When I first saw Tracy Dungo's jewelry line, Kalaki Riot, I was taken by its beachy vibe, the way it lends itself to layering, and the beauty revealed in its simplicity. Based out of New York City, but with a decidedly care-free vibe, Tracy's designs find have an organic feel and pair wonderfully with one another.
Keep reading for more on Tracy's designer life and the inspiration behind her alluring designs.
1. Take us back to the beginning. How did you get into jewelry design and what, if any, is your training? I never formally went to school for jewelry design but I took a jewelry making class in search of a creative outlet to my day job and was immediately hooked. Making those first couple designs come to life really was the coolest feeling. I spent most of my career working for a luxury retail brand and in publishing so those experiences really shaped my initial interest in creating a business around things I like to make and would wear. 2. Where do you draw your inspiration from? A lot of things! Many times I’ll draw inspiration out of necessity. If I’m in need of a specific piece, like earrings I can wear every day, I’ll design some. I also love incorporating findings or concepts that I’ll discover on my travels, especially when I’m working a new collection. That’s a big reason why I love jewelry design- everything sort of becomes your own interpretation of whatever it was that originally inspired you. 3. Who would your dream client be? All of my clients are dream clients! But I would probably freak out seeing Jessica Alba or the Olsen twins wearing my pieces. 4. Being a jewelry designer, what do you like best about your job? What are some of the most challenging aspects of running your business? How rewarding it is to see customers wearing and styling my work- it’s the coolest thing every time. As far as the actual business goes, I love being location independent and seeing the impact of the work I put in. In my previous careers, it almost felt like people would kill themselves over deadlines and projects and without seeing the end result or the impact that their work even had on the overall business at the end of the day. But now, I definitely see how things that I do (or don’t do) will affect my brand’s performance, which can definitely be challenging at times as well. 5. What is your typical day like? I’ll usually do benchwork in the morning so I can dedicate the rest of the day to meetings and the business side of my brand (i.e. marketing, partnerships, website, etc.). And I ship on specific days too (so I’m not running to the post office every day). It’s loosely structured but no two days are ever the same, which I love!
6. If you could go back and give your 20 year old self some advice, what would it be?
To identify your natural strengths and passions, and then strive to build a life around them so when the time comes, you can.
Thanks Tracy! Looking forward to following along with your success and keeping my eye on your destination bar necklace - such a neat idea!
I write Jolie Jouel - your source for pretty baubles and major eye candy. I am constantly on the lookout for the newest, chicest, sparkliest jewelry out there and the stories behind the inspiring designers who create them. Happy browsing!
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