Lucy Dalton has a long history with jewelry and retail, and each plays off the other in her work. When the Park Slope locations of the shops she co-owns — Teddy and Lucia – merged into one space recently, it also provided with her a bright, new studio space and showroom for wholesale buyers for her Lucy Dalton Jewelry line, located in the back of the store.
We caught up with Lucy during the busy holiday season to find out more about her jewelry, where she finds inspiration, what she’s learned from her nearly 10 years of running retail businesses in New York City, and where she gets cake.
PSS: When did you decide you wanted to make jewelry?
Lucy Dalton: My father was a jewelry designer and my mother worked for David Yurman for about 10 years. Ever since I can remember I was going to the diamond district in Manhattan with my parents on stone buying trips for my dad’s collections. I grew up with a love affair for the brightest, most brilliantly colored stones, my favorites being rubies and blue topaz… but I am partial to sapphires and emeralds too. Whenever I come up with a design, it almost always starts with the stones.
Where do you find creative inspiration?
Everywhere. Women I see on the subways, in the supermarkets, at parties. I want to create something I think they will love to wear and also something very wearable. Nature inspires me also.
What’s the process of making your jewelry like?
I have a small team of about five people, including myself, working on the collection every day. Process-wise, we take inspiration from everything around us. The seasons inspired our current Winter Wonderland collection, which is all about spinel, apatite, moonstones, and rubies. My favorite part of the process is when accidents happen, and as a result we stumble onto a new design that we all love.
What’s changed for you since you first opened a retail shop nearly a decade ago?
It seems like 10 years is such a long time, but when I think about it, it seems like it was just yesterday. I know that sounds cliche, but it’s spot on. I remember being 27 years old, taking my dog, Montana, with me to work everyday, chit chatting with every other business owner within a two block radius when it was slow. We would talk about the neighborhood and how we thought it was changing, how parking was becoming impossible, how so many people were moving in, about the weather…. Looking back it was great. Things somehow seemed simpler then.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned in that time?
I have learned a lot in the last 10 years. A lot about life and about business. Almost every business owner I was friends with on 5th Ave is gone now, replaced by some other business and twice the rent. It was tough to watch. Hanging in there wasn’t easy, and I have my husband and business partner, Ted Dalton, to thank for his business savvy, his unyielding determination, and his loyal support. We have grown with the neighborhood and the times, constantly bending and turning wherever we needed to in order to stay in the game.
You have some great gift guides up on the Teddy website. What’s the one gift you recommend to most people who are stumped for ideas?
No matter what, I always recommend jewelry. Its the gift that keeps on giving. It creates memories and shows care and attention. Our stores offer price points starting at $24 and going up to $200.
What are some of your favorite hidden (or not-so-hidden) gems in Park Slope?
My husband and I love to cook and live to eat. I go to the farmer’s market religiously every Wednesday when in season in Bartel-Pritchard Square. I buy the Brooklyn Blackout cake from Ladybird Bakery for every birthday [that's what the family's pictured celebrating with, on their son Theodore's second birthday, in the photo at the top]. And luckily for us, our new store happens to be a few doors down from Fleisher’s and across the street from Bierkraft. Also, Ted and I add a new hat to his growing collection every season from Goorin Bros.
Meet Lucy, check out her jewelry line, and find a unique gift for someone on your list at the recently relocated Teddy, 202 5th Avenue near Union Street, 718-623-0050. Hours are Monday-Saturday 11am-8pm and Sunday 11am-6pm.