Interview with Co-Owners/Designers Patricia Locke & Deborah Rethemeyer

Giving Tree: How did you get started designing jewelry?

Patricia Locke: I was 22 years old, anxious and didn't know what to do with myself. I had never done anything creative or worked with my hands before so I went to the hardware store, bought wire and started playing with it while I watched Watergate. It was a revelation and the rest is happy history.

Deborah Rethemeyer: I joined Patricia as a partner in 1997 and first began editing and merchandising the collection. Designing was the next logical step. How lucky am I?

GT: What is the first piece you ever designed?

PL: In this collection, it is EF105.

DR: My first piece was our now retired Birdhouse pin.

GT: What is your favorite part of the design process?

PL: That moment when we have agreed on what the look will be for the next collection--then the fun of actual designing begins!

DR: The hard part of the process when we don't know what we are doing. It is arduous, but I know we will always figure it out--and then getting to make what we decide a reality.

GT: Each of your collections has a theme or motif. How do you stay inspired to produce 5 collections a year?

PL: We love to experience travel and we both get tremendous inspiration from art, architecture and nature. We like having time to walk around when we travel to see people and what they are wearing. The biggest inspiration is being in the world.

GT: Color plays such an important part in your work. How did it come to be center stage?

PL: I discovered Swarovski crystals in the late 70's and then we were off into the wild and wonderful land of color.

GT: What determines when you present new color stories?

PL: Color stories are determined mostly by the changing seasons, so we are always trying to get a handle on what the clothing designers are showing for upcoming season. However, we always have our classic colors that we love.

GT: Favorite color story of all time?

PL: Whatever is the latest color

DR: Crystal, and of course the next new color we are going to design

GT: Single piece you are most proud of?

PL: EF105
DR: Composition Bracelet

GT: What is your favorite gemstone?

PL: Colored diamonds
DR: Diamonds

GT: What jewelry are you wearing right now?

PL: Zenith earring in Crystal Night Shade, wedding rings and my watch
DR: My wedding rings and watch and our Emile earring in Crystal

GT: What is the best piece of advice you've ever received?

PL: My mom told me after an especially hard day to "Never Give Up!" She was basically quoting Winston Churchill and it has served me well through out my years in business.

DR: My mom told me when I was having trouble "If you set your mind to it, you can figure anything out" It was a vote of confidence and good to remember when things get tough.

GT: What was your first job?

PL: Slicing ham at Kresges and waitressing

DR: Selling rocks; I worked in my Earth Science teachers lapidary shop.

GT: If you weren't designing, what would you be doing?

PL: Teaching history at a college
DR: Working in the theatre either designing or producing

GT: How would you describe your personal style?

PL: Simple, clean I wear mostly black
DR: Easy, classic, black, grey, white and blue jeans

GT: Who would play you in your life story?

PL: Anna Magnani
DR: Meryl Streep

GT: Name 5 items on your desk right now:

PL: My new set of colored sculptural blocks, computer, jewelry, decaying flowers and ideas for new color stories
DR: Standing computer desk, dog chew, globe, and piles of papers

GT: First website you check every day (besides your own):

PL: Women's Wear Daily, Daily Beast, New York Times
DR: Huffington Post, Daily Beast, New York Times, Wall Street Journal

GT: Name 5 songs on your playlist:

PL: My favorite songs are anything by Cole Porter, Laura Nyro or Bob Dylan

DR: "I Say a Little Prayer" by Aretha, "Crazy" by Danger Mouse, "The Way You Look Tonight" and almost any aria from any Italian opera

GT: Do you have an exercise regimen?

PL: Yes, walking, biking and yoga
DR: Traditionally, yes…currently no

GT: How do you unwind?

PL: Working in my studio at home on my other creative projects
DR: Sitting quietly and reading

GT: What is your favorite scent?

PL: Straight to Heaven by Kilian
DR: 154 by Jo Malone

GT: Favorite guilty pleasure?

PL: Working in my studio at home on my other creative projects
DR: Sitting quietly and reading

GT: What books are you reading right now?

PL: The Interesting's by Meg Wolitzer and All that is by James Salter
DR: Diana Vreeland: Empress of Fashion by Amanda McKenzie Stuart and David Sedaris' Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls

GT: Any books you've been meaning to get to?

PL: Indian Summer by Alex VonTunzelmann and The Secret History of the End of the Indian Empire

DR: I would like to finish In Search of Lost Time before I die

GT: What are a few of your favorite movies of all time?

PL: "Lawrence of Arabia", "Giant", "Tootsie", "The Age of Innocence", "The Godfather 1&2" and the Steve Martin version of "Father of the Bride"
DR: "Defending Your Life", "The Freshman", "Lost in America", "Good Fellas" and "Bridesmaids"

GT: Do you cook? What is your favorite dish to prepare? To eat?

PL: No I don't cook but I am a good and appreciative eater! I like most everything that is prepared well.
DR: Yes, my favorite thing to make is homemade pizza for a group of friends. Sadly, for my weight and health, my favorite food is French fries!

GT: What is the most interesting place you've traveled?

PL: China
DR: China

GT: What is your personal motto?

PL: Don't worry about it.
DR: Change is going to happen, embrace it.