BEHIND THE BIZ // MARGARET ELIZABETH JEWELRY

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MEG SHACKLETON // MARGARET ELIZABETH

Meg Shackleton is the designer behind the gorgeous jewelry line Margaret Elizabeth. Previously in online advertising at Google, Meg left the corporate world to pursue her passion for jewelry full-time. I am personally obsessed with all of her opal pieces, this ring in particular, this emerald cluster ring is also a fave, too many of her necklaces to pick, the triangle studs, and the Emilia’s. Take a look and tell me what your fave pieces are! — Meg

Was there a moment when you knew you wanted to design your own line of jewelry?
I have loved making jewelry since I was little. My sisters and I used to go to this teency, tiny bead shop in my hometown and it was my favorite place! It wasn’t until college that I came back to jewelry design. I’ve been passionate about designing since then.
How did the Margaret Elizabeth aesthetic come about?

The aesthetic came about pretty naturally. I’ve always sought to design simple pieces that make women feel beautiful. I love that our pieces are easy to wear. Stacking a bunch of bangles or layering a long pendant necklace can turn an outfit into a look.

margaret elizabeth - jewelry - behind the biz - meg biram

What’s the hardest part of actually designing a piece of jewelry, and/or a collection?

The hardest part of designing a collection is keeping it cohesive. I am kind of ADD when it comes to designing (read: life), and if I’m not careful, I’ll start creating pieces that have totally different feels from one another.

margaret elizabeth - jewelry - meg biram - behind the biz

Once you knew you wanted to have your own jewelry line and online shop, what steps did you take to make both of those a reality?

I took things one step at a time, working out of our apartment for the first year and a half- shipping orders from our dining room table and holding ‘team meetings’ in our living room! As your business expands, you’ll know when it’s time to make changes and react to your growth. The first step in getting online was designing our site. It was important for me to have a site that was user friendly both to our customers and for me and my team. Because we’re always adding new products and changing things around, I wanted to be sure that every time we made a change it didn’t involve the assistance of a web developer. Once you get everything on your site, things seem to fall into place. It’s much easier to promote your products when you have actual URLs to share with the world!

margaret elizabeth - jewelry - behind the biz - meg biram

What lessons have you learned along the way?

Where to begin?!? One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is the importance of your team. I feel really fortunate to have a great team at Margaret Elizabeth. I trust everyone I work with and am consistently impressed with their creativity and ideas. As we’ve grown, being able to delegate projects has become increasingly important; and it feels so great knowing that everyone on our team is so talented at what they do. Oh, and make sure to save your receipts!

What has surprised you about owning your own business?

I think people assume that since you own your own business you’ll have the greatest schedule and work life balance ever! While I feel really lucky to have such a flexible travel schedule, I definitely work more than in my corporate days. When you have your own business you’re constantly plugged in and wanting to make sure everything is running smoothly.

margaret elizabeth - jewelry - behind the biz - meg biram

What hardships have you had along the way?

It’s been challenging to figure out how to best allocate our time and resources. Since we’re only a 4-person team, we have to be mindful about what we’re focusing on. It’s so hard saying no to certain collaborations, but if those projects are going to take away from other high priority work, we have to. Saying no is hard!

What do you wish you would have known going into this?

I think when you’re a creative person starting a company, it’s easy to think that you’ll be making necklaces and earrings all the time. One of the biggest lessons I have learned is that no matter your business (jewelry designer, inspirational speaker, florist), when you own your own company, you need to become a mini-expert in so many areas that don’t have anything to do with your core passion. You need to know how to appropriately price your product or service, how to handle your accounting and legal matters, what types of expenses are business expenses, what’s the best way to attract new customers? So, in addition to creating or designing a great product, you also need to figure out how to make your business run efficiently.

margaret elizabeth - jewelry - behind the biz - meg biram

What have you found works for you as far as organizing your business and time?

I’m addicted to Google Calendar. We all use it to schedule projects, daily tasks, and our time!

Highlight of your career so far?

Getting featured in Vogue!

Best advice you’ve been given?

Stay true to yourself and your aesthetic.

margaret elizabeth - jewelry - behind the biz - meg biram

Photos by Bess Friday

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Behind the Biz takes a deep dive behind the scenes with business owners and entrepreneurs. 

Don’t miss my other Behind the Biz features with Sugar Paper Los Angeles, Hattie SparksElizabeth Mollen of Stone Textile StudioAbbe of Studio Ten 25Mandy of Waiting on MarthaKarin of Crane & CanopyLee Kleinhelter of PiecesEmily of Elva FieldsRochelle of The Shirthandbag designer Blair of Blair Ritchey, and Jess Levin of Carats & CakeTweet along with me at #behindthebiz and @megbiram.