Our favorite Gee’s Bend Quilts

I’m excited to share the Gee’s Bend Quilts with you because it’s old news that I’m obsessed with quilted things and the rich heritage related to quilting. You’ve seen my quilted coat fascination (on more than one occasion), the coat that I enlisted Romy of Sew Like Romy to make for me last year, the quilted eye mask that I made from some of the extra pieces, and you’ve found out about the big feelings people have about repurposing quilts. I even quilted a patchwork bandana and scrunchie this spring. I know, I know, we get it! Lars loves quilts!

Gee’s Bend History

Gee’s Bend is a small, Black community surrounded by the Alabama River where families have been passing down a quilting tradition since their enslaved foremothers, who lived on the local Pettway Plantation. repurposed whatever material they had access to into colorful quilts. At different points in history the Gee’s Bend quilters have used deadstock corduroy and discarded work clothes in their work.

Gee’s Bend quilts have gained a reputation for being some of the most vibrant, artistically boundary-bending quilts in the American art tradition. They remind me of some of the best Modernist paintings in that the Gee’s Bend quilts are full of color, geometry, and an acknowledgement of the human hand.

 

Even though the Gee’s Bend quilts are now acknowledged as a vital part of American art history, many of the quilters aren’t consistently paid their worth. When I realized that you can buy Gee’s Bend Quilts directly from the artists on Etsy I knew I had to share! So, without further ado, here are some of my favorite Gee’s Bend quilts and quiltmakers!

Quiltmakers

You can read about lots of the individual quiltmakers here. I love reading up on each artist’s story and seeing the ways that their families have passed on quilting traditions. For example, here’s a quilt by Amelia Bennett, who used to quilt with her neighbors and passed her legacy on to her daughter Sally Bennett Jones.

A multicolored quilt made of concentric squares and rectangles.
Amelia Bennet, Housetop 12-Block Variation, photo by Stephen Pitkin

Many of the living Gee’s Bend artists have work available on Etsy. I’ve linked to each individual artist’s shop, so click on their names for more!

Sharon Williams

Katie Mae

Doris Pettway Moseley

Doris Pettway Hackets

Caster Pettway

Lou Ida

Emma Pettway

Claudia Pettway Charley

Stella Mae

Delia

Mary Margaret Pettway

Kristin Pettway

Loretta Pettway Bennett

I love the ingenuity of these Gee’s Bend quilted masks!

I would love to hear about your favorite artists, especially Black artists whose work you’re loving! Let me know in the comments!

And if you’re interested in supporting women makers around the world like those of Gee’s Bend, consider donating to Nest.

Becoming: Justina Blakeney of The Jungalow

I’ve been a big Justina Blakeney fan for years. I admire her focus and drive in creating the beautiful home furnishings and interiors brand, Jungalow, which brought the re-advent and modernization of the bohemian style. She’s smart, talented, and on a mission to bring good design to the world! I’m constantly learning from her as a person, business person and artist, shop owner, and author.

One of the things I admire most about Justina Blakeney is how she has figured out what she wants and works her rear off to make it happen. For example, she sets time aside every day to work on becoming a better illustrator and artist showing me how you just have to make time to improve. Without further ado, meet Justina!

Becoming: Interview with Justina Blakeney

What did you want to be when you were young versus when it was time to decide what to actually do?

I knew I wanted to work in a creative field. I went through various phases of wanting to be a trapeze artist, a teacher, a newscaster, and a singer.

What do you consider yourself? Example: Artist, designer, maker, business person etc.

Yes. All of those things. (except maybe maker haha)

How did your childhood influence what you have become?

My parents gave me a ton of creative freedom and did a good job of balancing and creating boundaries for me and letting me feel free. I think this gave me both confidence and a feeling of security which has served me very well in my career.

Did you feel pressured in any way to pursue a certain career path?

Yes, but the pressure was internal. I did not feel it so much from outside sources. For me, the pressure was about trying to make money vs. following my heart. I’ve found a good balance in what I do now.

How did you get started in your field doing what you do?

I’ve had about 25 different types of jobs and all of them (from working retail, to working in restaurants, to owning my own store, to consulting with small business owners, to being a freelance graphic designer and interior designer) all somehow have taught me skills that I use every single day today. I will, however, say that it was my blog (which I started in 2009) that a major catalyst in getting me where I am today.

What did you study? Did you go to school specifically for what you do?

I studied World Arts and Cultures and Italian at UCLA and then went to fashion school in Italy where I studied design for one year. So, I guess the answer to the second part of the question is “kind of.”

Did you have anyone along the way that was instrumental in the trajectory of your life?

EVERYONE. But especially my big sister Faith, who is an interior designer but has always been super chic and stylish and creative. My parents are a really obvious one, but they’ve ALWAYS supported me in everything.

What’s your workspace like?

Messy, fun, colorful, layered, inspiring, always changing, maximal, crowded.

You were one of the first people to produce original content for your blog. What lead you to think that it would be a viable career, especially in the early days when you weren’t getting paid for it?

I didn’t think it was necessarily a viable career, but I loved doing it and so I just did it for fun and because it was helping me to find new clients for my freelance business at the time. Honestly, I never thought in a million years I could make it big off of blogging.

You started out doing craft books. How did that come to be? Did that change your trajectory?

After fashion school in Italy, my sister and I opened a small shop. We were selling vintage T-shirts and so many of them were HUGE (and Italians are often petite) so we started cutting them up and making new styles out of them. People loved the designs and they were hugely popular, so we thought to self-publish a manual to show people how many designs you could make from a simple T-shirt! We thought of the book as more of a conceptual tool than a craft book, but the book was picked up by a craft book publisher in the U.S. and then the publisher commissioned us to create several books after that. I was in my early 20’s at the time and I was STOKED.

Did you always have an ultimate plan?

My plan has always been to figure out how to be my own boss, be creative, get rich, do good in the world. The details have always been a bit fuzzier.
A colorful bohemian room with a pink, cyan, and blue rug, yellow curtains, and warm wooden furniture.

Jungalow has morphed into a full-fledged brand. Did you always have that in mind? Where do you see it going?

Yes and no. I can’t say I’ve always had exactly in mind what Jungalow has now become, but I always allow myself to dream BIG and see where it takes me.

What sets your brand apart from other brands?

Me! I inject as much of myself as I can into my brand so that it can be true to who I am, and stand out in the crowd.

Do you like being the face of your own company? Does it have any drawbacks?

Yes, I’ll admit that I like being the face of my own company. I enjoy public appearances, I’m pretty outgoing and I love people and so I like that aspect of the gig. For me, the benefits outweigh any drawbacks, but I’d say the main drawback is that I sometimes spread myself thin wearing too many hats.
A brightly-lit room with a modern rug by Jungalow. The room has shelves, plants, a wicker rocker, a big window, and a sunbed.

What’s a typical day like for you?

Every day is different and I like it that way! I live one block from my office and after I get my daughter ready for school I walk to our local coffee shop, grab a latte and go on a walk for 30 minutes, listen to the news or a podcast and head into work. I work with my team on all kinds of projects from working on our online shop, to designing new products or creating concepts for new collections, shooting new styles or posts for our blog and social channels, answering press and media inquiries and interviews (like this one 😉 ) and  having meetings with partners or folks we work with.

What’s a piece of advice that you’ve carried with you and who is it from?

My dad always said “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it,” and I couldn’t do all that I do if I was always fixated on fixing every tiny thing. I’m very big picture, and every day I knock down a ton of pins. It keeps me productive, and most of all, it keeps my learning. 

What piece of advice would you give to someone starting out in a creative field?

I would say to keep on creating. Don’t get stuck inside your head. Do do do do. Make make make. Share share share. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Then once you do, make sure you have an awesome accountant and a great lawyer who can help make sure your biz situation is on lock.

What’s coming up for you in 2019? And your company?

We have some fun new product launches happening this year, I can’t say too much about them yet, but one of them rhymes with “Shmall Shmaper” 😛 . A very large focus for us this year is growing our online shop, it grew about 200% in one year so that’s been so exciting to see. I also am hoping to purchase a building for Jungalow soon and open our first in-person location. L.A. is so expensive, so it’s gonna take some time for that to happen, but when I put my mind to something…I make that sh*t happen 😀 .
Blush wallpaper with botanical accents by Justina Blakeney. The space is decorated with a green desk, books, and a sun-shaped wall decoration.
*Edit from 2021: You can find Justina Blakeney’s wallpaper collection here!

What does your dream retirement look like?

Rich and beachy with lots of mojitos, grandkids and pottery classes.

What do you do when someone copies your work?

Depends on the circumstance. Sometimes I laugh, sometimes I cry, sometimes I lawyer up 😀 .

A Jungalow hypnotic quilt set on a light wood bed. The space has windows and plants and is airy and funky at the same time.

Are you where you want to be in your life?

Hells yes and simultaneously NEVER!! haha.

Anything more/additional you’d like to “become”?

I’d like to become an agent for good in the world. Also maybe a podcaster, but we’ll get to that another time 😉 .

Where you can find Justina:

Thanks for your thoughts about “becoming”, Justina! We’re so pleased to have you. Stay tuned for more interviews soon!
A tiger rug by Justina Blakeney

Becoming: Louise Pretzel from the Lars Print Shop

I’m so excited for you to meet Louise Pretzel, an illustrator extraordinaire and our newest addition to the Lars Print Shop!

Louise Pretzel is an illustrator inspired by vintage kitschery and the styles of yesteryear. Formally trained in the art of graphic design and traditional illustration, Louise brings a fresh take on a range of subject matter with favorite themes including decadent desserts, foraged wildflower bouquets, and nostalgic mid century oddities. She currently lives in the midwest with her husband and two fluffy dogs, where she works out of her home studio.

