Local Finds | Lily Dawson Designs

Photos: Steve Heineman, lilydawson.com

Attending Handmade Happy Hour a few weeks back really opened my eyes to the incredibly talented local designers in St. Louis and Missouri. This blog post is the first of the Local Find series, which will feature local designers monthly. This month I’d like you to meet Kansas City based jewelry designer Lily Dawson of Lily Dawson Designs.

I met Dawson at the Handmade Happy Hour event and fell in love with her jewelry, especially the gold chain hand harness and Em Choker, which I now own. Unique designs, quality materials and beautiful crystals are what makes Lily Dawson’s creations one-of-a-kind. Dawson began her creative journey as a child crafting with her artsy mother. She started creating her own handcrafted jewelry in 2009. Dawson designs and hand makes all of her pieces, consisting of materials such as deerskin leather, Austrian crystals and plated chains- simply stunning!

BLUSH Boutique in Kirkwood, MO stocks some pieces of Lily Dawson Designs collection and graciously let me take photos of their display- thank you! Stop by to see pieces from Lily Dawson Designs and peruse their shop. BLUSH has some of my favorites- Wildfox, Alternative Apparel and Free People. In lieu of this post, Lily Dawson agreed to answer some questions to get a better look at what goes into Lily Dawson Designs.

Can you tell me a little about how Lily Dawson Designs came about?

I had just moved back to the Midwest from L.A. and was unable to find the trendy pieces that were becoming popular with the “arm party” boom.  I started making bracelets for my friends and then started selling at a local boutique in Columbia, MO.  The profits from each sale would go towards more supplies and it grew that way, totally organically.

Where do you find inspiration for your work?

All over the place!  I try to notice color combinations and appealing arrangements wherever I am, then apply those to my pieces based on notes, recollections, iPhone pictures or screenshots.

What’s your favorite thing about being a jewelry designer?

I love the freedom.  Being creative for me doesn’t really work with imposed deadlines and a strict structure.  I certainly have a loose weekly “schedule” that resembles more of a to-do list, but I never get bent out of shape if I feel a brush of creativity and need to go off-book for an afternoon of creating.

Do you create new designs for every season?

I typically create 3-4 collections per year with the seasons.  The 4th is usually a mini-collection, maybe half the size of the other 3.

Is there anything new in the works?

Yes!  Always!  I am in the process of making some big changes to the production side of my business, which should allow for more design time on my part.  New pieces are always being created in anticipation for the next release as well. 

Where can you find Lily Dawson Designs?

Various independently owned shops and boutiques.  The full line can also be purchased on the web at www.lilydawson.com.

Obsessed yet? I’ll be sporting Lily Dawson Designs at NYFW this fall, no doubt. It was so lovely collaborating with Lily Dawson on this blog post- thank you! I’m excited to see what lies in the future for Lily Dawson Designs- it’s going to be bright!

Until next time.



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