Meet This Girl Jennifer Meng
On where she’s from
I was born in Philadelphia, and grew up in Taipei, Taiwan. I went to Wellesley College in Boston, and majored in Art History and English.
On what she’s up to
I founded two online jewelry brands - the vintage earring shop, New Mermaid, and an affordable fine jewelry line called Ready-Made. I hunt for and curate all the vintage pieces for New Mermaid, and I design and manufacture all the pieces for Ready-Made.
On how she got into Jewelry
I was always a jewelry lover and collector, (I was honestly kind of a jewel hoarder growing-up) but I never thought I’d actually be designing and selling jewelry. Before I started New Mermaid and Ready-Made, I was in Asia working in the corporate legal field consulting on contracts and trademarks. I felt like I had lost my creative touch, and so I left the law firm after a couple of years and co-founded a creative/art studio for children, which reminded me of my own creativity. I realized I had a passion for branding and creating beautiful ready-to-wear objects and felt compelled to pursue it. I then decided to leave Taipei to move to Los Angeles for a change of scenery.
On the most exciting part of her job
I’m excited that I get to work with both sourcing vintage pieces and manufacturing my own pieces for my two brands. Reusing and recycling jewelry and appreciating how well made these vintage pieces were made has been a rewarding experience. I’m also excited about carving out a new category of jewelry through Ready-Made. I want to create a kind of jewelry that is super affordable, yet has all the best qualities of fine jewelry - it’s intentionally designed, long-lasting and offers the consumer a beautiful brand experience.
On the most difficult aspect of her job
The most difficult aspect of my job is always having to stay on top of the business’s priorities and anticipate what will need to be done.
On the biggest challenge she has encountered in her career
The biggest challenge has definitely been trying to find my own unique style and then figure out how to evoke it through my two brands.
On a typical day in her life
Every day is so random and nothing goes quite as planned, but I can say with certainty that every day involves photography and social media work.
I usually wake up at 8 am, check urgent emails in bed, then get dressed and pack my bag for the day. I walk my dog, Azuki, with my partner, Jeff, then I grab a coffee and maybe have breakfast. I’m in the office every day by 10am.
On what inspires her
I am inspired by objects. I love the idea of relics and mementos, these little physical memories. Everyday objects particularly fascinate me because, while they’re not resonating at first glance, they can be so emotionally charged. It’s delightful and surprising to take a simple, recognizable object and to transform it into something permanent and intimate to covet.
On finding downtime
Unwinding and resting is something I need to work on because I don’t do it enough. However, I find that reading a good book, especially fiction, helps me to calm down and forget about work.
On where she will be in five years
Hopefully in five years I will have expanded my business and reach and still be in a position where my passion is relevant to my work. It’s a career goal of mine to be able to grow and expand my business while staying true to what I believe in.
On a woman that inspires her
I look up to Marina Abramoviç for her authenticity, dedication and focus. She was creating performance art and meditating on her craft for decades before she was even recognized. She believed in herself and in her work, and that was enough for her to happily exist. She didn’t care what others thought. She didn’t care to be judged.
On what she still wants to learn
I’d love to learn more about the business of art and what goes on behind closed doors at auction houses, galleries, museums.
On the three traits she’s most proud to possess
I’d describe myself as introspective and observant. The three traits I’m most proud to possess are being honest, hardworking, and unapologetic.
On her secret for staying motivated
I think about the past and where I am now, and seeing the huge difference makes me excited for the future. What am I going to do next? Where will I end up? The future is intimidating, yet I feel like I almost have control over it.
On a rule she lives by
It’s always easiest to stick to the boundaries you’ve set.
On an accomplishment she’s proud of
I’m proud of being able to do what I do and be taken seriously for it. When I left the law firm, a lot of people had doubts or were concerned that I was making a mistake. Three years later, I’ve demonstrated that I can stick to what I want and what I believe is best for me.
On what she would do differently if she got a “do-over”
For New Mermaid, think I might have started “smaller.” I was very obsessed (and still am) with building a brand that is polished, professional, and appeals to every kind of consumer.. If I could go back, I would focus more on specific curations and styles, and not be afraid put pieces I loved the most front and center. With Ready-Made, I would have worked with more factories instead of putting all my eggs in one basket.
On the best piece of advice she ever received
Know when to speak, know when to listen.
On the worst piece of advice she ever received
This wasn’t direct advice I recieved, but there is a popular assumption that all businesses are run the same or that all businesses should be first and foremost numbers and data oriented.
On the biggest challenge women face today.
I think the biggest challenge women today face is having to constantly sort out our priorities. We have to pick our battles and discover not only what is most important to us collectively as women, but also as individuals. We need to consider our unique stories, environments, personalities, and goals as we make choices and go about our lives.
Her advice to a girl on her way
Ask your questions in ways conducive to receiving meaningful answers.