5 Questions: Kimberly McDonald

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This week we’re celebrating jewelry designer Kimberly McDonald’s 10th anniversary at BG. Since launching her epynomys line in 2007 in New York City, McDonald’s design aesthetic has always focused on letting nature speak for itself. Each piece represents the designer’s love of all things natural and proves that sustainability is integral to the brand’s existence. We sat down with McDonald to discuss the last decade, her design process for the exclusive anniversary collection, and the piece of jewelry she thinks every woman should own.

Bergdorf Goodman: Can you describe how it felt to be picked up by Bergdorf Goodman 10 years ago?

Kimberly McDonald: Surreal! I know a lot of vendors repeatedly submit their work for consideration because Bergdorf Goodman is widely considered the finest retail store on the planet. When they contacted me out of the blue and picked up my line on the first meeting, it was surreal.

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BG: How did you go about creating the exclusive anniversary collection for BG? Was there any particular starting point?

KM: As with every other brand, you tend to evolve over the years and when I realized my 10 year anniversary was coming up, I went back to my original collection. I wanted to bring back that same vibe for existing collectors and for people that weren’t in the market at the starting point to see where I began.

BG: What is the one piece of jewelry that every woman should own?

KM: I think every woman needs to own a great pair of earrings. Something she puts on that lights up her face; she can wear dressy or casual and something that is bespoke and unique to her. I think this is one of the reasons that so many women collect my geode earrings because they are one of a kind… Due to the juxtaposition of rough and fine materials, they work with jeans and a t-shirt as well as cocktail attire and everything in between.

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BG: Do you have a favorite Bergdorf Goodman memory?

KM: My favorite Bergdorf memory is actually centered around being picked up as a new vendor; it’s a funny story! When I first heard from the buyer I didn’t even have an office and was working from my NYC apartment. I received a phone call at home one day from a woman indicating she was the designer jewelry buyer at Bergdorf Goodman and for some reason I had it in my head that it was my friend playing a joke on me. I said,” very funny” and she said, “no, this is Samantha from Bergdorf Goodman” …and the third time she said who she was, I responded, “ok if you are from Bergdorf hang up and email me.” I was so convinced that it was my friend (they have very similar sounding voices). I didn’t even have a business email and my AOL email went off within two minutes of hanging up with Samantha that said to call her back at this number.  She picked up and said, “This is going to be interesting”. I came in for a meeting and prepared myself to hear all of the things I needed to change. When I first met Samantha, she was very complementary of my work and then told me she would need to introduce me to the fine jewelry buyer instead. I met with the fine jewelry buyer and within the first two minutes she said, “So are you in?” That was in September and the first open date for a new vendor was January 28th of the coming year. I think I was in shock when I left because it was so surreal to have Bergdorf Goodman call me and pick up my line. I feel very lucky to have this kind of experience.

BG: What pieces of jewelry do you personally wear on repeat?

KM: I am a big fan of stud earrings in every material and every size. Whether it’s a pair of petite geode studs or an oversized opal or cats eye rutilated quartz. You are most likely to find me wearing studs.

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