Hello friendly faces! It’s that time of the week! We’re back with a new Chicago North Shore Moms spotlight brought to you in part by Mary Gifford of Gifford Law.
Diana Peters is an advocate for human strength. As the founder and executive director of Symbol Training Institute, the largest manufacturing trade school in the Chicagoland area, she’s providing high quality manufacturing careers and job placement services during by day. At night Diana unwinds with her hands-on, art-driven side gig creating beautiful, affordable and on-trend jewelry via DP Designs.
Chicago North Shore Moms first chatted with Diana in July of 2020, and it was high time to catch up with the Highland Park mom of three, what she’s been up to and how business has changed in the last three + years. Welcome back, Diana!
Hi Diana! Please introduce yourself. Where are you from originally? What city do you live in now? What brought you here?
Hi, I’m Diana Peters, I grew up in Skokie and now live with my family in Highland Park, IL. My husband grew up in Highland Park and it is a great place to raise a family.
Tell us about your children and do brag away!
I have a son who is a freshman in High School and two girls who are in elementary and middle school. I am most proud of my kids for being kind and emotionally intelligent human beings. The world is in definite need of kindness these days.
What are one or two fun facts to know about you?
I was born in the USA, however, my family immigrated here before I was born and therefore I was raised speaking Russian and still speak it.
I was featured as a Chicago Crain’s 40 under 40 awardee for my work as the founder and executive director of Symbol Training Institute, which is the largest manufacturing trade school in the Chicagoland area. I am a strong advocate for women in the manufacturing field.
What are your favorite North Shore places, spaces and eats to frequent with family and/or a date night?
I love to bike all around town and throughout the suburbs so one of our favorite places that I visit is TALA in Highwood for coffee, Hometown in Glencoe for their huge pretzels and The Little French Guy in Highland Park for their home-made bread and pastries.
What gets you through a tough day?
I love my oat milk latte or green tea matcha latte. When I need more of a relaxing feel to get through my day, I sip on my Numi Toasted Rice tea all day long. Lately I’ve become quite the Swifty so have been listening to all of her the albums (Taylor’s Version of course) to help me start my day off and while making jewelry.
We only have so much time on this earth, make every day and moment matter.
It’s time to get down to business! Please reintroduce Diana Peters Designs. How long have you been in business, and what was the impetus behind starting this company?
I have been making jewelry since I was in middle school and always enjoyed gifting pieces to friends and family. It wasn’t until about 5 years ago that I transitioned my hobby and passion into a business. Friends would be asking me to make them pieces they saw me wearing and then their friends would ask…. One thing led to another and DP Designs was born.
How do you keep up with current jewelry trends and produce pieces so quickly? Do you have staff helping?
I do my own content so I have the ability to post immediately and share my latest jewelry creations with my audience. I am always on the lookout for pieces that I would want to wear and that is what drives me to making my designs and style. I spend a lot of time on social media and am very aware of what is happening around me and where the trends are going. I work full time as an executive director at Symbol Training Institute, a manufacturing vocational school that I founded so my time is definitely limited, however, I always do find the time to make jewelry since it is also my therapy and brings me much joy. It’s not a job when it’s this much fun!
How do custom orders work? Are you sold in stores or all entirely out of your home?
There are stores that carry my pieces, however the majority of customers purchase through social media by seeing my videos, posts and stories and also shopping in person at my showroom in Highland Park. I love to style looks for customers and it’s fun when it can be done in person. I’ve even had customers buy pieces directly off of my wrist and neck. I ship all over the US and to Canada and have made such wonderful connections with my clients. I owe it all to my followers and supporters and truly respect each and every one of them. I wouldn’t be here doing what I love if it wasn’t for them.
How has business changed since we last interviewed you in July of 2020?
Business has boomed since 2020 and I have grown to selling all over the country. Celebrities have been wearing my pieces such as Bethenny Frankel, her daughter Bryn Hobby, Candace Cameron Bure, Isaac Boots, Antonia Gorga from RHONJ, Portia Umansky (Kyle Richard’s daughter), songwriter and actress McKenna Grace, Olivia Vedder (Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder’s daughter) and more. It’s a pinch me moment every time I see them wearing one of my pieces. I don’t think I can ever get used to that feeling!
What is the hardest part of running a business in your opinion?
The hardest part of running a business is time management and balancing your priorities; while having enough time in the day to do everything you want and need to do. As a designer, I might be taking my daughter to tennis practice and then I will have this amazing idea pop into my head of what I want to make. This happens all the time for me! I always say I need more hours in the day as I am on the move and doing something every minute of the day from the moment I rise to when my head hits the pillow.
What advice do you have for budding entrepreneurs out there? In other words, what do you wish you knew then that you know now?
I recommend that budding entrepreneurs work on their organizational skills as running a small business is predicated on time management and how effectively you can multi-task.
What’s on the horizon for Diana Peters Designs?
A website!!! Many can’t believe I don’t even have one yet.
Is there anything else you’d like us to know about yourself or your business?
I really value and am grateful to my customers as I treat all of my clientele how I would like to be treated. My business has also given me the opportunity to support important causes through my platform and reach with my followers. I am so proud of the Diana Peters Designs community for stepping it up and donating through our fundraising efforts to causes that are near and dear to my heart.
How do see your design and place orders?
You can visit my Instagram page @dianapetersdesigns, take a look at my posts and DM for orders. If you have something in mind you don’t see tell me about it and I’ll see what I can do to create it.
About our Meet of Mom Sponsor
A very heartfelt thank you to CNSMoms’ Meet a Mom sponsor, Lake Forest mom of three and owner of Gifford Law, a solo Estate Planning Firm (wills and trusts). Mary, we appreciate your support of local moms in our North Shore communities! Learn more about Mary by visiting her Meet a Mom spotlight here! Contact Mary directly here: [email protected].
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