Category archives: business

 

Meet David, the owner of Unionville Saddle. David is a fashion designer, after living in New York for a decade he is bring his love of custom garment making back to here.

What sparked your interest in fashion?

Growing up I always had an interest in fashion, I remember reading GQ or sketching what my favorite pop stars’ were wearing but I was always more interested in fine arts.  I grew up painting and drawing and didn’t begin to sew until I was a senior in high school. I really got interested in fashion when I went to Parsons School of Design in NYC.  While I was studying I realized that fashion was a way to communicate  concepts while exploring traditional construction techniques and making people feel amazing.

What is your brand philosophy?

My brand philosophy revolves around the concept of Your Body Infinite Options.  Studying and working in the fashion industry for a decade opened my eyes to some major flaws in the current fashion system.  From not providing adequate sizing in stores to crippling runway and production costs I have decided to approach the business in a much different way by creating single pieces specifically to a client’s needs.  I believe that clients are looking for something that is made just for them, in the past women would have clothes made for them by dressmakers, working one on one to create something completely original and with a perfect fit for them.  My goal is to make every client feel at home while working with them to create pieces that will flatter every part of them, last, and look modern for years to come.

How do you describe your fashion and style?

I like when there is a mix of minimal clean lines and rawness, I love when frayed edges contrast the perfect fit.  There always needs to be a balance comfort and elegance, weight and lightness, color and texture.

What are you fascinated by at the moment and how does it feed into your work?

Currently, I am working with the concept of my transition from a city life in NYC to life in Unionville.  I have always used personal experience in life as my inspiration for my collections and this transition has been the most shocking and rewarding process of my life.

Talk us through the process of creating a garment. How long does it normally take to create a dress? what’s the procedure like?

Making a garment can take anywhere up to a year, particularly for bridal gowns.  The process always begins with a conversation, what do you need, when do you need it, what will the function be?  Then I will show a client some fabrics that may work with what they need and we begin to sketch. Once a design is selected I drape the piece, make a pattern, fit a muslin, and order the final fabric.  Once the pattern is corrected I cut the garment in final fabric, sew it, and fit the final piece. Depending on how complicated the garment is it may need more fittings to get the correct the fit.

Check David’s website and instagram for more information.

 

Meet Robin, the owner of Brandywine Botanicals. ” Robin’s experience in floral design contributes to an appreciation of artistic balance. She has always had an interest in unique fragrances and has spent the last several years researching products and learning about ingredients sourced from around the world. “–http://www.brandywinebotanicals.com


How did you become a perfumer?

I seem to change careers like most people change jobs and a natural fragrance business brings me full circle to my first job as a floral designer.  Both floral and fragrance design are creative outlets that are based on design principles; they are a wonderful blend of art and science. One of the shops I worked at had a large garden center where it was easy to learn about plants, their care and their fragrance.  I lived in the San Francisco Bay area for a while and the plants are amazing. There were rosemary shrubs and lemon trees growing in the yard and nonstop color all around me. Gardening was, and still is, a joy.  

 

Perfume is a blend of art and science.  Years as a critical care respiratory therapist required a background in science to understand our bodies and therapies used to treat injury and illness.  This ties into the chemistry aspect of fragrance.  We smell essential oils because they evaporate and that rate of evaporation is based on the size of the molecules and how they interact. Fragrance has an effect on our mood and often has therapeutic properties, something I am learning about through aromatherapy training. Experience in the corporate world comes in handy for running a small business.  Anyone who is a small business owner understands that you wear multiple hats and often do it all.   

 

So how did I become a perfumer? Blending essential oils and their beautiful scents was a hobby that grew after taking a single aromatherapy workshop. That workshop was followed by training with a very successful natural perfumer in Rhode Island.  The last several years have been spent trying different blends, learning about the essential oils and enjoying an olfactory trip around the world.

 

Do you have a particular style or approach to creating fragrances? 

The concept for a fragrance can come from several directions but blending always starts in my mind.  I may find a beautiful scent, like orange blossoms, try a new essential oil or simply read about a new ingredient or perfume that starts the creative process. The next step is similar to cooking. Just as you have an idea of what seasoning will work in a recipe, I consider what essential oils or botanicals will work together. For instance, will a blend need the spark of a little citrus?  Perhaps a nice sandalwood as the base?  Following design principles means using specific fragrance ‘notes’ together so you can smell a top note after applying the fragrance and experience a smooth transition to middle notes and the final base notes that last the longest for what is called the ‘dry down’. Then the fun really begins as I place a drop or two of each ingredient onto a test strip and try different combinations. Because natural fragrance does not contain preservatives or longer-lasting synthetic fragrance chemicals, it rarely lasts as long as a synthetic.  The natural perfumer must carefully blend the fragrance notes and use essential oils that have fixative properties that help the overall blend last a bit longer.  Creating a beautifully balanced blend is the artistry of natural fragrance. 