Meet Louise Pretzel!

What do you consider yourself? Example: Artist, designer, illustrator, maker, business person, educator, etc.? 

When I was first starting out my career, I considered myself solely a designer. As of today I definitely consider myself an illustrator as well!

What did you dream of becoming when you were younger?

Hmm, definitely not an illustrator! I think at one point when I was trying to figure out what I should be, I thought being an anesthesiologist or radiologist sounded like viable career paths without actually considering the fact that I was terrible at math and science, lol. It wasn’t until about my junior year of high school where I realized that I could pursue what I actually enjoyed doing as a hobby (art and design) as a full time career. 

Louise Pretzel sits at her desk painting. The desk has paper flowers and a framed illustration of a rabbit on it.

Where did you grow up? Are there aspects of your childhood that have influenced what you do now?

I was born and raised in Southern California. Probably the biggest thing that influenced me to follow a path into art and design was actually practically living out my childhood on Neopets and Myspace, spending countless hours blinging out my pages with graphics made on a pirated bootleg version of Photoshop. Those were the days! Another big aspect that influenced my illustration style and aesthetic was going thrifting and antiquing with my mom and sister. Looking back now, since moving to the Midwest, I can say I was a bit spoiled with such easy access to so many great vintage and flea markets like the Rose Bowl.

What sparked your interest in illustration? What attracted you to this field?

Growing up I was always on the artsy side and took traditional illustration classes in high school and college. I ended up pursuing graphic design in college, since that seemed to be the “financially viable” path to take as an artist. I actually didn’t even consider being an illustrator, or even realize it was something I could be! But I would say that spark and interest in illustration was something I always had ingrained in me, but I just needed the right opportunity to allow myself to fully embrace and explore that path professionally.

What inspired you to become an illustrator?

My first job out of college was a graphic designer role, doing layouts for stationery and home decor items. We actually had two in-house illustrators, but at some point they both quit which ended up sort of forcing the graphic design team to take over the illustration duties. From there I had a lot of opportunities to create new original art, which really sparked my passion for illustration, and also provided me a space to experiment with different styles and methods of creating which was so great! That ultimately gave me the confidence to start creating illustrations on my own outside of my 9-5. 

A print of Louise Pretzel's elephant leans against a pink wall with wooden tree toys in front of it.

What are three words to describe your style?

Kitschy, whimsical, random? Haha. I am the worst at describing myself! I’d be more interested in finding out how other people describe my style!

What is a piece of advice that you have carried with you and who is it from? Do you have a personal motto?

Probably the most helpful advice that was instilled into me throughout my life came from my dad. He is a financial banker-type of guy, and he always encouraged me to negotiate, know your worth, and to walk away if the offer isn’t right. That has been essential advice to me as an artist, and has helped me walk away from a few opportunities with no regrets. And without fail, when I have walked away from those opportunities, a better one came my way! 

What is your educational background and how has it shaped or changed your current career?

Having pursued graphic design in college, I think has really helped me as an illustrator. It gave me a lot of the technical know-how in terms of actually applying my art to products, knowing the essentials of typography and layouts, and being able to fully understand the printing process for setting up my files for clients. 

A print of Louise Pretzel's Rocking Horse leaning against a gold wall with pastel wooden blocks in front of it.

What are some stereotypes of your job that you wish to break?

I personally have trouble sticking to one style, it’s probably the biggest stereotype for an artist to be successful that you need to have a signature style. Maybe that’s true! But in that case maybe I don’t want to be successful. Lately I have been trying to just stick true to what brings me true joy as an artist, and a lot of that comes with trying new styles and experimenting with ways of creating. I think about having to stick to the same style for all of eternity… that sounds a bit boring! 

What is a typical day like for you? 

I usually wake up when the sun rises, fix myself a cup of coffee, and let my two little white fluffy dogs outside. My mornings are usually spent cuddling with my dogs on the couch, and catching up on email and social media. From there I pretty much just go into work mode with some breaks throughout the day! I love to take an afternoon break with some tea and cookies. Later on in the day I might do some gardening, take the dogs on a walk, fix dinner, and end with watching a movie or episode of whatever I’m currently binging with my husband. 

What is your workspace like? Has it changed at all since the beginning of the pandemic last year? 

I actually bought and moved into my home during the pandemic, so I was able to set up my home office knowing that I would be spending a lot more time in it than I probably would have otherwise! I’ve surrounded myself with most of my vintage poodle collection, as well as plenty of art prints and paintings I’ve created over the years. Probably my favorite thing in my office is a vintage 1960’s student drafting table that I picked up from FB Marketplace which I promptly painted pink, and now use as my painting and crafting table! 

A collection of vintage poodles and other fun kitchery.

What is one piece of work that you are especially proud of and why?

Actually, probably the spring garden print I created for the Lars shop! I love all the fun garden critters hiding within the flowers and foliage. I was actually inspired by my own garden for this print, which I made during the height of my tulip garden blooming, so it also feels a bit personal. This was actually my first year of being a homeowner, and subsequently, my first foray into gardening in a yard of my own. It was so exciting to see all the tulips pop up from the bulbs we planted in the Fall. I think the garden print captures that feeling of magic and excitement of seeing things begin to blossom in early Spring. 

Where do you find inspiration for new creations? 

I absolutely feel most inspired after a day of thrifting and antiquing. I always have my phone out taking pictures of the weirdest & kitschiest items I can find, as well as any amazing vintage color palettes, patterns, and typography. 

What artists and creatives do you look up to, both historical and present?

Historically, I look up to painters and textile print artists, often from the 50’s and 60’s. Artists like Tammis Keefe, Paule Marrot, and Vera Neumann to name just a few! Present day, I absolutely love the work of Emily Isabella, one of the artists in the Lars Shop! Her work is just absolutely splendid. I actually feel a bit honored to be sharing the same digital air-space as her in the shop! 

Louise sits at a desk painting a pink pretzel.

What books, movies, shows, or music are making you excited these days?

I just finished bingeing the last season of Shrill and I am pretty devastated it’s over. While I work on illustrations and client work, my go-to background noise is Married At First Sight. I’m also gearing up for the next season of the Bachelorette. Me and my friends always get together and do a fantasy league (of which I am currently the reigning champion). It’s the perfect excuse to get together, drink wine and eat more cheeses than anyone ever should in one sitting! Much needed after a year of quarantine. 

What is the most challenging part of your work? How have you, or how do you, overcome those challenges?

For me, the biggest challenges I face are finding the motivation to create new work and also imposter syndrome. I feel like those two feed into each other and create a cycle of self doubt. But when I find a moment of inspiration and I sit down and just make something that I love, I look back on those negative thoughts and I’m like “what were you thinking?! You’re amazing!”. It’s definitely a cycle of major highs and lows! 

A print of Louise Pretzel's Grasshopper leaning against a light blue wall with wooden rainbow and tree toys in front of it.

Do you have a secret talent? What is one skill that you are working on?

My secret talent is that I can yodel (poorly). But I always thought it would be cool if I could harness that skill (anyone know any professional yodel instructors out there? lol). As for skills I am working on, I only recently started illustrating more on my iPad, so I love learning new tips and tricks and experimenting with new brushes.

Is there anything more you would like to “become?” 

In terms of my illustration career, I don’t know what will come next! It’s actually only been about a year since I started doing my own illustration work as a daily practice and “putting myself out there” which essentially all began at the beginning of quarantine, so in that regard I feel like my journey as an artist is only just beginning, which is exciting! Outside of illustration, I have grand ideas of being able to someday move to a more rural area where I can have some chickens. 

Shot of Louise sitting at her desk from behind. The image is symmetrically composed and a corkboard with colorful notes and drawings hangs against the wall.

What is your long-term goal?

Aside from the chickens, I’d love to just keep illustrating and see where it takes me. Quite honestly, I have little to no expectations that this will bring me any great success. What is most important to me is that I keep the passion and joy of creating, always. If I can continue that, then I will consider myself wonderfully successful! 

What advice would you give to someone who wants to self-teach a new hobby or skill?

Just do it! The hardest part (at least for myself) is getting that initial spark or motivation to simply begin, so I understand how it feels to be nervous about starting something new. I think the greatest advice would be to just begin and then keep moving forward, even if you think it’s terrible during the beginning, I think you often are surprised at the final result. 

A print of Louise Pretzel's Pull Duck Toy against a gold background. Pastel wooden block toys are arranged in front.

More to Love

If you loved reading about Louise Pretzel’s trajectory as an illustrator and creative, you’ll love looking at her work! You can find her prints for the Lars Print Shop here, her website here, and don’t forget to follow her on Instagram @LouisePretzel.

In addition to Louise Pretzel’s interview, you can read about more of our lovely Lars Print Shop artists and illustrators we’ve interviewed! Here’s an interview with Julie Marabelle, Becca Stadtlander, Cat Seto, Libby VanderPloeg, Amelia Giller, Justina Blakeney, Rachel Kiser Smith, and more!

Stay tuned for more Becoming interviews, coming soon. 

Becoming: Rachel Kiser Smith from the Lars Print Shop

About Rachel Kiser Smith

Rachel Kiser Smith is a visual artist residing in Florida. The layered textures and simple lines of her artwork are a playful pursuit of beauty and joy.

You can find Rachel’s work in our print shop here and on her instagram @rachelkisersmith. Without any more delay, meet Rachel!

 

What did you dream of becoming when you were younger?

I remember a home video of my dad asking me what I wanted to be when I grew up. My answer was, “a mommy!” I honestly still don’t have many ambitions beyond being a great mother but I’ve leaned into making art more and more over the years. It’s the slow process of discovering and honoring what brings me joy.

