FAQ: Inspiration

I don't know about you, but I love Project Runway! It requires every designer to come up with new designs -- have fresh inspiration -- for every challenge.

I've often been asked where I find inspiration for Peggy Li Creations. I wish I could say I have a definitive point of view... what I do know, is that it helps to be a sponge for your environment, that everything you know and learn informs your design. Keeping an eye on current design in fashion keeps me thinking about new colors, new shapes, and new eras for inspiration.

I find inspiration from the materials I work with. Whether it is a particular texture of chain, color of stone, or shape of gem. I will lay out materials, mixing and matching stones and chain and materials, until I get just the right combination of things. I'll even prototype a piece if I can't quite visualize the finished piece.

Nature is a big source of inspiration -- color combinations found in nature are never wrong! From flowers to leaves to feathers and furry creatures, nature always surprises and has all the elements of color, contrast and texture that I love.

Finally, I pay attention to the proportions of my design. The size of chain to the size of stones, the amount of texture and sparkle and number of stones per piece. There are just some proportions and ratios that are more pleasing to the eye than others!

Last year I had the good fortune of working with Robert Lee Morris in a workshop to develop an individual style. We worked on inspiration boards and pored over his personal collection of art, history and science books. It was a wonderful experience that I hope to carry forward in my future design.

But these are just a few things that turn me on in design. Every person must tap into their own creative design voice and trust their instincts. That is the way to get to design that is pure of heart and true to you, and therefore, always beautiful!

FAQ: Branding 101

My customers are often surprised to find my name stamped on tags on my Peggy Li Creations jewelry pieces. Until this year, I've been hand-stamping those suckers onto the teeny sterling tags! No more. In a big step to increase consistency of my brand across my items, I'll be getting those tags made for me, as well as adding "hot stamped" boxes to my arsenal (stamped with my name in my logo font).

What is branding and why is it important? Your customers will appreciate the professional finish of your items and will become accustomed to the visual cues your branding provides so they will be able to recognize your work at a glance. With all the competition out there, I need every little detail to help put my stuff above the rest!

Some great resources:

Tool Craft: The folks there are nice and, with certain minimums and a stamp creation fee, you will get more tags than you'll ever need.

Rio Grande: they will set up your hotstamp and provide many packaging options to use it with. If only they could do two-color!

If you're not ready to invest in having items stamped for you, there are many ways to do it at home. Labels are a quick way to add your brand to a gift box or bag. You can also try a company like My Own Labels for some fancier/custom printed labels. For the hand-stamps, Rio Grande provides tags and stamps, or you can check out MicroStamp.

Next week: Where do you get your inspiration?

Cool New Shop: Therapy

I used to live in Burlingame (and still do the farmer's market there in the summertime. Already filled with great shops like Les Deux Copines and Susan, I happened upon a new store called Therapy at 200 Lorton Ave (and the bagel place on that block has bagels done right -- boiled and baked, but that is a another story!).

A cross between Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters, this store was packed with inexpensive goodies that bordered on trendy, but certainly weren't boring! Organized by color, the carefully edited selection included familiar labels like Ben Sherman and less familiar labels like Blue Platypus and Solemio. Check it out!