LILY GRAY // GOLD & GRAY JEWELRY
gold & gray is an LA-based jewelry line that effortlessly fuses a bohemian beach spirit with an unexpected urban edge. Each design is inspired by and reflects the natural beauty of the ocean and mountains in Los Angeles, as well as the bright lights and sparkle that can be found in the city. Combined with luxurious gold, sterling silver and brass, Lily employs the use of genuine natural materials, such as wood, precious and semi-precious stones including aquamarine, diamonds, pearls, smoky topaz, pyrite, turquoise, agate and more. Designed to be worn alone or layered together, gold & gray jewelry can take you from day to night with earthy, modern glamour.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Each day varies. I typically wake up around 7:30am, have a cup of tea (sometimes coffee), and then head straight to the computer to respond to anything urgent. I shower and get ready for the day, and then return to the computer to sort through emails, print out any new orders and see what needs to be accomplished that day.
What needs to be done each day changes depending on the priorities for that particular week. This might include what orders need to be finished and shipped out, designing new pieces, visiting vendors, editing the website, shooting photos, creating a new line sheet, preparing for a store meeting or a trunk show — and the list goes on!
I do love having the freedom to do what I want, when I want. This can potentially make things more difficult because you really have to discipline yourself when no one else is there telling you what to do!
What parts of your work do you love?
I love working in a creative field and getting to design pretty things! It really is a lot more than that, but that sounds nice to say. I love meeting the women that buy my jewelry and seeing it worn by different people. I love being able to put in all of this time and hard work into the business to see that hard work pays off. All of this makes it not feel like a job and something that I have to do, but rather something that I want and love to do.
What parts of your work/business do you dislike?
Definitely dealing with the bills, invoicing, taxes, Quickbooks…anything of that sort. That is not my strong point and no matter what I do, I just don’t enjoy it and don’t want to have to do it. But it has got to be done! So I am constantly trying to find little ways to work those things into what I do everyday to make it easier, instead of saving it for the end of the year and having a massive project to tackle!
What things do you have to do that you didn’t realize going into starting Gold & Gray?
There is so much! Definitely all the accounting/bookkeeping type of work. There is a lot of administrative work that has to be done on a daily basis — like sitting at the computer answering emails, making invoices, creating shipping labels, editing photos, updating the website, packing orders etc. I spend way more time doing all of those activities than actually designing a new collection or making jewelry.
What are some interesting things people probably don’t know behind the scenes of Gold & Gray?
That it’s not as pretty and fun as it might seem! I have spent countless nights up past midnight working to get an order finished so it can ship out on time. You have to make it happen somehow!
What type of calendar do you keep?
I use iCal and always make sure there are alerts on my phone that pop up. The pop up alerts are critical, or else I usually forget to check and see what is on the calendar for the day. Sad but true. I put all sorts of things on the calendar, not just appointments or meetings. Also, I add items in daily, even small things like making a phone call, to remind myself of what needs to be done.
How do you organize and tackle your to-do list?
I still like to make a handwritten to-do list. I rely on my iPhone for most everything, but there is something so satisfying about writing it down on paper and then crossing it off when finished. Plus, it gives me an excuse to buy pretty notepads! I usually do a list in the morning every few days and try to work through as much as I can that day; whatever is left over gets rolled into the next day.
How do you attack your never-ending email? Do you have a certain strategy you use?
I try to keep things organized in folders — especially for my wholesale accounts and web orders because that can get messy. I flag important emails that need to be responded to quickly and use that throughout the day to remind myself of what needs to be answered. It’s sort of like the to-do list because after I respond, I can un-flag the message and it’s like crossing it off the list!
How do you GSD at home?
More to-do lists! Grocery lists, shopping lists, cleaning lists, etc. I make sure to try and do these things on a regular basis, so a big project doesn’t accumulate and then it is nearly impossible to get done. I also find that my home and work life go hand in hand. Not necessarily the best thing, but that’s my current reality. It’s hard to “turn off” work and just sit down and relax at this point. For this reason, it’s very important for things at home to stay organized and clean because I already make a big enough mess in my office!
Nuggets of advice you’ve been given that have stuck?
Work hard and be nice to people!
Square — For charging cards on the go
Camera+ — For editing photos
Pandora — Music!
Wells Fargo — Love the mobile check deposit
Obviously Instagram and Facebook
gold & gray — Constantly shipping orders and editing the site
Fedex — Making shipping labels
Pinterest — For nonstop pinning
Shopbop — I routinely check the “What’s New” section
Revolve Clothing — I love online shopping, it’s so easy which can be dangerous
PROGRAMS & TECH
Photoshop — Editing photos and making line sheets
Aperture — Organizing photos
Quickbooks — For invoicing and accounting
Excel — For keeping track of mailing lists, store lists etc.
Dropbox — Love that I can access folders between my computers and when I am traveling
GSD (get shit done): A weekly column featuring busy business owners, entrepreneurs, bloggers, and CEOs and how they get shit done. Meg also writes articles with helpful ways to get shit done. Tell us how you GSD on twitter by tagging #GSD and @megbiram.