Happy Monday loves! I am so pleased to introduce you to today’s Plucky Pioneer, Meg Galligan of Margaret Elizabeth Designs. The darling, young Meg started making jewelry in her dorm room at Boston College and the business has grown steadily ever since. How could it not when you’re selling things as stunning as the crystal and ribbon necklace above? I, for one, need it in every color! Interesting enough, Meg still holds a day job (somewhere I think you may have heard of, I’ll let her share…) and manages her jewelry business in her “off” hours. If only we were all so creative in our down time! Her jewels are not only available on her website, but also various boutiques on both the east and west coasts. I have a feeling we’ll be seeing a lot of Margaret Elizabeth Designs in the future, but for time being, here’s the charming Miss Galligan live from San Francisco…
Five words used to describe yourself.
Curious, Creative, Spirited, Passionate, Loyal [Above, Meg working on some finishing touches — love her lamp and inspiration board!]
What inspires you creatively?
Everything! Travel, colors, texture, nature, glossy magazines and lovely blogs…
Who were/are your design mentors?
My mom, Midge, and my grandmother, Nonnie. My Nonnie was a wedding planner- she always came up with the neatest ideas and constantly exuded uber-creativity, style, and all around coolness. As for my mom, she is incredibly artistic (also very cool) and is always there to chat about new designs & ideas.
How would you describe your personal design aesthetic?
Traditional with a twist? I like layers- classic cardigans, scarves, bold/geometric prints, fun accessories and a bit of sparkle.
What propelled you to found your own company?
I started the company in college more or less by chance. I had always loved making jewelry and started designing necklaces and earrings for myself & for friends. My first trunk show was in my dorm room. From there, I started selling to small boutiques in Boston and launched my website in 2005. It’s been fun!
Most glamorous part of owning your own company?
I love working with brides to design jewelry for their special day, or help them choose pieces for their bridesmaids. There’s always something really special about knowing that the jewelry I designed is being included in a wedding!
Least glamorous part of owning your own company?
Quickbooks, budget setting, html/website stuff (I’m terrible with the tech side of things)
Best business advice you’ve been given?
Save your receipts (thanks, Poppie!)
Creative businesswoman you admire?
Christiane Celle, Gabrielle Chanel, Margaret Russell, Ina Garten (love her!), Jenna Lyons, Martha Stewart, Paige Nichols…
What keeps your organized and on task?
Hand written to-do lists. I really love a well written to-do list. My mom still says that she finds them floating around the house from years ago.
Moment you knew you’d “made it”?
Still waiting! But it was pretty cool to see Kate Hudson photographed wearing one of my necklaces in US Weekly.
Describe your typical work day…
No day is typical, but they all look a little bit like this: Wake up, check email, read my favorite blogs, head to Google (I work there during the day), come home and work on designs, check in with stores, fill orders, get shipments ready for the next day, catch up with friends, cook dinner or check out a new restaurant… (have a favorite in San Francisco you recommend?)
Your dream project?
I’d love to collaborate with a major clothing designer whose design aesthetic matches mine…and do a line specifically for that designer- “Margaret Elizabeth for ________”
What goals do you have for your business in the future?
Growth! I’m working right now on expanding into new cities and towns. Summer is a fun time for trunk shows- both home shows and in stores, so my goal is to introduce Margaret Elizabeth to new markets and customers. If you know of a shop that would be a good fit, let me know!
Advice to other budding creative entrepreneurs?
Do it! It’s amazing how things unfold when you’re doing something you really love. [Below, Meg creating jewelry for her budding business as an undergrad at Boston College.]
Be sure to check in tomorrow for Meg’s Plucky Pioneer Cheat Sheet—her top picks for film, fashion and more! Thank you Meg!