Meet Elizabeth Pham of See Song Designs

tell us about your products. where they are made. who makes them. favorite product features.

I personally make each piece of See Song Designs jewelry in my South Loop studio. My pieces are feminine and classic. I also create seasonal pieces that are on trend and make a statement. My favorite pieces right now are our Apidae Earrings and our Lost Statement Earrings.

tell us about your connection to Chicago. your neighborhood.

I grew up in the Chicago suburbs, and I moved to Chicago after graduation. I have lived in the Gold Coast, Lincoln Park, and I have now lived in the South Loop for 3 years. I love the tree lined streets of the South Loop and all of the historic houses within our area. I love that it is close to downtown, but it has it's own quaint neighborhood feel that makes you feel further away from the city.

what do you love about your business, your industry.

I love my business because it gives me a way to express my creative side. I started SSD as a creative outlet to my stressful finance job. Making things has always helped me relax. I love the challenge of trying to make a new piece. I also love selling my pieces and getting feedback from my customers. There's really no better feeling than making something from scratch, and having a person love what you made. The handmade jewelry industry is always changing. There are always new trends or techniques out there, and I love staying on top of everything to increase my skill set. Most the jewelers that I have met in the industry are really supportive and helpful too.

tell us about your design inspiration - space, smells, colors, textures.

My design inspiration starts with color. My best inspirations have come from my travels. I love finding unique color palettes or patterns while traveling. I also get inspired seeing other artists all over the world create. I always make it a point to only get souvenirs from abroad that are handmade locally. I am also really inspired by my materials. Many times, I will find a bead I love and make an entire piece that centers around that piece. I also follow fashion trends, and I like to challenge myself to interpret these trends in a unique way that fits my line.

what advice do you have for other creative entrepreneurs?

My advice is to always keep trying. I don't think I could have gotten to where I am today without trying and failing multiple times. Finding your style and voice takes time, and it will develop as you gain more experience. I feel like I'm still evolving as a designer and an entrepreneur, and I think that never really stops.

surprise us with your secret talent, fact, etc.

I also run a travel blog with my husband, called Nguyendy City Travel. My jewelry was also featured on the Bachelorette on Andi Dorfman, Jojo Fletcher, Rachel Lindsey, and Becca Kufrin.

what's the most common question you get about your business?

How did you get your jewelry on the Bachelorette?

tell us about your process for making + creating.

I like to gather all of the gems and findings that I am working with on to a table. From there, I will map out what the piece will potentially look like, and then I will go ahead and start making it. From there, I will make some adjustments and remake the piece a bunch of times until I'm satisfied with how it looks. I also make sure to note how long it takes to make the piece and if I can easily recreate it. I'm not really big on sketching my designs. I am more of a touch and visual learner, so I love to be able to physically play around with everything before I decide on a final design.

name 3 local makers/brands that inspire you and why.

Ali Reff of Alice and Wonder - I worked with Ali in the Boss Babe Pop-Up a few years ago when she was starting out. I've seen her grow her brand from an online only shop to a full on brick and mortar shop in Lincoln Park. She has a very unique style and voice that stands out among other local boutiques. I love that she has become so successful yet she always stays true to herself. Kate Kennedy - Be There in Five - I love Kate's fun and witty doormats. She has now expanded her brand to a podcast and an posts instagram stories that I watch daily. I love that she sought to pursue her passions. She also has the best celebrity gossip and analysis. Plus, she's super funny and relate-able. Dana Gordon of Dana Rebecca Designs - When I first started my jewelry line, I knew Dana Rebecca Designs was what I aspired to be. She is a fine jeweler who makes the most beautiful classic pieces that have been featured on countless celebrities. I just love her simple and elegant designs, and I think she is a great business woman

Connect with See Song Designs

@seesongdesigns on Instagram and Facebook

Jessica Cohen