A styled shot of Rachel Smith's Daffodil I print in progress with paint pots and papers around it.

What sparked your interest in painting?

When I got accepted into the art education program in college, I figured out that I could sign up for junior and senior level art classes. So early on I was shirking my education courses and taking figure drawing and oil painting. I took a materials class where we made our own paint by slowly mixing oil into ground up minerals. We made gesso and boards to paint on. I loved the process of getting into the materials and trying new things.

What did you study? Did you go to school specifically for what you do?

I didn’t stick with the art education program. But I didn’t ever commit to fine art either. After learning Spanish as a missionary in Argentina, I took a Hispanic American literature class and it felt like the perfect match. I ended up graduating with a degree in Spanish and visual arts. People always asked jokingly if I was going to teach art lessons in Spanish. I haven’t done that yet, but both skills are coming into play in unexpected ways in my life now.

Coneflower I print by Rachel Smith

What is your workspace like? Has it changed at all since the pandemic? 

We have a room off of our living area that the whole family can use for creative mess making. We brought in a big table and painted it white. Whenever it gets too stained, we just slap on another coat of paint. 

Since the pandemic, it’s become the homeschooling room as well. I’ve actually loved having the kids home, working on their own pursuits alongside me. But I needed somewhere I could leave my projects out, so we squeezed in another table. It just got its inaugural coat of white paint. 

Where do you find inspiration for your paintings? 

I rarely get ideas for a new painting unless I’m in the process of working on one. So I’ve learned to just start making stuff—sketching, painting color swatches, moving paper scraps around. It creates visual cues that I can follow, and ideas start to come. The work creates the inspiration.

Rachel paints at a table. In the background, some open shelves line the wall.

Now that you live in Florida, does its lifestyle and culture influence your work? 

Jacksonville is on the coast, but it doesn’t have the same vacation or retirement vibe of cities further south. It’s a pretty hardworking port city with immigrants from all over the world, as well as all the cultural complexities of the South. And it has a different kind of beauty than the Pacific Northwest, where I grew up. Living here is teaching me to see differently, which is always helpful in art.

What is your favorite part of painting (i.e. conceptualizing, actually putting the brush to canvas, finalizing, etc.)?

Mid-process, most of my paintings feel like they’re not going to work out. But after some struggle, there’s often a moment when everything comes together. It’s a feeling of finding something I didn’t know I was looking for, and it keeps the process endlessly interesting.

How would you describe your artistic style? What makes it distinctive? 

Layered, textured, a lot of attention to color and negative space. I hope it comes across as being a bit playful and still a bit sophisticated.

Rachel Smith works on a project. In the background, her daughter draws at a table.

What is a typical day like for you? 

I’ve found that anything important but not urgent has to happen before 11:30 a.m. or it doesn’t happen at all. For me right now that’s a morning routine that fills me up emotionally, physically, and spiritually; reading great books aloud to my kids; doing some math with them; and spending at least 10 minutes on a personal creative project (it adds up, I swear!).  Afternoons are more flexible—errands, appointments, caring for my home, and making art.

Coneflower ii print by Rachel Smith

What is a piece of advice that you have carried with you? 

“Use more paint.” A professor once told me that during a critique. It reminds me to not be afraid—of the materials, of waste, of messing up something I’ve already made. And it’s a bit of a metaphor for living an abundant life.

What advice would you give to someone who dreams of pursuing a career in a creative field?

Take opportunities that light a spark within you, even if you don’t know where they’ll lead. Ignore all others. 

Rachel shows an open view of her sketchbook with painted and collaged shapes, as well as pencil-drawn marks.

What artists and creatives do you look up to, both historically and present? 

I’m drawn to artists whose work has shifted over time and has a bit of playfulness to it. Alexander Calder’s scrappy circus and his giant mobiles. Matisse’s early cubist paintings and his simple line drawings and cutouts. The conceptual art of Mary Blair and the creation of the Small World ride fascinate me. Kaya Doi is my current contemporary artist obsession.

What has been inspiring you lately? 

Flowers! I’ve been foraging, arranging, and trying to grow my own flowers. So fun to dabble in something new. I’ve also been looking at floral motifs in folk art and vintage appliqué quilts lately.

Poppy I print by Rachel Smith

How has COVID 19 affected your work and aspirations? Are there additional personal or professional interests you’d like to explore?

At the start of the pandemic, a children’s book publishing house that I love (Enchanted Lion) ran a kickstarter campaign to keep their lights on. It hit me hard that it might not always be as easy as it’s been to make and share art. That motivated me to get working consistently on a project I’ve had on my mind for a long time, a bilingual picture book in Spanish and English. It’s a full circle moment with my college majors.

Is there anything more you would like to “become?”

I’d like to finish my book and become a published author/illustrator! And I hope to be someone who accepts others as they are while helping them see and reach their potential, and to be that same advocate for myself. 

Daffodil II print by Rachel Smith

Find More:

For more inspiration check out more Becoming interviews on the blog.

 

Becoming: Interviewing Actor and Artist Tricia Paoluccio

Meet Pressed Flower Artist Tricia Paoluccio

Tricia Paoluccio grew up on an almond farm in Modesto, California where she learned the art of flower pressing as a child. After moving to New York City to pursue her acting career, Tricia made unique one of a kind cards and botanical collages on handmade paper, selling the orginals in boutiques and on the street.

Tricia continued honing her skills and making art even after she became a professional actor, working full time on Broadway, on television, and in film. Tricia has been commissioned by luminaries in the fashion, publishing and music industries to create botanical designs, and has been doing original art commissions for many interior designers around the country. Her first gallery, featuring fine art prints, a wall mural and a botanically wrapped Steinway Grand Piano at the High Line Nine in Chelsea, NYC was extended three times due to its popularity.

Taylor Swift in her 2021 Floral Folklore Grammys dress, standing on a red carpet and looking at the camera.

While in quarantine during the pandemic, Tricia began teaching Zoom classes on the art of pressing flowers and is thrilled her classes seem to attract such interest from people around the world. Her goal is to elevate this art form, which has been around for centuries, and to celebrate the resilience and beauty of wildflowers.

Here’s our interview of Tricia Paoluccio!

What did you dream of becoming when you were younger?

As a kid I used to say, “I want to grow up to be an archeologist, anthropologist, marine biologist, actress, singer, dancer, baton twirler and a judge.” In reality I became a professional actor who has sung and dance on Broadway and I have played a judge on tv!

What sparked your interest in floral art? What attracted you to this field?

My mom gifted me a beautiful little book in the 1990s by a woman named Penny Black. She inspired me to make pressed flower cards by hand. I began pressing flowers with a press my brother made for me (I still have it to this day). I sold my cards to family members for the holidays. When I moved to NYC in the 90s to pursue an acting career I brought this flower press and handmade papers and used to make collages and cards and I sold them on the street and  to boutiques. It was a simpler time—so long before social media. I would walk into stores with a batch of handmade cards and ask if they wanted to sell them in their stores and sometimes they would say yes and that’s what I did to make a little extra money when I was first starting out.

You were born and raised in Modesto, California. How has your childhood influenced what you have become?

I would say being born and raised in Modesto is one of the most important influences of my life. I LOVE my hometown and I love my parent’s farm where I grew up. I didn’t grow up in the suburbs with sidewalks. I was a country kid. Our closest friends and neighbors were/are all farmers…living around these people shaped me so much – my love of working outdoors doing farm chores, raising chickens, gardening, canning, the sunshine and beautiful California weather and the abundance of natural beauty everywhere……so much of what I love comes from growing up in this environment around people who this was their way of life.

Tricia Paoluccio sits in front of pressed flowers in color coded trays in a light-filled room

What is one skill you wished you learned when you were younger?

I don’t know. Learning how to drive more confidently? I’ve never owned a car so I have never driven by myself.

What is a piece of advice that you have carried with you and who is it from?

Well I think I am very good at failure. It doesn’t get me down. My dad is an inventor and his entire career is made up of trying and building and making and experimenting and so often it doesn’t work out. But his job is in the getting there. And I think having a dad who is so incredibly resilient and optimistic –  literally nothing can get him down – was so so helpful to me as I embarked upon a career as an actor. I audition for things ALL THE TIME that I don’t get and I literally have amnesia about it. I think I could get every job I audition for and in reality I get just a few jobs a year! It’s the actors’ life to be in the business of auditioning, and you have to be very sensitive in your soul, but very thick skinned about rejection. And I possess that blend of sensitivity and toughness (I guess some people might call it TOTAL STUPIDITY),  but I kind of like it. I am able to fully invest and then fully let go on a day-to-day basis and I don’t dwell on jobs I don’t get. I totally forget them.

Is there a person who has been influential in your chosen career path?

My mother influenced me greatly in her love of beauty. I think she was one of the first people to fall in love with Martha Stewart and she had those big Entertaining books around our house. She would teach me how to set the table and pick the flowers and make things look pretty. She is funny bc she would say, “I don’t care how it tastes—I just need it to be pretty.” Now, truthfully, I need it to taste good too! But, her love of beauty definitely influenced me greatly.

What are three words to describe your style?

Wild and structured, yet free.

Yellow flowers glued to a white paper above blue, pink, and purple flowers on a wooden surface.

What is your educational background and how has it shaped or changed your current career?

