10 quick questions, 5 professional and 5 random, with people you should know.
Bliss Lau’s internalized combination of cultures manifests itself in each concept, thought, and creation. Half Chinese-American and half American, raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, and educated at Parsons The New School of Design in New York City.
Bliss perceives design as a continuing exploration of the manipulation of form and mechanics, thus evolved her collection from leather goods to the trademark fine jewelry and body jewelry of today. Jewelry is an experience, inspired by sensuality and structure. The Bliss Lau collection actively involves you in the moment to moment nuances of wearing jewelry.
Q. What about this profession attracted you? How did you get your first break and did you have a mentor or an apprenticeship?
BL. I started my company when I was 21, at that moment in time, it was not an attraction but more of a requirement, there is nothing else I could do but design, create, make, sell, and explore. I sold my senior thesis collection! Learned the hard (but fun) way…on my own.
Q. How do you stay motivated? What keeps you focused?
BL. I am also a teacher… I teach a course that I created at Parsons with my brand strategist, Jasmine Takanikos called Centering Your Brand. For my class we put together a Socratic questionnaire, essentially it asks simple questions, like ‘what does it mean to step into your world?’ and ‘what are your achievable goals for the next 30 days?’ I do my own questioning a few times a year to keep myself aware of what is happening now, to appreciate the good that has come, and plan for the future.
Focus is impossible to keep!! Traveling and taking time for myself are really the only ways to revive my mind. I find so much inspiration when going to museums or performances in other countries.
Q. What do you love about your job and your work? What do you find the most frustrating and/or challenging about the industry?
BL. Today I arrived at work to tackle a highly complicated concept that I created using new technology that I learned about while traveling to Italy. I invented a reason to use this technology, spoke to an innovative-thinking client and am now making a beautiful one of a kind piece for him. The opportunity to explore and invent my own solutions to making jewelry is one of my greatest pleasures. The bonus is after it’s completed, I get to give them to people who appreciate all the thoughts, craftsmanship and effort put into it.
Nothing is ever truly easy…running a company as a creative is very challenging. Also being a woman business owner, dealing with international vendors who do not always respect women in business is one of the major challenges. I have to be sharper, more organized, and stronger than ever to build respect despite their perspectives.
Q. What is your favorite city or place in the world and why?
BL. Favorite city, New York City of course. You know why. We are a mixture of all cultures, accepting of everyone, living harmoniously here enriched by all of these smart wonderful humans!
Favorite place, Hawaii. It’s just beautiful, full of energy, the perfect temperature and relaxing I love the ocean.
Q. Most irrational fear?
BL. Oh I have so many but if I tell you then they might come true…!
Q. When did you first consider yourself an adult?
BL. You grow up fast when you are 21 and start a business… The day I walked into the County Clerk’s office and chose my company name on the fly… that was the day I became an adult.
Q. When you retire and look back at your career, how would you like it to be remembered?
BL. I just want to be respected.
Q. Best advice, personal or professional, you’ve ever gotten? What advice would you give to anyone aspiring to follow your career path?
BL. I have about a thousand essays worth of thoughts and advice. The only thing that has truly hurt me in my career was when I ignored that little feeling inside myself and made a decision that I had a tinge of knowledge I might regret. So, future self, and future creatives, don’t do that.