(L) COURTESY OF PEGGY LI (R) Joanne Watson

(L) COURTESY OF PEGGY LI (R) Joanne Watson

(L) Peggy Li works on a new piece of jewelry. (R) Actress Lucy Liu wears Li’s Large Tribal Spike Earrings in an episode of Elementary.

December 2013

Jewelry Maker Shows Her Stuff on Television

Morgane Byloos

The craftsperson who made Zooey Deschanel’s necklace in the television series, The New Girl, lives in Dogpatch. Peggy Li, entrepreneur and 22nd Street resident, has had her jewelry featured in a couple of movies and countless TV series, including Private Practice and CSI: Miami.

Li, who has a bachelor’s of science from the University of California, Berkeley in bioresource sciences – biological production, environmental protection and restoration, and life science – has always had a crafty side. While in college, Li made jewelry for herself and her friends, but never thought of selling it. “I think a lot of people start that way, with what they like to wear,” she said.

After graduating from UC Berkeley, Li moved to Los Angeles and became a web editor for Channel One, a digital news outlet catering to young people. She met film industry professionals, and about 15 years ago dropped off some of her creations in the costume designer for Buffy, The Vampire Slayer’s mailbox. A couple of weeks later, she received a favorable phone call, and launched her jewelry business as a sideline.

During the late-1990s technology boom, Channel One offered Li a job in San Francisco. Wanting to be closer to her parents, who live in the Bay Area, the Santa Rosa native made the move, juggling her jewelry business and full-time job. “I was burning candles at both ends,” she said. In 2000, she quit Channel One and started working as a product marketing manager for Pogo.com at Electronic Arts. Eventually, she cut-down to part-time work at EA. After five years of balancing her job part-time at Electronic Arts and her jewelry business, a year and a half ago Li decided to dedicate all her time to jewelry making.

“I’ve been able to maintain it and get it to the point where I’ve been able to make it a full-time job, 39-year-old Li said. “There are no training wheels. It’s like starting all over again. I’m forced to make it work,” she said.

Li wants to find a studio space for her growing business in Potrero Hill, which hosts a cluster of artists and designers. “I would like to be part of a community of artists,” she said. “I’d like to stay in the neighborhood, but I might just end up staying at home, saving the cost. One of the things I love about San Francisco is that there are lots of resources for entrepreneurs.”

Although Li doesn’t make all of her jewelry by hand, she’d like to “get pieces specifically made for her jewelry line.” Li sells her jewelry on her website for less than $100 an item. She is particularly proud of working for the TV series Elementary, because actress Lucy Liu is Asian-American and the style is edgier and modern. “It’s cool to be associated with that,” Li said, who was also happy to see her jewelry on The Vampires Diaries for the “geek factor.”

Li’s website: http://www.peggyli.com/

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