I went to a liberal arts college and was a theatre major. I believe being an actor helps me in how I work as an artist. The most inspired performances are unselfconscious and totally free, but you can only do this if you have a craft. It’s very hard to do 8 shows a week without that. And so, as an artist, I feel like it’s the same.  I don’t struggle or plan. It is not effortful. When I work I am hardly even thinking—I let it be instinctive—and it flows pretty quickly. And that is blended with a strict attention to craft—how I press my flowers and how I glue. I feel like I should write a book called The Zen Art of Gluing. 🙂 So all great art I think is a blend of inspiration and letting go, in combination with having a disciplined craft.

What is one piece of work that you are especially proud of and why?

I think I am especially proud of the Steinway Piano I designed. It was such a wild request and so difficult to envision how would it turn out. And I’m just so pleased with the collaboration with Steinway and the company who printed and wrapped the piano. They’re total experts in their field. That piano brought a lot of joy to my gallery space. I was able to produce a music video on it with the incredible Chloe Flower and NYC dancers. I feel very proud of that music video we created with choreography by James Alonzo and I also felt proud to produce a music video like that safely during a pandemic.

A botanically wrapped Steinway piano in a white gallery with botanical flower prints on the walls

Where do you find inspiration for new creations?

I find inspiration after I’ve pressed all my flowers and they are fully dry and ready to go, when I organize them and lay them out. I’m inspired by the shape and color of the botanicals I press and all compositions stem from just looking and feeling these pieces directly. I really don’t have outside inspiration. I get it from looking at the ingredients I have.

What artists and creatives do you look up to, both historical and present?

Well, Penny Black—the British pressed flower artist who wrote that book 30 years ago—was really ahead of her time I think! I have tried to find her because I would love to thank her for inspiring me! But aside from visual artists my biggest artistic inspiration is Dolly Parton. She’s a national treasure and I love her and her music.

What books, movies, shows, or music is making you excited these days?

Oooooh I am way behind on my reading. I’m working my way through The Crown, I loved Schitt’s Creek, and I loved The Queen’s Gambit, but any free time I have for tv goes to Forensic Files. Sorry. And Shark Tank! I’m currently in a cabin in the remote foothills of CA though, so I don’t have a tv, but we play nightly Monopoly!

Tricia Paoluccio reaches into a tray of pink flowers next to a tray of yellow flowers.

What are some stereotypes of your job that you wish to break?

Ah. Well, I guess there is a world belief that if you are an artist you are bound to be poor—  the suffering artist stereotype. But I feel grateful I have made a living as an artist my whole adult life. And that’s through so many different ways. I also feel like some of my best work has come out of suffering or sad times, and I feel that artists are really lucky when they know how to do that. I know its so individual and every career path is different but I guess I believe—well, I’ve seen—so many actors and artists make their own way. Whether by writing their own films, or webseries, or creating their own things, I think its really wonderful to have a job where there’s always potential to be successful or potential to make money. Suffering becomes fuel for making great things.

Installation shot of large botanical floral prints in a gallery

How do you deal with negativity, stress, and/or anxiety?

I turn to my spiritual practice. I have a strong faith that all my good comes from God. Not a person or a job or a circumstance. No accidents.

Is there anything more you would like to “become?”

I would love to be a forensic scientist. Or at least play one on TV. I’d also love to do more work in the prisons. I volunteered for many years at a prison Chaplain in NYC and it was incredibly rewarding work. I really loved serving there.

Installation shot of large botanical floral prints and a botanical wrapped piano in a gallery

What do you hope to accomplish within the next 10 years?

I hope to create a new brand using my pressed flower designs in a variety of ways. I’ve been working on this goal very seriously for the past two years and am about to launch this new business with incredible partners. To be announced soon!

What is your workspace like? Has it changed at all since the beginning of the pandemic last year?

Ah, well, in NYC I don’t have a workspace. I have my dining room table and my floor. In California on my parent’s farm I turned the upstairs of their tank house into my art studio and I LOVE HAVING THIS SPACE. I also have a large empty room above the garage at their cabin which I use. I’m VERY messy. A total slob. I can clean it up to make it look stylish and cute but my reality is total mess. I don’t care, I like it. My dream space and my only requirement as an artist is having a space I don’t have to clean up or keep neat or put my supplies away.

How do your surroundings influence your work?

Well, I need space to spread out. In NYC I don’t have that which is why I like to spend time in California where I can really work. When I do work on projects in NYC I make my family eat on the ground on a picnic blanket so I can keep the table full of flowers!

Describe some habits that keep you motivated and productive.

I like to sing, or listen to music sometimes, but I’m actually very quiet. I can’t have a TV on or that kind of distraction. I like quiet. I love being alone.

What is a typical day like for you?

Oh my goodness that is so hard. In what city? At what time of the year? My days are totally different day to day depending on If I have an audition or if I’m working on art or just doing house chores or helping my kids!

Inside of a botanically wrapped piano

How has social media influenced your work?

This is interesting.  I created a web series which made fun of social media, specifically spoofing the world of mommy bloggers. I created a character named Addie who had four boys living in NYC. She forces her husband to quit his job to devote himself full time to their family culture and the making of her blog. She has 17 followers, but delusions of grandeur—that she is going to inspire other mamas with her parenting advice and crafts…. I thought it was so funny. It got optioned and we were pitching it to to networks, but then the pandemic hit and I’ve kind of let it go. But each episode was Addie and Jared’s attempt at making a little video for their 17 followers and the episode shows what really happened…the reality vs. the illusion. It’s at www.mommybloggerseries.com if anyone is interested? I would have loved to have done an episode with you where Addie is desperate to do a collaboration with you! Because you do everything in an organic way and offer so much substance and my character does not, but has delusions that she is a guru. I think its really funny and I’m so proud of it.

I have so many different social media accounts: my personal one, and one for the webseries (@mommybloggerseries) and then my art one (@modernpressedflower). I feel like in order to be sane I have to keep all these world separate. My art account is purely flower/art focused and it doesn’t feel personal to me. It has been so helpful when I want to share information about something I’m making and selling, or like when I teach a class…now people can know about it! Growing your social media account as an artist is huge and so even though I knocked it and made fun of that in my webseries, I’m grateful for the power of it to help me sell my art and be discovered!

Yellow, purple, and red pressed flowers on a white background

What advice would you give to someone who wants to self-teach a new hobby or skill?

Practice.  A lot. Don’t worry about if its good. Just make art. Keep doing it. A lot. Every day make something. Don’t judge it. Learn Patience. Fall in love with having a craft.

How do you make social connections in the creative realm?

I love following artists and makers and chefs and florists and people who make unique and beautiful things. I love to promote others and have been so grateful for the support I’ve felt as an artist on Instagram.

Tricia Paoluccio picks up a pressed flower from color coded trays in a light-filled room

Do you have a secret talent? What is one skill that you are working on?

I do have a secret talent. I can channel Dolly Parton. And during the pandemic we got a grant to write a two person show. We wrote a fantasy friendship between a fan and Dolly Parton, and I get to play Dolly and sing all her music. And the show was sent to Dolly and she loves it! In fact, just recently Dolly signed the official contract which gave us the world-wide rights to her music, and to do this show with her likeness! And she approves of me! This is the craziest thing, to imagine she saw me and heard me channel her and she loved it. It’s truly the biggest accomplishment of my life. It’s a lifelong dream come true and all of this is to be announced for real at some point, but if you are at all interested in following this journey, then follow my personal IG (@triciapaoluccio) bc thats where I will announce news of this show. We think there will be a national tour before coming off Broadway in NYC and then going to the UK. It is crazy to be typing this. Honestly my cup runneth over a million times over because this is a dream come true.

Nobody likes to talk about it, but can you share any advice regarding financing your business?

During the pandemic I decided to start teaching classes on how to press flowers over zoom. I’ve been so grateful for how this income has enabled me to run my business and pay all the different people who help me run my business. I think that I underestimated how much it actually costs to make art because I would just focus on materials—how much did it cost me to make—but I wouldn’t take into account my time, and all the things you need to pay for when you create a business: a website, graphic designers, photographers, printers, copyright licenses, lawyers, supplies, technology etc etc. It pains me to see artists on instagram charge so little for their work.  I know how much time it takes to press flowers well. I wish that we could all meet somehow on zoom and talk about how hard it is to make this art, how time consuming it is and agree collectively to not undersell ourselves!!! I understand the risk in charging more than the next person. But I think we all need to be realistic about what it actually entails and lift each other more so that makers can actually make a living.

Color-coded trays of pink, orange, and blue pressed flowers

Make sure you check out Tricia Paoluccio’s website, and keep an eye out for her floral pressing workshops!

If you’d like to read more Becoming interviews about floral artists, you can find Ann Wood’s, Julie Marabelle’s, Lynne Millar’s, and Tiffanie Turner’s by clicking on their names here, or find the whole Becoming set of interviews here!

Becoming: Lynne Millar from the Lars Print Shop

Our Interview with Lynne Millar

What did you dream of becoming when you were younger versus what you do now?

When I was little I wanted to be a CIA agent. I really liked the idea of wearing sunglasses all the time and taking on different names. (The one I really hoped I’d get assigned was “Samantha”) Now that I’ve watched several seasons of Homeland I’m realizing that career would have been a terrible fit for me.

What sparked your interest in painting? How and when did you decide that you wanted to become a painter?

When I wasn’t forcing my little sisters to call me Samantha, I spent a lot of time drawing, painting and writing stories. My family lived right outside of Washington DC and my parents were so great about taking us to museums all the time, so art has always felt like an important part of the world to me. In college I was intimidated by the idea of being graded on my art – it felt too personal and scary to me – so I majored in Art History instead. It was a great choice. I loved every one of my classes, and having those years to marinate the stories of artists has given me so much to draw from and mainly, aspire to.

Is there a person who has been influential in your chosen career path? Did you ever feel pressured to pursue a certain profession?

