Nickel City Gritty: Gretchen Meyers
My taste in jewelry has shifted heavily over the years.
When I was in my 20’s, I was all about big, loud costume jewelry. The bigger and bolder the necklaces and earrings were, the happier I was. Chunky beads and rhinestones were my best friends.
Thankfully, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve shifted towards more understated pieces, and realized that I’d rather spend my hard earned money on quality, beautiful, and special items. Bonus points if they are locally made.
I first stumbled upon Peg’s Hardware at one of the many artisan shows that we have here in Buffalo. Gretchen Meyers is the woman behind the brand, and the person who makes every single piece of Peg’s Hardware jewelry. Her collections always have the same vibe- classic, artistic, clean lines, and minimal yet super stylish. I was instantly drawn to her pieces because they were so interesting and different than anything I’ve seen before.
I quickly became a Peg’s super fan and I couldn’t wait to sit down with Gretchen to chat about all things business, jewelry, food, and what she thinks about Beyonce.
Take a listen to Gretchen’s playlist below while you read on!
This is Nickel City Gritty, and this is Gretchen Meyers of Peg’s Hardware.
Tell me about how Peg’s Hardware got started.
Peg’s Hardware happened pretty organically. It started in 2011 as a result of my life kind of being in an upheaval…it was in a state of transition, let’s say. I had dabbled in jewelry design in high school as a hobby and I found my old set of tools. My sister worked at Francesca’s and she had a bag of broken jewelry and asked me if I wanted it so I was like, “Sure!” I started making stuff and it was crap. It was terrible. At the time, I had been working at Half & Half and Debbie, the owner, said, “Throw it up at the cash wrap and see if it sells!” And it miraculously sold, I don’t know how, but I am so thankful to those people. From there it just increasingly became more consistent in my life. I started applying for shows, I started doing private parties, I would make conscious efforts to educate myself on how to do different techniques. YouTube was a mainstay, and a lot of it was trial and error. Now, almost seven years later, Peg’s has done a 180 essentially from what it started as, and I know so much more now. Now it’s like, I’ve almost reached the cap of what I can do here, and the struggle is how do I expand out of Buffalo? I’ve taken on a few different clients and stores outside of Buffalo and I would like to have that grow.
How did you come up with the name?
The name actually originated from my grandmother. My grandmother’s name was Margaret, but they called her Peg, and when I was fourteen, I told her that I wanted to become a jewelry designer. She told me that she thought I was very creative and that I had a good eye and that she believed in me and gave me a hundred dollar bill and it was like winning the lottery when you are fourteen. So with that I bought my first set of tools and a bead box and beads and started playing around with it. In high school I sold things to my parent’s friends for Christmas, and then in college I was going for a post-graduate for graphic design, and I had to do a packaging project. I decided to do jewelry packaging. I liked the idea of using something industrial looking and turning it feminine. I paired my grandmother’s name with the word “hardware” and the packaging itself was a brushed aluminum cylinder that came unscrewed and it suspended the jewelry so it had more of a presentation. Fast forward again so many years to this different state of my life, and kind of trying to figure out my way, and I thought, “You know, I have the name, let’s just do it.” It worked!
Describe your personal style.
I would say probably classic with some modern flavor. Clean with modern lines. I’m a jeans and tee shirt kind of gal to the bone. I do like dressing it up, though, with a very funky pair of earrings. I will always wear oversized earrings. I’m a hoop girl, I love hoops! I think one of the reasons that I love earrings so much is that I’m obsessed with trying to push the boundaries of what you can do in your ear, and how you can do it as lightweight as possible. I can wear heavy earrings for maybe thirteen seconds and that’s it. My big thing with Peg’s is trying to play with size and also comfort. Making them as lightweight as humanly possible.
What were you like in high school?
I was shy! I was super shy. I didn’t really flourish until college. It took me getting out of here to get outside of myself and learn to let loose and enjoy. I didn’t have a negative high school experience, though. I went to an all girls school, and I’m happy that I did. I think that for me, I would have been swallowed whole in public school or any other large school. My class was great. There wasn’t any type of “mean girls.”
If you were lost in the woods, how long do you think you’d survive?
One hour. *laughs* No, I would actually survive, I would not be happy about surviving, but I would probably survive. I hate camping, I’m not gonna lie. Tent camping and I are mortal enemies. I fucking hate it, so if I made it by myself for a night in the woods, then I’d probably survive for a week. But if I couldn’t make it through the night, then that would be it. I’ve been exposed to hunters and gatherers, and I actually used to do something called shed hunting, and that’s where you essentially track deer and look for the shed antlers. That was eye opening and made for going on hikes and walks in the woods way more fun because it gave you a purpose, like finding a needle in a haystack.
If you could bring any fictional character to life, who would it be?
