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Peggy Li from PLCWe had a chance to interview jewelry designer Peggy Li awhile back. For over five years, she’s been designing and evolving her jewelry design which has caught the attention of TV’s Related, Sex, Love & Secrets, Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, CSI: Miami and publications such as Oprah Magazine, teenVogue and Lucky. Her work is deceptively simple, featuring artisan craftsmanship mixed with contemporary approaches to contrast, color, texture and composition.

Having passed up an acceptance to the Jewelry Design program at FIT in NYC, Peggy chose instead to focus on continuing to create intuitive design that mixes femininity, function and fabulous fashion into wearable, yet unique, accessories for everyone.

Among other things, Peggy wants to be a screenwriter, entomologist and pastry chef when she grows up. She’s currently living in San Francisco.


• For our readers who aren’t familiar with you, can you give a little background on what kind of environment you grew up in? Were there any “jewelry-related” things going on in the background at all?

I grew up as a middle child and I think that really influenced me to be unique and follow my own drummer. While my siblings studied music, I went for art, cooking and gardening. I had been crafty all my life and loved working with my hands. Not with jewelry specifically, however.

• I know that you actually started off working toward a degree in Chem Engineering at Berkeley. Many jewelry makers seem to have switched over from completely unrelated careers. What was the thing that finally pushed you out of engineering?

I love science. But I also love the arts. As an outlet to my studies, I was writing creatively and making jewelry. My writing led me to move to Los Angeles to pursue screenwriting after college and that was the end of my science career!

• How did you end up getting accepted into the Fashion Institute of Technology… and why did you turn that down?

I was working for a dot-com at the time and was worried I was going to lose my job (during the dot-com bust). As a fall back, I decided to apply to the jewelry program at FIT. I love New York and going to school there seemed like a great way to make the move to that city as well as further pursue my jewelry design business.

When I didn’t lose my job, I had to decide what to do. Since I was already running my jewelry business I decided to keep moving that forward rather than potentially starting over at school.

• Are you pretty much self taught as far as jewelry making techniques go?

Yes, when I started I was absolutely self-taught. Since I’ve begun, I’ve taken a variety of classes to learn new techniques and learn more about the craft. From a home studio, it is difficult to do more complicated techniques on a daily basis. To this day my tools pretty much consist of a single pair of pliers and a single pair of cutters. I may whip out a torch or hammer, but only occassionally.

• Did you have a tough time when you were first starting out selling your jewelry?

I never started out with the intention to sell my jewelry. Coworkers bought from me at work and then I got my pieces on “Buffy” — that was the real impetus to start a website and have a place to sell my designs. Any attention my work got was gravy — I was having fun just creating.

I think starting out small, doing jewelry on the side in addition to my Day Job really helped me grow the business slowly and smartly. It isn’t a huge business, but it is entirely my own and I’ve had total creative freedom with it.

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