When I graduated from college I really thought I was going to pursue a graduate degree in Art History and hoped to eventually work in a museum. I ended up getting married and while my husband was in medical school I had a variety of random jobs – I worked at the medical school in a couple of different labs, I worked as a Montessori preschool teacher, and I took a lot of night classes at San Francisco’s Academy of Art.

I wanted to paint, more than anything, but lacked the confidence to take my dreams seriously, and also lacked an understanding of how I could build a sustainable career in art. When my husband started his residency we started our family, which kept me very busy. Years later, our youngest started preschool and I finally had reliable blocks of uninterrupted time that I committed to spend painting. I studied and practiced and threw myself into whatever classes I could take, and through instagram I met and became close with a group of artists who are a constant source of inspiration and mentorship.

Social media has really made it an option to be an artist on one’s own terms – you can define if you want to sell directly over instagram, work with print shops, develop gallery relationships, focus on shows… there is so much blessed flexibility in how you can shape and focus a painting career. And it’s been so invaluable to have good friends who are doing all of those things in different ways.

Now that you live in Central California, does its lifestyle and culture influence your work?

Having grown up on the east coast, settling in the Central Valley of California was a big aesthetic change for me. It took me some time to open my eyes to the beauty in the flatter, arid landscape. But now I’m happy to report that I love the big skies, the clusters of trees, and the beautiful gentle roll of the golden hills. Our town happens to have lots of fields where ranchers graze their sheep and cows, which I love seeing as we drive around doing our errands.

What is your favorite part of painting (i.e. conceptualizing, actually putting the brush to canvas, finalizing, etc.)?

Did you ever read Emily of New Moon, by LM Montgomery? The heroine Emily is a writer and when she’s hit by inspiration, she experiences something she calls “the flash,” where she is overcome by a wild desire to capture the essence of whatever powerful thing she’s just experienced. I think this is my favorite part of painting and I’ve learned that it’s something that you can cultivate in yourself: developing a sensitivity to the things in the world that you want to consume and express – or even just notice. My “flash” moments are never as dramatic as Emily’s but they make my life richer and happier, and it’s something that I’m actively working on all the time – cultivating a keen sense of notice and delight. This is the first and favorite part of being an artist for me.

What is a typical day like for you?

Since March, like many of you, 3 of my 4 kids have been home with me every day. Every Single Day. ALL THE TIME. I feel really lucky that they are a bit older (10, 13, 17 – my oldest is 19 and he’s flown the coop) so they have been able to be fairly independent in managing their distance learning and I’m theoretically able to work in my studio. (Bless you who are doing distance learning with younger kids!!) That being said, it’s a challenge to get into creative flow with the stopping and starting that’s part of living in a pandemic household – I find that I need to do many a surprise-check on my 10 year old to make sure she’s doing her school and not just playing minecraft. Before the pandemic, I had a pretty consistent routine of sending the kids off to school in the morning then painting from at least 10-2, but now it’s definitely a lot more loosey-goosey. I feel that I should be honest and acknowledge that some days, my studio has been a bit of a refuge. I’m so grateful that I have a space where I can go hide!

What is your workspace like? Has it changed since the pandemic?

We have a loft upstairs that I use for my studio. It has good light and room for me to store my unwieldy collection of art supplies and books and my easels and still life set-ups but to my point in the previous question, there is also a half-wall that divides the studio from the rest of the upstairs hallway. On the other side of the wall (the one inside my studio), we have tucked a sofa and I’ve discovered that if I lie down completely flat on the sofa, NO ONE CAN SEE ME!

What is a piece of advice that you have carried with you?

I think the best art advice I’ve ever gotten was from my friend Vince: he’s a lot older than me and when I first started painting seriously, he told me that you learn way more from your crappy paintings than from the ones that work out. That’s been a lodestone for me for sure, because I make a lot of crappy paintings! And I think the advice has broader application as well – recognizing and fixing mistakes of all kinds is the work of a life.

What advice would you give to someone who dreams of pursuing a career in a creative field?

My advice is to be flexible and proactive. And to not be shy about reaching out to other creatives to ask questions and create networks. Also, be prepared to work really really hard! When you are your own boss, nothing happens unless you just put your head down and do it/figure it out. Think of setbacks as opportunities to learn new skills and evaluate what skill you might need to learn to avoid that same setback in the future.

I have found that having a career in a creative field requires a very random collection of skills outside the actual skill of creating the art/product: navigating social media, building websites, understanding taxes, learning photo editing software, packaging & shipping, marketing, etc. Try and approach it all with glee, appreciating the many surprising things you find yourself capable of doing!

What artists and creatives do you look up to? Both historical and present.

Oh so many! Helene Schjerfbeck, Kathleen Speranza, Louise Balaam, Brian Kershisnik, Leslie Duke, Julia Hawkins, Maria Oakey Dewing, Cecilia Beaux, John Singer Sargent, Manet. Casically I admire all artists who strive to find their voice.

What has been inspiring you lately?

This summer and early fall was so hot and a bit miserable with the persistent smoke from the terribly tragic wildfires. With the cooler weather, the roses in our valley have begun to take off again. I must say that I find it to be incredibly poignant to see what nature offers up to us even as we are all in the midst of so much turmoil. It’s such a lesson in patience and hope.

How has COVID 19 affected your work and aspirations? Are there additional personal or professional interests you’d like to explore?

I know I’m not alone in feeling a bit like some tape has been ripped off of my soul in 2020. This year has been a time of profound re-orientation for me. I’ve realized how much suffering there is in the world that I’d had the dubious privilege of generally not paying attention to. I’ve been training to teach art classes at the correctional center in our county. During that training, I’ve plunging into the topic of restorative justice and the positive role that the arts can play in the healing of individuals. Doing that has opened a whole new realm of thinking for me. I have so much to learn and I’m really looking forward to this new experience.

Is there anything more you would like to “become?

I hope to come out of this year having become softer, more empathetic, more perceptive.

Where to find Lynne Millar

Shop her art collection in our Print Shop here.

Follow her on instagram!

 

This post is a part of our Becoming Series, where we interview creative women we admire. Click here to explore more interviews from this series!

Becoming: Interviewing Romy-Krystal Cutler from Sew Like Romy

Meet Romy-Krystal Cutler from Sew Like Romy

Romy is a full-time mum to two little ones and an energetic, colorful maker. Unafraid to defy mainstream fashion trends, Romy picked up her needle and thread and became a self-taught sewer five years ago. You can find all of her whimsically wonderful sewing creations at Sew Like Romy and @sewlike on Instagram. Deviating from her professional career in the marketing field, Romy, with the support of her husband and best friend, Jason, and her Aussie spunk, found her passion in the creative community But, Romy’s journey isn’t over just yet as she is still on her journey to becoming her best self, seizing every opportunity and dream that come her way!

Here is our interview with Romy!

What did you dream of becoming when you were younger versus what you do now? 

I had two main dreams growing up: to be a track athlete, specifically the fastest female in the 400m, and to be a health professional working with kids with mental disabilities. Now, I’m a stay at home mum who creates pretty clothes in her spare time. 

What do you consider yourself? Example: Creative, artist, fashion designer, maker, marketing professional, business person, etc. 

First and foremost, I consider myself a mum but with a smidge of sewing hobbyist on the side. Honestly, though, I feel like being a mum includes all of the above titles and then some, but the pay isn’t great. Just kidding! In a creative sense though, I do consider myself a part-time “maker” in the sewing community.

What sparked your interest in sewing? Is there a person who has been influential in your chosen career path? Did you ever feel pressured to pursue a certain profession?

My interest was sparked by necessity. Fashion trends dictate what’s in store, and 5 years ago, that wasn’t what I wanted to wear. After having a good, long complaint to my husband, Jason, he just looked at me and asked “Don’t you know how to sew?” Answer: I’d made a little purse in school once, and that was it. But, those words definitely planted the seed, and then, that Christmas I got my first sewing machine. I guess you could say the rest was history, but really it was filled with tears, tantrums, and lots of googling. So, that being said, my husband was the most influential and still is.

In terms of pressure, gosh, I feel it all the time. While what I do right now is my passion, it doesn’t pay the bills, and my family often asks when I’ll return back to work in my professional field – marketing (before I became a stay-at-home mum.) For now, that answer is unknown, but I’m super thankful to have a husband who provides both financial and motivational backing for all my sewing endeavors.

What initially attracted you to the marketing field, and why did you decide to switch trajectories? Are there aspects of the field that you incorporate into what you currently do?

I actually just fell into the world of marketing straight out of college. I specifically dealt with data and how we could connect the right people to the right product. As an avid shopper, that appealed to me at the time. I hated getting spammed on the internet to buy this and that, so I saw this as being helpful to consumers. Funnily enough, the marketing field and the social media game are pretty similar, but rather than marketing a product you’re marketing yourself. When I switched trajectories it wasn’t conscious. I was just home with my firstborn, and my mind was bored. You can only watch Little Baby Bum so many times before you start to go crazy. So, I started sewing again as an act of self-care. I haven’t combined the two fields yet, but maybe in the future! You never know! 

You were born and raised in Australia. How has your childhood influenced what you have become?

I was indeed. My childhood has definitely influenced me. Sydney is super multicultural. I grew up surrounded by multiple nationalities and cultures within the city. Being exposed to so many different lifestyles, cultures and influences helped me appreciate and embrace differences and contradictions. I think this has manifested itself in my eclectic approach to creativity and fashion and has helped me remove unnecessary boundaries. Then, when you combine all that with the laid-back Aussie approach to life adjacent to the hustle and bustle of Sydney City, you get my full personality of hyper-organized mixed with friendly chill. In other words, my childhood turned me into a super-colourful, accepting, loving, overly-friendly workaholic who likes to sleep in too much.

