Plucky Pioneer No. 14


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!

29 comments on “Plucky Pioneer No. 14

  1. Elizabeth

    How inspiring! I love that first necklace and the color combination in the first set of earrings. I’m pretty sure seeing a photo of any starlet in my stuff would be my “made it” moment…but then you keep working towards the next thing!

  2. Paige

    I absolutely adore you, Meg! Back from the days of being at BC together, to our daily international gchat sessions. Your jewelry is more beautiful every day, and I am determined to bring it to Buenos Aires. Business lunch, perhaps? SO happy that you are a Plucky Pioneer!

  3. Jane

    L-O-V-E the top necklace! sparkle and silk tangerine… sounds dreamy. These would be super cute bridesmaid gifts too, don’t you think ;)XOX, Jane

  4. Stevi

    I’m in love with every piece of jewelry! She is super talented and seems so sweet. I hope she continues to have great success in the future.

  5. Katie Armour Post author

    Stevi — Very sweet indeed!

    Kate — Oh those were the days… xoxo

    Karena — Aren’t the earrings gorgeous! There’s much more on Meg’s site, be sure to check it out! xo

  6. Piper

    i’m so inspired by Meg – wow!! (i actually just printed out this interview to use for inspiration for myself :)!
    I wish I knew how she got so much done in one day!! Her jewelry is gorgeous – I seriously must have the necklace in the first photo…wow, stunning!!

  7. Margaret Elizabeth

    Katie & all of your amazing readers/fans,

    Thank you all so much for the lovely comments & for your support! I have been a huge fan of the NeoTrad for awhile now and feel so lucky to be part of the community! You guys are the best!

    Thanks again & please keep in touch!

  8. Elizabeth Rose

    Wow! She is definitely inspiring to pursue her dream while still working a regular job. I loved the orange ribbon necklace too! I hope one day she tries The Slanted Door it’s my favorite restaurant in S.F.

  9. Katie Armour Post author

    Piper — I LOVE that you printed it. That is awesome. xoxo

    Meg — So happy to have you as our guest! Thanks for sharing all your beautiful creations and your inspiring story with my readers! xoxo

  10. amy

    Absolutely gorgeous pieces! I do see the “traditional with a twist” esthetic.
    Her advice to just go for it if you’re thinking about starting your own business is so true! You can learn from others and you can certainly learn as you go. That’s one thing I’ve learned from the business my hubs and I started last year. I think it’s really possible to be smart, creative and gutsy (all at the same time) when it comes to launching a business.

  11. Brooke

    I am so in love with her jewelry! Thank you for today’s post. What a fun Plucky Pioneer!


  12. Haydee

    Great pieces! I really love the necklaces. Love that she works at Google by day and creates pretty pieces to wear by night. Very 21st century:)

  13. meg

    I’ve been such a huge fan of her work and was on her site just yesterday eyeing some neck candy for an upcoming birthday list that I was tickled to see her featured on your blog. Meg is beyond adorable and a wonderful addition to this very inspiring feature!

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