If you’re out for a stroll down on Corporate Boulevard, your jewelry radar might suddenly go off when passing by women’s boutique Eros. The store currently carries Percoisa jewelry, a new(ish) line by local designer Morgan Maughan that is packed full of powerful statements.
Maughan herself works with fashion on a regular basis. A recent graduate of LSU, she works full time at Eros, and during her off time, she can be found working independently on her jewelry business, which she began a year and a half ago. Jewelry design was always an interest of Maughan’s growing up, which led her to become completely self-taught. She was inspired by lines such as Dannijo, Auden and Lionette, particularly since while they weren’t fine jewelry, they were different. After graduation, she made the decision to create jewelry professionally.
“I felt like it was something I could do,” Maughan said. “I was really inspired by those brands to get into it because…to me, it seemed like a way to break into what I wanted to do, but in a different way.”
The business’s moniker, Percoisa, is a made-up word but inspired by her work.
“I wanted it to be original and made up so that way it wouldn’t have a connotation with it or it wouldn’t be something confusing for people if they searched it,” Maughan said. “It’s a made-up word that I feel represents the edgy, original style.”
The biggest challenge for Maughan came right after she decided to start her business line. She didn’t have much experience, especially with soldering, but she researched the practice using different books and videos.
“I feel like in the beginning there were a lot of things that didn’t work out,” Maughan said. “I kept on trying and like anything that you just start, you’re not really great at it at first. So, I think getting it started to a place where I was confident with it and satisfied with it [was a challenge]. I feel like that’s with any business. It doesn’t start out perfect.”
Maughan said her designs start from a point of inspiration, such as the places she visits, or the people around her, but for the most part, they begin with the separate pieces.
“I choose all the materials, which are probably the most important part to me,” Maughan said. “And then ideas will form randomly. It’s the type of deal where I’ll go into the studio with one aspect figured out and then it evolves from there.”
Maughan regularly travels to New York where she purchases materials made by hand in Tokyo. She enjoys antique, classic designs, but also likes mixing them with other styles. Her previous line consisted of all heavy brass, statement necklaces.
“The weight and quality of the chain are what is important to me…it is more expensive, but I feel like people can feel the quality of it when it’s in their hands,” Maughan said. “My most popular piece was a tassel, but for spring and summer I’m working on earrings right now and hope to incorporate some new materials as well.”
Though Maughan has been working at Eros and making jewelry for a year and a half now, she hasn’t had too much involvement with Baton Rouge’s fashion scene.
“I’ve sold at a few other stores in town,” Maughan said. “Other than that, it’s kind of a new brand that hasn’t had too much of an opportunity to do much in the city with it.”
One of her fondest memories from working as a jewelry designer was when her pieces were going to be sold in a boutique for the first time.
“That was a really exciting feeling because it was going to be sold alongside a lot of the designers that I really admired,” Maughan said. “It felt kind of cool to be local and see that they could blend in with those. People have even mistaken them for those lines, which I was super flattered by. But I think the super most rewarding thing about what I do is to talk to people who are going to wear the jewelry.”
Currently, Percoisa is sold at Eros, where Maughan can speak to people who purchase her designs, which she enjoys as she can see the response to her work. While Maughan considers trends to be important, she likes to “rock it out” as well.
“I think everyone is different, and I think if you try to focus on the trends too much, you can kind of create certain things that have already been done,” Maughan said. “Of course, right now chokers are a really hot trend, and I love that right now. I think that’s fun; I just like to make chunkier chokers. I like to stay true to myself and incorporate what people like and what is going with clothing right now.”
Maughan’s goals for within the next year are to get her business to a point where the line can start going to market and spread to the southeast region. Design-wise, while she’ll always keep to an antique feel, she would like to expand on what she is doing with necklaces to earrings and bracelets. She also sees working with silver on the horizon, as her work has been predominately gold.
“It’s funny because I actually wear a lot more silver jewelry myself, but I see a lot of brands stick to silver and gunmetal and I did want [Percoisa] to be a little different,” Maughan said. “I like the base color of brass, and how raw brass changes over time. I do think that it’s cool that it’s local. It’s great to support local brands and the handmade aspect is great too.”
Photos by Amber Law.