I received my invitation to visit Ming & Ingrid at the 2012 Las Vegas show with excitement. My first show. I’m getting invitations to look at jewelry! What could be better? Enter the point where I step into the convention center at Mandalay Bay, and my jaw promptly drops to the floor. How am I ever going to see everything, and meet everyone? Well, the answer is, I could not. And I did not. Fast-forward to the last day of the show, the 11th hour. The sound of packing tape fills the air as the jewelry is tucked away, put to sleep for the journey home. Turn the corner, and—look!—it’s Ming and Ingrid! I stroll over to meet the talented husband-and-wife team who had just about finished their debut at JCK. My attitude was all “I meant to do that,” when, in fact, if I hadn’t been in the right place at the right time, I would have surely missed them. And missing them would have been a sad, sore mistake. This is a talented duo, both with a background in design, showcasing some very different creations. The one that stands out in my memory the most is a fierce panther cuff, pictured. Now, without further ado, I invite you to meet a lovely pair, Ming & Ingrid.
JCK Marketplace: How did you get into the jewelry business?
Ming Louie & Ingrid Louie: We got into the jewelry business purely by accident. We were purchasing gemstone beads for some of our bag and leather cuff designs, and from there we ended up bead wrapping and then got educated about wax carving, soldering, and casting, and made the transition to designing jewelry and having it manufactured, while we still design and produce other accessories and unique pieces of jewelry ourselves.
JCK Marketplace: If you could sum up the Ming & Ingrid brand in just a few words, which would you choose?
ML&IL: Fun, vibrant, never dull, love, unique, and occasionally bold.
JCK Marketplace: What are your design inspirations?
ML&IL: As creative people, we get inspired by a variety of things, from the light of an evening sunset rippling across the water of a shallow gravel bed, to the texture of old peeling paint from a wooden picket fence, or even from a dream awakening you in the middle of the night. It is endless.
JCK Marketplace: What is your favorite piece from your Marketplace showroom, and why?
ML&IL: We have to say it would be the asymmetric necklace from our Nucleo collection. It is a sculptured piece of art, which is unique, bold, and full of color.
JCK Marketplace: How was your first year at JCK Las Vegas? Do you have a favorite moment or memory?
ML&IL: Our most memorable and favorite moments were when customers came into our booth to look at our jewelry collections and said that the reason they were drawn to the booth was because of our booth design. That statement made all the hard work that we put into designing and building the booth all worthwhile. This was our first time showing, and the booth design and the short time we had to build it was down-to-the-wire stressful, but in the end everything looked beautiful and, most importantly, attracted all the right customers, who were pleased with our jewelry lines—it was a double satisfaction. We’ll do it all again in a heartbeat!
JCK Marketplace: If you could give one piece of advice to jewelry retailers, what would it be?
ML&IL: To be diverse with the jewelry they sell and not to be so safe. There is always a time, a place, and a person for every piece of jewelry.
JCK Marketplace: It’s time for happy hour! What shall we order?
ML&IL: For Ming, it is a Bloody Mary (it is bad and good for you); for Ingrid, it is a margarita (it is tropical and fun).