Lillie Gregg: How I went from Geordie Shore to luxury jewellery designer

If you spend most of your free time staring whistfully through the windows of Tiffany or Bulgari, then we think we’ve found the ideal job for you. You should consider becoming a jewellery designer.

It’s not a cushy one though, just ask Lillie Gregg, head designer and CEO of luxury fashion brand Lily-Beau London.

You might know her from reality TV show Geordie Shore, but she also works day and night to make sure her designs are top notch.

We caught up with her to find out just how she managed it all.

1. How did you know you wanted to be a jewellery designer?

I have always had a passion for design and I’ve loved accessorising outfits since I was a kid.

I can spend ages choosing the right jewellery pieces and I always had a vision in my head of what I wanted but could never find anything so I started to design my own pieces.

2. How did you get started?

I launched my clothing collection Lily-Beau London in July of this year, and the jewellery collection was the next natural step.

I drew on inspiration from my own style and visual trends, and created pieces that matched my clothing collection and appealed to my existing consumer base.

It was a long process from concept to creation and I wanted a versatile and stylish collection that offered a range of unique statement pieces and a luxury, yet affordable alternative to high street brands.

lillie gregg jewellery designer

3. What’s been the most important moment in your career so far?

My collection was handpicked for London Fashion Week in September, and I took to the catwalk at Devonshire Square. That was extremely exciting and a huge achievement as a young, independent designer.

4. Talk us through your day…

It’s a busy one. If I’m not travelling for business, I wake up around 6am and head to the gym. It is a great start to the day and leaves me feeling refreshed and ready to go. And I without fail grab a coffee before heading to the office. Then I check emails and respond to customer requests, and monitor my social media channels.

I work a lot with mood boards to monitor trends and develop inspiration and ideas, which I add to daily. These are offline though I am developing my Pinterest boards. I then send the technical drawings to my workshops and design and/or alter new and existing pieces.

My afternoon is usually filled with meetings with either my team, which include setting sales targets, updating the website, overlooking sales reports and accounts and contacting new customers or with international brands, manufacturers and industry influencers. These will either take me out of the office or they will be via Skype. I have to keep my finger on the pulse, so networking with relevant figures is important and really helps me keep my collection on point. I also value their opinions and feedback. And then more coffee.

My day doesn’t really have a finishing point, as I spend the evening either preparing for the next day or week, and usually develop more design ideas. Also, I deal with people and companies in America and Australia so may sometimes need to make late night calls. If I have to travel, I ensure everything is in place with my team while I am away.

https://twitter.com/LillieGregg/status/666554441882050560

5. What are the best and worst things about your job?

The best parts of my job are definitely creating and handling the final pieces. I love the entire process and I love that my job keeps me so busy and constantly on the go.

I do get really anxious before shows, large meetings or presentations, it’s like preparing for a test where passing is essential.

But I have a great team, who work hard with me to ensure that I am prepared for everything and make the most of every opportunity.

6. What do you think people don’t realise about your job?

Exactly how much work goes on behind the scenes. They see the full collection and the successes and achievements but they don’t see the late nights, the last minute panics and stresses, the mistakes and the failures.

Building a brand from scratch is a long, difficult process and some days you just want to give up, but when I see my final collection and how well it is doing, and add new pieces, it makes everything worth it.

7. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

If you have the time to think about it, you have the time to do it.

lillie gregg jewellery designer

 

8. What advice would you give someone looking to work in the same field?

Put together a great business plan and gain that kind of experience.

As a jewellery designer, and running a fashion collection and retailer is more than just designing pretty pieces. Half of the job is business management, sales, marketing, development and production. Also, take time networking and develop strong relationships and contacts.

9. What are your career goals?

To continue expanding the brand and add more pieces to the jewellery collection. Lily-Beau London will continue to adapt to the changing markets and consumer requirements, and I will continue to create modern, unique and stylish statement pieces with edgy designs.

10. What would you say to your 15-year-old self?

Follow your dreams and leverage every opportunity that comes your way; travel as much as you can and gain as much life experience as possible.

Check out Lillie Gregg’s luxury clothing brand Lily-Beau London here, and follow her on Instagram and Twitter.

Now what?