work that you do?
Inspiration comes from a lot of places. Working with costume designers on TV shows is super fun, I like to imagine what kinds of pieces my favorite characters might wear. I also love bringing new ideas to my customers, seeing what designs they respond to, and build from successful pieces to create more. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that I get to use beautiful natural materials like stones and metal, items from nature are always inspiring.
What’s your favorite piece of jewelry that you’ve designed?
It’s difficult to pick a favorite design, but one of them is my Weather the Storm Necklace. It’s a cloud and lightning bolt lariat style necklace, which makes it a bit unique but what I like best is the spirit of the name and how wearing jewelry can be a talisman or charm for your life.
In moments of doubt or uncertainty, how do you build yourself back up?
If I feel discouraged I try and give my self a moment to think about the things I HAVE accomplished rather than dwell too much on the things I feel like I need to do. I also try and set up some short term goals so that when I can tick those off the list, I can give myself an immediate boost.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned in running a business?
In a small business, all roads lead to YOU, so you need to take care of yourself. Running a business by yourself doesn’t mean you have to do it alone – never be afraid to ask for help. I think that’s two things.
Do you have a specific person that’s inspired you or mentored you, that one specific person that’s really influenced you?
You know, I’ve really been a self-motivated person most of my life, and I think I owe that to being a very curious person. I wonder “how did they do that?” and want to learn all about different processes, and am lucky to have had those opportunities. There have also been people along the way who encouraged me by being fans of my work and pleasing my customers is a great feeling.
What apps or software can you not live without in your job?
Simplicity is key! I can’t do without email or Photoshop. Preview App (for organizing Instagram posts) is pretty good, too.
If you could go back and give yourself 3 pieces of advice when you started your career – what would you tell yourself?
- First, I would tell myself to be less shy about the business. For a long time, I didn’t tell people about my side hustle.
- Second, that going full-time with the business wasn’t as scary as I had imagined.
- Third, to have gotten those professional headshots done a little sooner.
Check out Peggy Li’s beautiful designs at the links below and be sure to follow her on social media!