 

Tell me about your favorite in the collection?

Almost Summer is a favorite because it was one of my first blends and it is a simple, beautiful orange blossom fragrance.  It reminds me of driving along orange groves when the trees are in bloom.  Everywhere you look you see the small white blossoms and their sweet, warm fragrance is carried by the breeze. It is a nice warm-weather fragrance and is uplifting during the colder months.

 

What projects are you currently working on and where do you want to take your business in the future? 

This spring is a big turning point for Brandywine Botanicals.  I will complete aromatherapy certification training in July and plan to offer an aromatherapy collection. This is likely to include a fragrant oil for massage or moisturizing and an aromatherapy spray that can be used to fragrance the home, linens and the skin.  That is the beauty of natural ingredients: they can serve more than one purpose with less concern than something made from petroleum products as many home fragrances are. Certification also opens the door to starting a small practice where custom blends can be offered to those with a specific need.  I work from my home studio so sell online and at local events but would like to find a small studio/retail space to offer fragrance, host workshops and support an aromatherapy practice.  Location is challenging for a small business but I am always on the lookout for unique opportunities so stay tuned!

 

Meet Kelly, she is a Lawyer, Columnist, also a Blogger for Social Stylate.

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What was your dream job when you were a kid?

My dream job was to become a pediatrician. However, as a kid, I did not realize the plot twist looming in my future that I affectionately refer to as “Organic Chemistry”. Yikes.

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You are a lawyer, blogger, columnist, what’s next?

I am in the midst of changing careers! After many years of practicing family law and custody mediation, I decided to go back to school for a graduate degree in Clinical Mental Health. I am excited to help children and families transition through the divorce process from a therapeutic perspective, as opposed to a litigious one. 
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When and how did you start  your career in so many fields?
My family and friends like to tease me that I have as many jobs as there are hours in a day (which, at times, feels like an accurate statement!). However, at this point in my life, I am used to juggling a multitude of tasks. The “counselor” in me likes to help people and the “fashionista” in me loves to be surrounded by beautiful clothes, shoes, handbags, and make-up! I can’t possibly choose a favorite…so, I try to do it all. 
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What’s your typical day look like?
I rarely have a typical day! It’s possible for me to be facilitating a custody mediation in the morning, taking photos at No.109 Shop or Houppette for social media posts in the afternoon, and counseling in the early evening. In between those jobs, I try my best to be a good wife and mother. Although, if you were to look in my laundry room right now, you can tell that housekeeping is not on my list of daily chores. 
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What is your 5 tips for time management in a multitasking world?

Ugh, perfecting the art of multitasking is ever-evolving . While I am by NO means an expert, here are my best suggestions:
  • Write it down -I can’t survive without my Day Planner. I like to physically record my schedule with paper and pencil, as opposed to keeping notes on my phone. 
  • Exercise – This may sound silly, but, making a workout a priority is critical, in my opinion. It is easy to let the drudgery of daily life get in the way of self care. But, a good sweat is as important for your mind as it is for your body. 
  • Sleep – When I take on too much, I have a tendency to stay up really late trying to get everything accomplished. The result? I am cranky and totally unproductive the next day. Forcing myself to get a minimum of seven hours is a worthwhile mission. 
  • Delegate – Sometimes it is difficult to relinquish control to others (especially if you are a perfectionist, like I am). However, learning how to ask and accept help from others is important. 
  • Have FUN – Embrace your busyness! If you are running around like a chicken with your head cut off, you may as well be having a good time doing it. I work with some fabulous people who challenge and energize me and it makes the crazy schedule all worthwhile. 

Meet Tom, the owner of Macaluso bookstore. I was lived near his store four years ago. Every time I passed by it, I was wondering what’s inside. Finally I had chance to meet him.

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What did you do before you open your  bookstore?

I  had been a law book and document editor for a few years after college and law school.  When my wife Brenda and  I started the book business  42 years ago I had already gone to graduate school and had a thirty-five year career as a law and English professor and dean.  I retired from  higher education 18 years ago to devote full time to the bookstore.

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Why a bookstore?

I started  collecting books when I was 14 years old and have always  loved them .

