Thursday, March 5, 2009

Interview: Suzanna Dai

We took some time to catch up with up-and-coming jewelry designer, Suzie Gallehugh for Suzanna Dai, about her start up story, travels and love of vintage. I actually met Suzie last year as she was freelancing and in the process of starting up her own company. I got to see some of her design sketches, prototypes and works in process, so it's amazing for me know to get a chance to catch up with her about her beautiful and intricate pieces and see her dreams come full circle.
SRC: Hi Suzie, we’re so glad you’re here and doing this interview with us!
SG: Me too!!

SRC: Where does your brand name come from?
SG: Suzanna Dai is my first and middle name. My dad came up with it, and I have no idea where he got "Dai" from or what it means. I asked him, and he said he just liked how it sounds, so that's that. Also, Dai is pronounced like "day," NOT "die." It's easy to get confused about that.

SRC: So your Suzanna Dai jewelry line is going to be carried in CALYPSO Christiane Celle boutiques nation-wide soon, congratulations!!! How did you make it happen?
SG: I walked into the Calypso boutique on Madison Avenue and told them about my jewelry line, Suzanna Dai. They referred me to the jewelry and accessories buyer, who I then contacted about my line. It took a lot of emails and follow-up phone calls, but I was finally able to get an appointment with the buyer, and she loved it! They placed an order about a week later, so my persistence paid off. The line should hit their stores around mid-April.

SRC: You have a background in both Fashion and Home Fashion, what prompted you to go into jewelry design? Also, do your past work experiences affect the way you design now?
SG: I most recently worked for a luxury tabletop design company, whose specialty was beaded placemats and napkin rings. While I was working there, I started making beaded swatches to send to the vendors in India, so they would have a better understanding of the beading techniques I wanted to use on the placemat designs. Then I realized that some of the swatches would make really great jewelry, so I started doing that. I’ve always loved embellishments, as well as jewelry, so it was kind of a natural progression.
I think my past work experiences do affect the way I design now. Even though my line is high-end, I still have to pay attention to costs, and I learned this lesson at all my previous jobs. However, I also learned to go with my gut and do what I believe in.
SRC: As an emerging designer what’s the most challenging part of your day to day? SG: I’d say managing cash flow and time. I have to make sure I make the best use of my time, and sometimes it can be a challenge.

SRC: Your collection is said to be inspired by your travels, what is the most fascinating city you’ve visited and why?
SG: I’d have to say Havana, Cuba, simply because it is probably one of the only cities left in the world that has been untouched by American culture. I was there almost 10 years ago, and it still tops my list. The people are so warm and friendly, music fills the air, and you feel as if you have stepped back in time. Once you dig deeper, though, you start to discover the hardships the people have had to endure, and it’s amazing that they can remain so optimistic and happy. It’s an amazing city.

SRC: You are a lover of vintage fashion; you always have some amazing finds! Do you have any favorite places that you shop?

SG: It’s hard to find good deals in the city, so I usually do my vintage shopping in North Carolina or other places outside of New York. I do like Beacon’s Closet in Williamsburg, but you have to dig through a lot of junk to find something good. You’ll also most likely have to make repairs if you do find something, and that’s what gets me into trouble. I always end up buying some ripped, stained dress that at one time was probably beautiful, and of course I imagine returning it to its former glory, with just a few alterations. Then it ends up sitting for months in my “fix it” pile, which has grown so large it’s threatening to take over my apartment! But I love vintage – the thrill of a good find is my addiction.

SRC: Any jewelry trends that our readers should be on the lookout for with their next purchase or hints to what is inspiring your next collection?
SG: Well, statement jewelry is huge now, as I’m sure you know. I think it’s so great because you can really dress up a “down” outfit and change your whole look without breaking the bank. A lot of my necklaces would look just as great worn with a pair of jeans and a t-shirt as with a cocktail dress. I definitely think this trend is going to stay around for a while. For Fall 09, I see more neutral colors, but still with a lot of glitz. I think people are really looking for something special, and I hope to provide it for them.

SRC: Thanks so much for your time Suzie! It was nice to have you join us!

SG: Thanks for having me! Your blog is great!!

To view Suzie's entire collection, please visit Or you can stop by Sucre (357 Bleecker) and Debut (298 Mulberry) in New York City and Calypso, Nationwide.

Two of my favorite pieces. Monte Carlo Necklace Right, Salvador da Bahia Bib Necklace Left


Iole said...

hi girls love this post.xoxo

Anonymous said...

so pretty!

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