Did you have anyone along the way that was instrumental in the trajectory of your life?

Oh gosh, all my family really. There’s always been one or all of my family members that have been there, but if we’re talking about who’s got the most points on their tally that would have to be Jason, my husband. The man, the myth, the legend. He’s always there and will always be there. In fact, my Instagram and blog mainly exist because of his persistent belief in my talent! 

What is your workspace like? Has it changed at all since the pandemic? 

Yes! My workspace up until recently was the kitchen table. I would unpack my sewing machine and notions when I would put the kids to sleep and then pack it up when I was done. I did that almost every night. Then, we moved during the pandemic! Now, I have the cold storage behind our garage as my “sewing dungeon.” It’s called the dungeon because there are no windows; hence no natural light, but to me, it’s everything! One side is filled with all my makes to take pictures of, and I have a couple of tables with my machines and cutting mat. The other side is my notions and random boxes of junk, and then. behind my sewing chair is a newly built industrial five-shelf storage rack to accommodate my extensive fabric buying addiction.

Where do you find inspiration for new sewing creations? 

I draw inspiration from everywhere. I love observing my surroundings and what’s happening online. So, usually, it’s a combination of the Pinterest board in my brain that I’ve added to mentally for as long as I can remember, and then, combining that with what I see on actual Pinterest, in the online sewing community, and from my family and friends. Also, sometimes I just see something on TV or randomly on the internet and get so fixated on creating it that I can’t move on with other projects until I get it out of my system.

Now that you live in Provo, UT, does its lifestyle and culture influence your work? 

Most definitely. The community here is filled with talented creatives and you just can’t escape the creativity especially in the Harmony Provo community, created by Laura and Rachel Harmon. It’s a safe place for anyone and everyone that loves making! This community has encouraged me from the beginning – even before I moved down here. They gave me something I can never thank them for enough: Confidence. Confidence to be me and to make what speaks to me. I mean, truth be told, one of the reasons we were comfortable moving to Provo was because of the prospect of being closer to Harmony and the maker community down here. 

Here is a photo Romy took in front of our Lars Mural located near out studio in Provo, Utah!

What is a typical day like for you? 

Our days have definitely changed due to the pandemic. So, this is what it looks like now: I get woken up by my husband. He’s working from home, so he’s with the kids when they first wake up and I get a little extra sleep. I’m then with the kids when he starts work. We do different activities and watch TV shows or a movie until it’s lunchtime. After lunchtime, it’s nap time for the kids. During this time, I do a little cleaning up and then start or resume a sewing project. I do this until they wake up (usually anywhere from 1.5 – 2 hours).

We then play with playdoh or kinetic sand until Jason finishes work. Once Jason’s off work, we spend time as a family. What we do specifically changes every day. It’s then dinner time, and shortly after it’s bedtime for the kids. Once the kids go down, I sew for another 2 hours and then spend time with Jason until it’s time for our bedtime routine. The day usually ends with us looking at pictures we’ve taken of our kids throughout the day…or me talking to Jason about my sewing extensively while he gives me encouraging, but confused nods mixed with the occasional “riiight” and “okay.” 

What is a piece of advice that you have carried with you and who is it from? 

When my husband and I were dating there was this slogan at my university that I really identified with: No limits. I told him about it, and it became our thing. Over the course of the 11 years we’ve been together, we’ve reminded each other of it on multiple occasions. Still to this day, we believe that there are no limits to what you can achieve. 

What advice would you give to someone who is considering making a career transition, as you did?

I’d say get out of your head and follow your passion. I’ve always been a critical thinker, and I have the tendency to think of every possible scenario or combination before I even try something. However, my husband is the opposite, he goes for it. He’s more spontaneous than me, which has helped me unlock that inside of me, and I’ve never looked back. 

How has social media influenced your work?

Social media has influenced my work by introducing me to the online sewing community that I didn’t previously know existed. It connected me with indie pattern designers, amazing fabric stores, and incredible creative accounts. These all influence my work and ideas. However, there are times when I need to pull myself back out. Like any community, there are trends, and if you’re not careful, you can start to lose a sense of yourself in there. 

What artists and creatives do you look up to? Both historical and present.

Historically, I grew up loving Frida Kahlo. Learning about her in Spanish school was always a highlight (in Australia, if you’re a native speaker, you can go to school on Saturdays that are in your language.) She was unapologetically herself, and I loved that and still do!

Present-day, the artists I’m influenced by are Monika Forsberg, Ellie Whittaker, Ellen McKenna, and Jennifer Bouron. The Instagram handles of some of the creatives in the sewing community that inspire me at the moment are @emilynatsai, @burieddiamond, @caramiyamaui, @thecornyrainbow, @sewitcurly, @theravelout, @therealalexisbailey, @inannaapparel.

I could keep going and going, but it’s constantly changing, and I’m always finding new and amazing sewists out there. But, without trying to be corny, one of the first accounts I started following, and one of the most in-line with my style, is The House That Lars Built, so being featured is kind of a dream-come-true.

Here Romy poses in front of another fun Provo mural. Check out our full mural guide here!

What has been inspiring you lately? 

Funnily enough, my inspiration lately has been coming from all the ideas I’ve shelved in the past. In the pandemic life we all live now, the isolation and social distancing have allowed me to pick up things I’ve always wanted to do but have been a little scared to approach. At times, I have held myself back for fear of wasting time on things that may not be as “on-trend” or a little too experimental. So, in a weird way, it’s actually been super freeing, creatively, to be left alone to ferment in my own ideas and see what funky things I come up with. 

How has COVID 19 affected your work and aspirations? Are there additional personal or professional interests you’d like to explore?

COVID 19 hasn’t really affected my work because I’m a homebody that loves to sew. Staying home is what I do, it’s kind of my jam. However, the extrovert tendencies in me miss socialising, seeing people dressed up when they go out, all of which usually influence my creativity. In the future, personally, I’d love to collaborate more. It’s one of my favourite things to do. I love the mixes that can come from different points of view. That’s where the magic happens. Professionally, I’m not sure yet; I just love doing what I love and letting opportunities present themselves, and giving 110% of myself to whatever comes my way. It seems to be working, so why fix what isn’t broken? 

What advice would you give to someone who wants to self-teach a new hobby or skill?

Keep going and keep balanced. You are going to encounter so many obstacles as you learn. Sometimes it will feel easy and you feel like you are getting into a groove, and other times, you’ll feel like you can’t connect the dots and even the simple things are difficult again, and that’s ok! I’m still learning and have so much to learn. I have my fair share of meltdowns mixed with triumphs. It’s important to keep pushing forward when it’s difficult, but it’s just as important to know when you need a break and need to step away. 

Is there anything more you would like to “become?”

In general, I want to become the best version of myself. There are a few paths that I can go down and it changes every day depending on which one I want to take or if I want to go down a couple at a time. I’d love to level up with my sewing skills and learn pattern drafting. I’d also like to go back to university and get a master’s degree in data analytics or possibly specialise in the health sector (I graduated in health sciences/human resources and industrial relations). Whatever I choose, I know now that I don’t have to choose one or stick to just one. Life is meant to be lived, and you should never be too focused on the one goal because you may just miss out on other fun projects and opportunities along the way! 

Where to Find Romy

Instagram 

Her Blog: Sew Like Romy

Check out the quilt coat Romy sewed for me here!

If Romy has inspired you to try out sewing…

Check out our sewing patterns here! And our guide to fabric we love here, to get started on a fun new project!

This post is a part of our Becoming Series, where we interview creative women we admire. Click here to explore more interviews from this series!

Our new holiday card with Mixbook

Holiday Cards with Mixbook

First up, I designed our holiday spirited holiday card for all you floral lovers out there who want that perfect mix of glam (gold leaf!) and traditional Christmas (that deep green!). Personally, I love selecting a color scheme that’s a bit off from traditional green and red (think lots of pinks and golds and such!), but this year I’m feeling particularly traditional and glitzy.

COVID greetings

One of the best features of Mixbook is the ability to change up and customize any part of the card. The default phrase to our card currently says, “Merry Everything” but honestly, it felt a little too chipper for how things have gone this year. Ha! I wanted something a little more reflective of the year in general and you know what, besides some notable victories (we bought a house! We’re having a baby! And some other big ones 😉 SO, we did some brainstorming for some new phrases. Here are some of our favorites:

  • (COVID) 19 Cheers for 2020!
  • “Coronavirus is coming to town”
  • COVID knows when you are sleeping, COVID knows when you’re awake…”
  • “So wear a mask for goodness sake”
  • “Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, coughing all the way”
  • Corona Cheer!
  • The best gift this year is to maintain 6 feet distance!

Or, of course, there’s just being honest, right? Here were a couple I considered:

  • Could it get any worse?
  • And I went with “What a terrible year!” because that’s how I feel (mostly!)

I’d love to hear yours! 

Jepsen Family Photos 2020

While I wanted to take a more traditional route to our card, I wanted to spruce it up with lots of colors in our photos. I had some beautiful sweaters in mind for Jasper’s outfit and it kind of went from there. There are so many adorable fair isle sweaters for boys right now and couldn’t decide! Turns out, most didn’t arrive in time for our shoot so we went with the white button down sweater, but we also considered these ones:

Which one would you have gone with? (from left to right)

  1. Navy Blue Fair Isle
  2. Red and white checkers
  3. White fair isle

And I was dead set on wearing this red dress from a collaboration between Pencil and Paper and Dondolo. It actually fits around my 8 month pregnant body and the smocking is delicious. Then Paul added his own yellow touch and we were good to go!

