Interview with Aimee Fuller Designs
TV News Anchor Turned Hat and Jewelry Designer Dishes on Her Success
Aimee Fuller Designs
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Everyone wants to be their own boss, but for Aimee Meals, it’s the reality she can’t get enough of. TV news anchor turned hat and jewelry designer, Aimee has 15 years experience as a business owner. Her designs adorn the heads and necks of Kentucky Derby attendees every year. Aimee Meals was named one of the top ten best-dressed in San Diego for 2017. FINE Magazine caught up with Aimee Meals of Aimee Fuller Designs, a San Diegan powerhouse, to get the inside scoop on the life of a creative designer.
Did you do something else before becoming a designer?
My first career was in TV news, and I anchored two morning shows at KUSI-TV. Every day was different—I could be interviewing anyone from John Glenn to Jessica Simpson, and I'd find out when I arrived to work at 4am! Prior to moving to Southern California, I was an evening news anchor in various cities. I've also done reporting for CNN and ABC News.
You have a stunning collection of hats, fascinators, and jewelry. What brought you into the business of designing?
I was spending my entire [TV news anchor] wardrobe allowance on big jewelry. I grew to have an interest in gemstones and minerals, and before long I just had to work with them and create my own pieces. Big, rough, and raw jewelry was really coming onto the scene, and I loved playing with textures and colors and creating something from the basics that God gave us. I come from a family of artists, and I suppose I had found my art. Creating is a great way to decompress and feed your soul––and then [I got] to wear it!
I've had my jewelry line for almost 15 years, but it wasn't until 2008 that I had to drop everything and focus solely on the business. I specialize in everything from large, tribal statement necklaces to delicate, fine gold tassel jewelry. They're all handmade in the U.S. and available online. From what I can discern, I have the largest individual handmade jewelry store [online], and over the years I've sold to almost any country you can name. In fact, I have almost as many sales in Canada, Australia, and England as I do in the USA.
How did your hat line begin?
A year ago, I started my hat line, and [Canada, Australia, and England] seem to be leading my sales for hats, as well. I started to get significant sales from people all over who were going to the Kentucky Derby this year. I didn't know that they would find my hats this quickly, so it sort of took me by surprise. I had to get busy fast!
It's flattering and very humbling... The fact that all this [success] did happen blows me away sometimes. I am in talks right now to show at New York Fashion Week in September, and also to show in Milan, so that's got me pretty amped!
Tell us about owning your own business and being your own boss.
It's the best! I've suffered from a chronic illness since my teenage years. When I have flare-ups, I can't get out of bed for a day or two. Endometriosis is insidious and can affect every part of your life. At a certain point, going to work became very difficult, and it's a hard thing to try to explain to your company. I was so blessed to work in the field I did, and I have nothing but gratitude and great memories about the people. But I do thank God every day that I can now make my own schedule. I don't have to feel like I'm letting anybody down. I'm only sharing this because I want women to know that there are many paths to success and that if you have a chronic disease or disability, you are not alone.