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What make your bookstore special?

Our books, maps, and prints are special because they are relatively scarce and of lasting interest.  Unlike other used bookstores, our store’s books are mostly the original first edition hardbacks in very  good condition and some are hundreds of years old though some are relatively recentl though notable publications.

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What book is your greatest treasure & why?

Right now,  I have first editions signed by the  Wyeths, T..S. Eliot, Carl  Sandburg, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Franklin  Delano Roosevelt, and many others.  And I have first editions by Hemingway, Orwell, Darhl, Dickens, Harper Lee, and thousands more and on every subject from art to zoology  They are virtually all my treasures.

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What’s the hardest thing about running your shop? What’s the best thing?

It can be difficult to help visitors appreciate the physical beauty of the book, that is the book arts.  The best experiences are the talks about books, education, and life itself especially with young people.

 

 

 

 

Meet talented Hattie, from a ballerina to a sculptor. Now she is a self taught hand crafted jewelry designer in Kennett Square.

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What did you do before you start jewelry design?

When I was 4 years old I began intensive training in ballet. I was pigeon-toed and the doctor advised my mother that ballet would help straighten my legs. I quickly ended up taking 10 classes a week and when I was 14, I was accepted into The School of American Ballet at Juilliard in New York City. After that, I was a principal ballerina with the Brandywine Ballet Company for 9 years and, later, danced with Opus 1 Contemporary of Philadelphia as well as guest performed with many theatres and other dance companies. I began teaching ballet in 2001 and only recently have had to cut back to one day a week as it’s all my growing jewelry schedule will allow. In my early twenties, I also modeled as a ballerina for a sculpture class and found myself eager to learn how to sculpt. I took a class and began sculpting, later exhibiting my bronze dancers locally in galleries and art exhibits.

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What lead you to beginning to work with jewelry?

In 2006, I stopped dancing professionally and began my family. I enjoyed sculpture but it was expensive to have bronzed. But, without dance or sculpture, I found I still needed an artistic outlet. I picked up an instructional book on beading and wirewrapping at a local craft store and that night I think I made 30 pairs of earrings. I was hooked.

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Where do you find your inspiration?

My inspiration comes from everything around me. I love to garden and often am inspired by nature and its beauty and movement. I am currently fascinated with ancient Egyptian artifacts and patinas. I typically don’t sketch out or plan my designs. I have a general idea or inspiration, start grabbing materials and get to work.

 

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Who do you envision wearing your work? Do you think about this when you work on designs?

I strive to make jewelry that people want to wear. I try to make a variety that appeals to all ages and styles. I believe it is important to learn as many techniques as you can but that doesn’t mean you need to pull out all the stops in every single creation. I often find that the pieces people find the most appealing are the simplest.

 

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The most meaningful piece of jewelry you own is?

My favorite piece is my ‘Wrapped in Lavender Cuff’. It was the most technically challenging piece I have ever made and, because of that, the most rewarding. It was a lengthy process but when I finished it, I remember feeling proud of myself.

 

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Do you have a favorite jewelry designer that you admire?

I admire so many artists but I guess you could say my idol is jewelry artist, Jeanine Payer. She has recently closed her studio doors but I was fortunate to have been given a couple of her pieces and absolutely fell in love with the simplicity and feminine quality of her work. It remains an inspiration to me.

 

Check Hattie’s work here: Hattie Weselyk Jewelry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meet Lauren, she is a Traditional Western Herbalist and founder of Areté herbs. I visited her lovely studio the other day. I really like her natural  and healthy life style.

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Where does the name Areté come from and what does it mean? 

Areté is a Greek word that means “excellence of any kind.” Areté describes the act of living up to one’s fullest potential, finding total fulfillment, and reaching the highest level of health and harmony for our mind, body, and spirit. Areté is a Stoic Philosophy term and I thought it embodied exactly what I was going for.

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What did you do before you started Areté Herbs? 
I was in school for most of my life up until the launch of my business! I am what they would call a 
“professional student.” I love to learn and went from undergraduate school to graduate school to my 
intensive herbalist training program, back to back.
I hold a Bachelor of Science Degree in Exercise Science and Nutrition, and a Master of Public Health 
(MPH) Degree concentrating in Integrative Health. In addition, I am certified as an Integrative Health 
Coach, and a certified Herbalist. I am also certified through the American College of Sports Medicine as 
an Exercise Physiologist (ACSM‐EP), and through the National Commission for Health Education 
Credentialing as a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES). 
I have been employed as a Health Coach for The Chester County Hospital near Philadelphia, 
Pennsylvania, and as an Exercise Physiologist for the Dr. Dean Ornish Program for Reversing Heart 
Disease at Jefferson Regional Medical Center located near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
I was also honored to be a guest speaker at the 2010 annual meeting of the Pennsylvania Public Health 
Association (PPHA) held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I presented a lecture entitled, “The Integrative 
Health Coach: A New Advocate for Health Promotion.”