Because I planned everything around our card collection, it was MUCH easier to go from there. Here’s what I started with. And clearly, I didn’t get too far with Paul’s ensemble.

Jasper’s a bit of a performer and this photo session was no exception. I mean, look how it went. He LOVES a family sandwich:

But the rest of the shoot was more like this:

Lars for Mixbook travel album and Year in Review

Along with our Holiday card, we have our exclusive travel album and year in review books with Mixbook. I made one for 2018 and one for our trip to Denmark last year, and decided to continue the tradition with a year in review book for 2019 (I’ll be getting to 2020 when it’s over…and probably a number of months tacked onto that!). It’s PACKED with photos of my son, because yes, I think he’s the cutest and smartest and funniest kid in the world.

Here’s a page from some of the places we had visited in 2019.

Other team members made some of our books too.

Jane, our photographer, made a Mixbook from her trip to NYC and Washington, DC last year. She used our Year in Review book and turned it into a travel book.

And lastly, my cousin, Clare, who lives with us, made a travel book for her senior trip to Italy with her mom and aunt. It’s always so interesting to see how people make each Mixbook their own and give me so many ideas on how to do it myself!

Mixbook Discount

Lars readers get 50% off your book and card order with code: HLARS50, expires 12/21/2020, 50% off book and card order.

Would love to see your choices! Tag us with#houselarsbuiltxmixbook so we can see them! 

Head on over to Mixbook for your 50% off!

This post is sponsored by Mixbook. We love our sponsors who allow us to make original content for you! 

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Virtual Workshop + Giveaway With Hello!Lucky

Since our big move, all of our schedules have been thrown off a little. It doesn’t help that I am still losing everything (thanks pregnancy brain!) Jasper has been the most affected by the move though. It’s a big change for my little boo! It has helped to get back our sense of normalcy by taking any chance I can to spend some time with Jasper, doing something he is familiar with.

One of Jasper’s favorite activities is reading and, of course, that makes me so happy. Recently I shared “What Children’s Books I am Reading to my Toddler Right Now” and I am happy to share our latest find with you today! It is the perfect addition to your kid’s book collection just in time for Thanksgiving.

My friends at Hello!Lucky – a women-owned and fun shop in San Francisco – offer the most amazing letterpress cards, stationery, and more recently, children’s books! I have read many of them with Jasper and he LOVES them.

With their bold style and side-splitting humor, Hello!Lucky is excited to introduce their latest picture book that’s all about gratitude. Thanks A Ton! 

Thanks a Ton! Is a pun-derful picture book celebrating gratitude! Offering tons of ideas for how to say “thanks” when words just aren’t enough. Written and illustrated by Eunice and Sabrina Moyle from Hello!Lucky. Eunice and Sabrina have created over 15 children’s books selling more than 1 million copies. Their books support children’s social and emotional development, and let them (and their parents) know that they are amazing exactly as they are. Their titles include My Mom is Magical! (my personal favorite ;), a book celebrating moms,  Kindness Rules!, a book about kindness, Thanks a Ton!, a book about gratitude, and I Believe in You, a book about unconditional love. A full list of their amazing books can be found here.

And! Hello!Lucky will donate $5 for every copy of Thanks a Ton! purchased on raredevice.com to Love For Our Elders, a non-profit organization whose mission is to bring joy into the lives of the elderly and you guessed it, writing letters to them is one of those ways!

Enter to Win a Copy of Our Picture Hope Coloring Book + A Copy of Thanks A Ton!

We are jumping on board with Hello!Lucky in the name of gratitude and hope this season. So, we are excited to announce we now offer hardcopies of our Picture Hope Coloring Book!

Picture Hope: The Social Distancing Coloring Book, is a compilation of coloring pages designed by 64 of your favorite artists from around the world. It is meant to lift spirits and calm anxious minds with its bold message of hope. Each artist has contributed a drawing of what hope means to them along with a few of their own words. The pages are designed for all skill levels and ages, kids and adults. It’s a perfect activity for staying at home and practicing mindfulness and meditation while filling in your hope through color. The profits of the book go to seasonal charities, which are announced here. Through downloads of Picture Hope, over $8000 has already donated!

The idea is that the artists provide the blank canvas and YOU add the hope through color. And you know what? It works! I can’t even tell you the goose bumps I got while I was working on it! COVID-19 has indeed changed so much of our routine, yet in the confusion and uncertainty we’ve also witnessed countless moments of compassion and the strength of the human spirit.

I’ve spent my career developing The House That Lars Built, whose mission is to encourage people to make things with their hands. We believe that the act of making has the power to heal and improve your well-being. The goal of this book is the same and it’s needed now more than ever. Coloring is a simple yet profound act that allows for meditation and mindfulness and this coloring book is even more profound because of the many voices of support behind it.

A new version of Picture Hope is available now!

Up until now, Picture Hope has only been available for download to be printed at home. We have been working hard (read: months!) to create this physical copy, so that you can order it totally ready to color! This version is also ideal to gift to others this season. Click here to order your hardcopy of Picture Hope!

This high-quality coloring book includes varying levels of intricacy keeping you inspired to color! There are plenty of beautiful motifs to choose from: including botanicals, flowers, animals, cities, people, decorative, quotes. We designed this book for every skill level and age to enjoy! Each page is it’s own unique art piece from one of the 64 contributing artists. 

For the next month, ALL proceeds from the Picture Hope Coloring Book go to the nonprofit Love For Our Elders. This comforting nonprofit fights loneliness with love in senior communities and has spread to over 70 countries, all 50 states, and hundreds of schools. Keep reading for more info about the impact of this nonprofit! 

How to Enter Our Giveaway

Enter to win your own copy of Picture Hope + Hello!Lucky’s best-selling latest picture book, Thanks A Ton!

To enter, head to our Instagram post here to let us know what you’re grateful for in the comments below, and join the virtual THANKS A TON launch event on November 14th. The winner will be announced live. Click here to RSVP for the virtual event!

Write Gratitude Letters With Us At Our Virtual Party With Hello!Lucky

I (Brittany!) will be hosting this event along with Eunice & Sabrina Moyle founders of Hello!Lucky, Jacob Cramer founder of Love For Our Elders, and Giselle Gyalzen owner of Rare Device.

Letters are especially wonderful during times when physical barriers are keeping us apart. A hand-written and a handmade card is a thoughtful, personal expression of care and kindness and can keep us connected to those we love, and to help everyone feel like they matter. During this event we want to share ways your family can help more people receive hand-written letters and cards during the Thanksgiving season.

Our virtual event will take place on Saturday November 14th at 11 am PST. During this event you will have access to these exclusive free printables created by Hello!Lucky and The House That Lars Built – including printable gratitude cards and a template for a fun DIY card! Download the free printables here and print them out to get ready for the event!

What will happen during the virtual event?

I will be leading a DIY craft tutorial that your whole family can recreate this Thanksgiving season. Plus I will share some of my top tips for holiday card making!

During this event you will also learn more about Love For Our Elders, the charity that proceeds from Picture Hope and Thanks a Ton! will be donated to. The founder of this nonprofit, Jacob Kramer, will be joining the event to share stories of the people your gratitude letters and donations can affect. He will also share tips on how your family can write to people who need it this season!

There will also be a live reading of Thanks a Ton! so this is a virtual event the entire family can log on for. RSVP here and make it a family activity.

At this time we will also announce the winner of our giveaway! (Details above.) 

RSVP here for a creative afternoon full of conversation and crafts on Saturday November 14th at 11 am PST.  All ages welcome! 

 

Becoming: Nadia Cates

Meet: Nadia Aguilar Cates  

Nadia is the Founder of Casa Palomí and Ella Rises and a proud mother of 6. Nadia’s passion for her home country has shaped her professional pursuits. With Casa Palomi and her culinary background, Nadia shares her love for Mexican cuisine (especially tamales!) through virtual cooking lessons. After relocating to Mexico for several years, she found a deep connection with her heritage, which has inspired her to empower Latina youth to connect with their roots through Ella Rises. In honor of Día de Los Meurtos, we are excited to have Nadia share how her rich culture has influenced who she has and continues to become. Because we all come from somewhere and somebody.

What do you consider yourself? Ex: designer, artisan, entrepreneur, activist, etc.

  1. There’s definitely an entrepreneurial spirit in me, and I also consider myself a creative. I love to take concepts and bring them to life. For example, Casa Palomí’s pan de muerto class – an amazing Mexican sweet bread – that I did last week. I’ve never done that before but it’s live now and a success with those who have taken it!

How has your childhood influenced what you have become?

My childhood has very much influenced who I am. I was born in Mexico and raised in Southern California. I became a U.S. citizen in grade school. For a long time, I carried shame around my story because people made fun of me and others with similar backgrounds.

I am no longer ashamed of where I come from, and I can honestly say that my story and heritage empower me. I’ve reclaimed a call to uplift and empower those with a similar story.

There’s a quote by Gloria Anzaldua about this that resonates with me. In her words, “I am from the land of the North and the land of the South. Indigenous blood runs through my veins. It calls me, and I honor it. What I once saw as disadvantages, clearly defines me, strengthens, and empowers me.”

What aspects of your Mexican culture have most inspired your work? 

Mexico has such a deep, rich, and consistent cultural heritage. I’m inspired by all of it, but especially the music, food, and textiles. When I can, I meet and work with artisans. I learn about the history of the places I visit and return to them or remain in contact with the people as often as possible because that connection is what inspires me the most.

What learning experiences have been critical to becoming an entrepreneur?

