Bliss Lau, Jewelry Designer + Professor
One busy day, we stumbled upon an Instagram page that made us drop everything! Bliss Lau, luxury jewelry guru, was the perfect fit to our brand. Why hadn't we reaching out earlier?! We already had a major girl crush on this beauty due to her captivating designs and sexy style. But what we didn't know was that the outreach would lead us into hours of conversation on starting from the bottom, background, family, celebrities knocking off her work, and fearlessness. Her story is not only inspirational, but a must-read for all creatives. Enjoy:)
Bliss, you were raised by creatives. How did that impact your journey as a child?
Artist parents are the best teachers. I lived in LA when I was a kid and we used to go on epic road trips, my mom would say, “Pack up your sketchbook and one toy.” It was just a given that everywhere we went we would be sketching. She taught us to look at the changes in colors from place to place, and the positive and negative space in shapes.
At an early age, I learned how to view the world as an artist. My father became an artist in his 50’s, so he had a very different perspective on what that means and was much more philosophical. I am still learning about how he viewed the world.
As a Parsons student, you were able to turn a project into a business. What were the ups and downs of running a bag line as a young adult?
I fearlessly started my company at 21 and learned a million lessons the hard way! I am so grateful for all of the life and business lessons that has shaped me into the artist, entrepreneur, friend, partner, and teacher that I am today.
Handbags taught me a lot about how to design and strategize a collection. I learned how to quickly problem solve and manage the difficulties of shipping to huge corporations, such as Bloomingdales and Takashimaya in my early 20’s. I also learned the importance of being on time, respecting the calendar and planning ahead!
Fast forward to your “ah-ha” moment in jewelry. In your eyes, you were changing the industry. In the industry’s eyes, someone else was the start of it all. Can you tell us a bit about this experience and how you overcame it?
I was 26 and full of excitement with a concept that I thought was going to change the jewelry industry’s landscape. And then, someone famous saw my idea, replicated it and became known for my thoughts, my hard work, my creative development and my design.
After this happened, I was broken and wanted to give up, but I couldn’t allow that kind of injustice.
I had to fight. I firmly believe in constant evolution. It’s the best protection for appropriation-of-ideas. As long as I am always learning and always curious I can keep an active imagination and a healthy mind in the face of those kinds of problems.
What is your best advice to creatives and makers who want to start something, but have doubts?
I always check, double-check, and rework ideas to get them to be their best. If a creative thinks everything they do is perfect and lives with no fear, what will drive them to continue to grow?
The most natural part of creating is fear. Fear of failure, maybe even fear of success. I am exposing my inner self to the judgement of the world with every single piece I design. It’s a world of terrifying. But so worth it!
I teach an entrepreneurial course at Parsons called Centering Your Brand that I created with my brand strategist and teaching partner, Jasmine Takanikos. On our first day, she shows a slide “Judgement open 24hrs.” It goes without saying, tackling your fears head-on is phase one in entrepreneurialism.
Introduction and Interviewed by Emily