Meet Lisi Lerch. Her designs have graced the pages of O Magazine and can be seen many mornings on The Today Show. Think Southern charm, Palm Beach chic, and East Coast prep blended together for perfectly cheery, completely wearable, and delightful results.
We sat down and talked with Lisi about growing a business from scratch, the artist’s life, and from where her inspiration springs… just in time for Spring.
Anyone who has a passion for vintage-inspired jewelry and an eye for all things prep will fall in love with your collection. Where do you find your inspiration? And where do you call home?
My inspiration originally came from my grandmother's jewelry collection. It was timeless, elegant, and gorgeous! I have always been drawn to antique jewelry, fashion, and decorating.
I reside in Newtown Square, PA, but people are always shocked when I tell them that I live here. Everyone assumes I'm from the deep South!
You started with hats (rumor has it, specifically with Kentucky Derby hats!). Tell us how you arrived at designing jewelry.
Yes-the rumor is true. I started my company in 2001 with hats! The short version of the story is: after having my third baby within four years, schlepping lots of hats around became too difficult. I was already making jewelry at the time, so I decided it was much easier to schlep jewelry!
How do your Southern roots and your time spent in the Northeast influence your style?
The extent of my Southern roots is that I was born and raised ten miles south of the Mason Dixon line. So, it might seem like a stretch to call me a Southerner, but from a geographical standpoint - I am!
There are so many incredible things that I have learned over the years that made me love the South, however, I wouldn't trade in my years of living in NYC for anything. I think you can find magic no matter where you are!
We see your jewelry on many of the women of The Today Show. Tell us, what does it feel like to be drinking your morning coffee, hustling around, getting your kids ready for school, only to look up and see Hoda Kotb, Dylan Dreyer, or Natalie Morales wearing your designs?
It's the coolest thing EVER! I love it—it NEVER GETS OLD!
Simply put: your designs elevate a look. With so many of today’s designers focusing on muted colors and tonality, a pop of color, dimension, or sparkle adds just the right dose of individuality and life. We see images of Lee Radziwill everywhere lately and can’t help but think she would have loved your designs. Do you have a style icon or celebrity who best embodies the Lisi Lerch look/sensibility?
Well, her big sissy of course! Jackie Kennedy was a fashion goddess—her sense of style and grace embody everything that I hope my brand represents.
Giving back seems to be a priority for you. Tell us more about your efforts to raise awareness and funds for the fight against Juvenile Diabetes.
One of my missions in life is to see the end of Type One Diabetes. My husband and oldest daughter suffer from this horrific disease, so I jump at every opportunity to raise money for researchers to find a cure. Last April, I had the privilege to chair our Philadelphia Promise Ball. We raised $1.4 million, making it the highest grossing gala that our chapter has ever seen.
You exude such a sense of fun, of living your life in bright vivid color. How do you balance the artist’s life and the entrepreneur’s life with family?
It is difficult to be an artist and an entrepreneur because I'm not wired to crunch numbers. Obviously, it is a necessity in any business, so I have to surround myself with people who are much better with numbers than I am.
What advice would you give to other women who have a dream and a talent but don’t know how or where to begin?
Make it happen. It's not going to fall into your lap. If you want it, go find a way to make it happen. You can do anything!
Life is full of chapters, and your current one is especially fun to read. What do you envision will come next?
I just bought a handbag company, so I'm busy nurturing and cultivating that right now. I definitely have a lot of fun ideas up my sleeve in terms of growing my brand.
Just for fun, tell us… favorite beach, favorite beach read, favorite beach accessory?
I Love ANY beach but my favorite is Delray Beach, Florida. I grew up going there, so it is my happy place.
I was just on a girls’ trip to Jamaica, and while there, I was reading Beautiful Boy - what an amazing beach read!
My favorite beach accessory–my sunglasses for sure! I have light eyes, so I can't fathom forgetting my shades on a sunny beach day-ouch!