Hmmm, that’s a really good question. I’d have to say Coach Taylor from Friday Night Lights. I love that show so much. Wait, or anybody from Parks & Recreation. It’s so funny. I’ve watched the whole series now like 25 times. Ron Swanson is the most amazing character ever. And my father-in-law is slightly like him, so that makes it that much better.
What is your spirit animal?
You know what’s funny, I was going over possible questions with my husband and I was thinking that you were going to ask me what my spirit animal is and I legitimately have no idea what it is. But, I can tell you what my spirit food is!
Oh my god yes please tell me.
Red grapes, pecan Nut Thins, and sharp cheddar cheese. If I was marooned on an island, and there was nothing else to eat in life, I would be perfectly content having those three things every day. I love them. You could throw some charcuterie in there and that would just be the cherry on top.
Where do you go when you need to relax?
My favorite thing in the world to do is drive around. The greatest freedom that anyone could give anyone is a license. I’m a driver, I love driving when I need to clear my head. I actually had a line that I would follow that lead me from Elmwood Village to North Buffalo and back and it was just like doing figure eights, but that was my therapy. I’d still do it to this day if I didn't have a four and a half month old who didn’t allow me to. I just like to drive around and think and play music and figure out issues in my head.
What is something that a ton of people are obsessed with but you don’t see the point of?
I’m gonna say something and it’s probably going to get me in trouble….Beyonce. I don’t mind Beyonce, and I actually respect her from the standpoint of women’s rights, activism and things like that, but her and Drake, in terms of music…I don’t get it. I just don’t get Beyonce. I don’t know what it is! I also have to admit that I read Erin’s interview, and cold shoulder anything…and high-low things…I don’t like it. High-low should never come back, cold shoulder should never come back.
What role do you play in the group of your friends?
Well, that’s tough, because it depends on which friends. I would say I try to be a good listener and supportive in terms of advice. Solicited or unsolicited. I try to be there for my friends, especially when they’re in times of turmoil and need. I’m loyal, I’m a very loyal friend. Even if it’s, too its fault, backbreaking. In certain ways I’m a connector, but not overly. I’m reliable and loyal.
What are some of your favorite bars or restaurants in Buffalo?
The Grange, Roost, Saigon will always be a fan fave for me. Marble & Rye is great. Honestly, even World Bazaar is good. But I would say, when I have a date night, we’re either going to Roost, Saigon, Ballyhoo, or The Grange. Those are the staples. Ballyhoo is cool because it’s not super involved but it’s always delicious and quality.
What is on your bucket list?
Years ago I actually started a note in my phone that was “bucket list.” I’ve always wanted to do a hot air balloon ride, I would like to say that I’m not gonna be a giant wuss and actually get into the basket. I would love to travel abroad more and do more European trips. I’ve done a cross country road trip with a friend of mine and I would love to do that again. I think that would be awesome. I’d love to start working out and actually love it, because I don’t. I’m not a gym person and I wish secretly that I was. I would love to go an be exposed to different cultures. My bucket list changes. In my early 20’s my list was wildly different than it was in my late 20’s and early 30’s and now with a baby I think of like the shit that was actually on my bucket list and I’m like NO WAY! Being able to expose Oliver to all of the worlds. He’s going be coming to the city a lot. He’s going to be going to the country a lot. He’s gonna be cultured…that’s my biggest thing.
What’s on your playlist? What do you like to listen to?
I have such a range. The only things I don’t really listen to would be heavy metal or country. I’m always a fan of classic rock- Beatles, Stones, Zeppelin, Sting, I still love Genesis…Phil Collins is my jam. I also am a huge fan of hip hop. It’s always been there, but it’s also been heavily influenced by my husband. Dilated Peoples, People Under the Stairs, Dr. Dre, Atmosphere…they are all people that I love.
Which of your five senses would you say is the strongest?
Smell. Probably sense of smell, and then hearing. But the sense of smell gets heightened. I feel as if I can smell things from a mile away sometimes, and I’m always constantly worried what it might be.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
A good mom and also a successful business woman. I want both. I wanna do right by my son and future children and not neglect them for my job, but I also selfishly don’t want my job to be neglected from my family. I’m trying to find the balance. It’s hard, it’s really hard. Specifically now, the older they get the less they nap! And the less time you have. So the great question is, do you hire somebody part time? Hire a nanny so you can get work done? Hire somebody so that you can produce more for Peg’s? That’s what I’m trying to figure out now. Peg’s is on such a great roll and is gaining more momentum because I’m putting more momentum behind it. You do things when you can and you try to figure it out!
Thank you so much for the wonderful interview, Gretchen! If you’d like to shop Peg’s jewelry, you can do it online at her Etsy shop, or if you live in the WNY area, her pieces can be found in multiple local boutiques!