I think the reality of many entrepreneurs is that you ‘fail into success.’ I’ve tried and continue to try different things. When learning opportunities have appeared, I have taken them – most recently, with successful entrepreneurs and women, who I admire, offering mentoring classes!

Which people were instrumental in shaping the trajectory of your life?

There’s so many, but closest to my heart have been my parents, sisters, my husband, and each of my children.

What is a piece of advice that you’ve carried with you and who is it from?

I’ve always had different guiding statements that have inspired me. They’ve evolved and changed over time, but they’ve helped empower me. A couple I like right now are  “There has to be discomfort to change” and “If we don’t heal the wounds of the past, we cannot expand to our full potential; we can learn from it and be empowered by it.”

What sets your work apart from other brands? 

My work is designed to connect you with the beauty of Mexican heritage and reflected in that you will hopefully see your beauty and strength at the same time.

Was starting your own business or taking on entrepreneurial projects always your ultimate plan? Did you always know that you wanted to incorporate Mexican culture into your work?

Such great questions. I’m a mother of 6, and that’s the most important work in my life right now. But deep within me, there was always a desire to create, but I just wasn’t clear on what that was … until I moved to Mexico. It was then that I knew whatever I did, it would be to preserve our heritage.

What does your daily routine look like? 

Routine? What’s that?

My oldest is 12, and my youngest is 10 months. You could say I’m a slave to my kids’ schedules. I work during nap times and at night. When we have big projects with Ella Rises or Casa Palomí, I always find help. My husband is pretty good at loading up the kids and taking them somewhere when necessary.

What is inspiring you lately?

The Ella Rises girls and the challenges they face. And the female leaders and artists who are participating with Ella Rises. See the second to last question.

Tell us about your current project(s).

At Casa Palomí, we share our heritage with the community through food. We’re currently offering a virtual pan de muerto class for Day of the Dead, and friends from all over the world have signed up for our class! Follow @casa_palomi for more details.

Ella Rises is an initiative to empower Latinas in high school through virtual art and mentoring classes taught by Latinas. This historic project has never been done before, and 125 girls registered for Ella Rises 2020! We meet every Monday and Thursday in October. For more details, check out EllaRises.org

You’ve done culinary school, tamales, catering, all sorts of things. Tell us about your journey!

You know, it is all rooted in my continued journey to discover where I came from and the culture around all of that. Check out @casa_palomi on Instagram –  it’s visually captured there. I think you could say I’ve been on a journey to becoming for a few years now. And, I wouldn’t say that I’m there yet.

What designers/creatives/entrepreneurs do you look up to from the past or present?

Luis Barragan, a Mexican architect, came to my mind. I love his work! I often turn to it for inspiration, and I love his use of color and thoughtfully-curated spaces.

My culinary school maestros, Yuri de Gortari and Edmundo Escamilla, still inspire me today. They ignited a spark of love and reverence for my heritage, and I’ll forever be grateful for that.

I am also inspired by Mexican artisans. I’ve been building relationships with weavers and embroiderers. Their names may never go down in history, but I know them and love them.

What is on the horizon for you and your work in the remainder of 2020?

Casa Palomí and Ella Rises are thriving, and I hope we continue to do so through the end of the year. We’re connecting and reaching individuals who seek a space of love, respect, and appreciation for people of different backgrounds. Follow @casa_palomi or @ellarises and join our journey.

What is a piece of advice you’d give to women who are considering starting their own business? 

I turn to a higher power for direction. If seeking divine direction resonates with you, I’d recommend praying, meditating, going out in nature, and reconnecting with our creator. Then, create a statement of what you want to be, look like, and do. Rewrite it in the present tense, start repeating it daily, and keep seeking divine guidance.

What is the best advice you’d give to a businesswoman on determining her brand’s mission? 

When someone asks me for advice, I try (not perfect at it) to just listen to what they have to say. I believe that we often have or already know the answers to our questions.

Are you where you want to be in your life?

Katie Richardson, the creator of the Puj Tub, once told me “You’re right where you need to be.” I’ve taken that and ran with it. So, to answer your question, “I’m right where I need to be.”

Is there anything more you’d like to “become?”

Definitely! I embrace myself fully with where I am, but my journey of growth and progress continues. A millionaire would be nice too since I would love to invest more in my wildest ideas to help people. 🙂

Day of the Dead

For this feature, we worked with Nadia on creating this portrait, honoring both her, this unique time of year with the face mask, and the catrina in honor of Day of the Dead. This Mexican holiday typically involves friends and family coming together to pray and remember those who have passed on. It is seen as a festival of celebration rather than mourning. Ofrendas, or offerings, are often set out with pictures of ancestors and tokens that represent them. Thank you, Nadia.

You can find Nadia

Casa Palomi
Ella Rises

The House That Lars Bought: Interview with Paul and Brittany

Working with Meta

Meta and I met when I first moved here almost 8 years ago. We were basically wearing the same type of dress and crown braids and it was like looking at a mirror. Over the years, we’ve bonded over our shared love of design. Somehow our styles are super similar. But whereas I focus on Lars with all the crafts and such (even though I studied and practiced interior design in the past), she is OBSESSED with interiors and spends every waking hour thinking about it. I’ve never seen anyone so passionate about it.

Here we are in the Bahamas where we were teaching some styling classes on a cruise ship. Ha! Just typing that makes me LOLZ.

Why are we working with a designer?

This is precisely why we’re working with her. She knows the current designers, processes, local artisans and contractors, trends, classics, lingo, vocabulary, history. It really is the perfect marriage.

Before we get started designing, like her other clients, she sent us her questionnaire and here’s how it went:

I can’t wait to share more with you this week. We’ve already got our eyes on the first room. Stay tuned!

You can learn more about Meta Coleman:

@MetaColeman_ on Instagram
Meta Coleman Portfolio

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Becoming Interview: Stacey Fraser from Pink Chicken

Stacey Fraser of Pink Chicken

Stacey Fraser is the founder and creative director of Pink Chicken and worked in the fashion industry for 15 years before taking a break to be with her kids. In the meantime, she started sewing the most adorable clothes for her girls and herself, and before long, people were asking her where she got them. Thus, Pink Chicken was born! 

Psst…we dare you to look at the amazing textiles on their website without wanting to buy them all!

Here’s Stacey:

What do you consider yourself? Ex: designer, artisan, entrepreneur, etc.?

I think mostly a designer.  That is how I started Pink Chicken, my love for designing textiles and kids clothes… the business side I have grown along the way.

How has your childhood influenced what you have become?

Well, both of my grandmothers were in the fashion business.  Mimmers was a wedding dress designer, but growing up I would go to her sewing cabin in NC and help her with anything she was working on.  And Mimi, had a women’s clothing store in OH.  I would spend a few weeks there every summer.  I loved to be in the store, sit in on buying appointments in the back and see the customers!

What learning experiences have been critical to becoming an entrepreneur? Did you go to business school?

I started my career working for big corporations in designRalph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Gap… it was the best training ground for me. In all of those places, I learned the business side of fashion and how to build a brand.

Which people were instrumental in shaping the trajectory of your life?

All of the women in my lifemy grandmothers, my mom and my sisters.

What sets Pink Chicken apart from other brands?

We like to think of ourselves as a joyful brand!  Our clothes are no-fuss, always stylish and our dresses put a pep in your step.  We design all of our own fabrics and/or work with artists… so we have original patterns in joyful colors. We care so much about what we do here and I think our community can feel it.  We also pride ourselves in great quality so the dresses can start as a dress, end up as a tunic, and get passed down to little sis.

Was starting your own business always your ultimate plan?

No, not at all. I was taking a year off of work after my second daughter was born and started making dresses for them during their nap times. People used to stop me on the street and ask where they were from. I thought then maybe I was onto something.

What does your daily routine look like?

Well, that has definitely shifted because of Covid. When I open my eyes in the morning, the very first thing I think about is my iced coffee.  Once I’ve downed that, I make breakfast for my daughter and husband.  Not having to rush to the office every day does have it’s silver linings.  We have started going back one day a week to collaborate on our fabrics and designs in person.  It has been so great to get back.  And for dinner lately, we have been going out most nights to support our neighborhood restaurants. In NYC right now all restaurants have outdoor dining permits and it’s been really great. 

What is inspiring you lately?

So much really. My girls, their resiliency during this crazy time.  My oldest daughter was a senior when Covid hit… she missed a lot, including graduation.  Of course, she was disappointed but had a great attitude about it… also my team! Our little Pink Chicken team is like a family. I am so proud at how everyone has transitioned to working from home and still has the dedication and passion to their work every day.  I’m grateful for both.

What is on the horizon for you and Pink Chicken in the remainder of 2020?

We have our Holiday Collection that launches mid October!  We are so excited about it. The Holiday dresses have become a flock favorite!  We LOVE seeing holiday pics of families in our dresses.  Ultimately, the very best part of what we do!  And we are bringing our favorite gifts that we have in store online to our website for a killer Holiday gift guide!

What is a piece of advice you’d give to women who are considering starting their own business?

It has to come from the heart, from your passion.  That will get you through the ups and downs.  I think being your authentic self gives you the ability to connect with people in a meaningful way and that goes for your brand too.  And then also—think about what are you doing that is different from what is already in the market?  What is your point of difference?  It could be your product, your giving back mission, how you run your company and the people you employ.

Are you where you want to be in your life?

Yes. I always dreamt of living in NYC, being a clothing designer and having a family. I am a hard worker and hustle every day, but I am living the life I always dreamed of and am so grateful. 

Thank you, Stacey!

You can find Stacey and Pink Chicken here:

Pink Chicken website
Pink Chicken on Instagram

Look out for a giveaway with Pink Chicken later this week on our Instagram!