Her body of work is a wonderland
When we visited Mimi So during jewelry market week in Las Vegas, she presented, among other delicacies, a tray full of crazy-colorful bead necklaces from her Mimi’s Wonderland collection: strand upon strand of red spinel, African tsavorite, blue chalcedony, tanzanite, Colombian emerald, and faceted citrine—dotted with freshwater pearls and whimsical pavé diamond butterflies and bees. “It’s like a candy store, isn’t it?” she smiled. Our sweet tooth sufficiently sated, we resolved to learn more about the New York City–based designer. —Melissa Rose Bernardo
Number of years in the biz: 17
Number of employees you oversee: 12
Family and pets: Chester, our puppy toy poodle; one girl and boy—both have an attitude.
Mimi and family
Describe your personal style: Effortless and comfortable.
First piece you ever designed: I was very young and love flowers, so Anzia was the first floral motif I used in a piece of jewelry.
The single piece of jewelry you’re most proud of: Our signature Piece Square Swing necklace derived from the shape of my window living in New York City, representing the past, present, and future.
Favorite (or current favorite) gemstone: My current favorite is like the current boyfriend—it would be the exotic boulder opals from Australia. I find them to be mysterious and intriguing. They have a character and personality of their own, almost like mood swings: bright moods radiating at times spurts of intensity of highs and lows and sexy with delicate lines or bold tones.
If you were a customer, what would you buy from Mimi’s Wonderland? If I were the customer, I would buy the stackable rings: the Bird, the Butterfly and Lady Bug, the diamond Twig band, and the Bumble Bee—I feel like I have a garden party on my finger. Definitely a diamond Twig necklace, layering it with one of the colorful bead strands—preferably the opal strands—and a pair of the Stinger drop pavé earrings. The pieces are effortless; layering the different styles gives it a depth and fluidness that is stylish and wearable.
What’s in your bag??Everything—candy and jewelry, more candy…more jewelry!
Best piece of advice you ever received: “Listen to yourself.”
Worst piece of advice: “Ask your husband.” (Joking! Hee-hee.)
First job ever: Babysitting.
Piece Square Swing necklace
How did you get started designing jewelry? I wanted to wear what I envisioned.
If you weren’t designing jewelry, what would you be doing? Touring like a rock star!
Jewelry you’re wearing right now: My wedding band and right-hand Jackson ring.
Five items on your desk right now: Sketchbook, iPhone, fashion magazines, colored pencils, mail.
Five songs on your playlist: “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Queen; “Crawl,” Kings of Leon; “Hello,” Adele; “Diamonds,” Rihanna; “Lay Me Down,” Sam Smith.
Exercise regimen: Running to catch my plane every time! Lift, run, sprint, lift, run, sprint, and again…
What did you have for breakfast? Iced cappuccino.
Guilty pleasure: Chocolate.
Drink (daytime/evening): Coke Zero/Coke Zero.
First website you check every day (not your own!): Haha. I don’t check my own site! BusinessofFashion.
Scent: Cut fresh flowers.
How do you unwind? Delicious meal that someone else is cooking.
One must-visit New York City spot: Central Park.
Book you’re reading: The Pocket Dalai Lama.
Book you’ve been meaning to get to: Still looking…
Preferred news source: News televised.
Main means of transportation: My feet.
Favorite movie: Spectre.
Who would play you in your life story? Marion Cotillard.
Personal motto: “Stay true to your beliefs.”
Top: Wonderland Lady Bug and Butterfly ring, Wonderland Bee and tassel earrings, Wonderland Pow Orchid ring