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Why and how did you start Areté Herbs? 
My passion for plants, healing, and nature arose after several years of studying wellness, health and 
fitness. Despite my academic studies, I felt that a vital link was absent from the “complete” picture‐‐
there had to be more to health than just exercise and nutrition. Upon studying the ancient healing 
tradition of botanical medicine, I had found the piece that was missing.
Our health is deeply connected to nature. Living in harmony with the natural rhythms of the Earth and 
reconnecting with our inner wisdom is the essence of living a fulfilling, authentic, and purposeful
life.  Our health is so much more than just the absence of disease.

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What’s your philosophy about herbal medicine? 
Areté Herbs is a company dedicated to helping each individual achieve optimal health with plant‐based 
products.  At Areté, we believe that personal health is deeply connected to nature. To attain optimal 
wellness it is vital to embrace a more natural, earth‐centered approach to living fuller, healthier lives. 
 Plant medicine is a beautiful way to empower you on this journey.
We are a young, homegrown business that lovingly handcrafts all herbal products in small batches. We 
are wholly dedicated to organics, sustainability, and green business practices because of our great 
reverence for the environment. We promise to use only organic herbs to create our formulas.
Our herbs are sourced from only the most highly regarded companies that provide certified organically 
grown plants. Respectfully wild‐harvested herbs are often hand‐gathered by ourselves from rural 
Chester County, or grown in our personal garden that is free of pesticides, chemicals, and genetically
modified organisms (GMOs).
It is our hope that Areté’s herbal products give you the opportunity to infuse yourself in the medicine of
the plants.
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Can you recommend one herb that is easy to use and grow? 
I’ll name a handful! I had the best luck growing Sage, Catnip, Thyme, and Lemon Balm. These herbs 
seem to need hardly any attention at all and grew into huge, beautiful plants all by themselves. 
A lot of medicinal plants are considered common weeds and can be found in your own yard or woods 
behind your house! There is no need to plant an herbal garden if you learn to identify these common 
medicinal weeds. They grow on their own and very plentifully! Some include: Plantain, Chickweed, 
Dandelion, and Nettles to name a few! These are all considered tonic herbs. 
Dandelion, Chickweed, and Plantain can all be found in your lawn! Dandelion is great for digestion and 
liver function and is a key component of ourCardamom & Fennel Digestive Bitters. It is also found in our 
Immune Chai Tea, Nourish Tea, and Mommy‐To‐Be Tea.
Plantain can be made into a poultice to draw out a splinter or bee sting—great for summer first aid!
Chickweed is a Nutritive (very nutritious!) and is one of my favorite herbs. It tastes so yummy that you 
can add it to salads or even make a pesto from it!
It is also one of the herbs found in our Nourish Tea and our Mommy-To-Be Tea.
Stinging Nettles are found along rivers where the ground is moist. You can find them along the 
Brandywine River! The fresh plant is great for seasonal allergies, is a powerhouse of vitamins and 
minerals, and supports the adrenals to combat stress. We use it in our Allergy Formula, Nourish Tea,
Stress Free Tea, and Mommy‐To‐Be Tea.
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After two years renovating  an old  farm house, Mary and her family moved to their beautiful  new home. Mary also found her calling in home interior design, organization  and garden design. The EDIT was born. It is a personal, client-centered service providing home order and organization.

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1. What determined your passion for design?

I fell into this. EDIT evolved from my totally control freak nature! As a kid I would re arrange my parents furniture when they went out of town. It didn’t go over well.
As an adult, I’ve lived in a few houses (we seem to move around) and design and order (for me) are a natural part of the move in/move out/nesting and home making process. Creating good and pleasing spaces for life and family is a creative and satisfying endevour for me. But really, I’m a control freak.

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2. Can you describe your first Edit project?

My very first EDIT project was a whole house re order, deckutter and staging for sale process. It was a completed over the summer and the home sold shortly thereafter.
I love to bring order. And the backbone and essence of EDIT is just that. Order. Be it in a basement or closet.

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3. What inspires you?

I’m a always deeply inspired by my amazing friend family. The people who impact my thoughts and heart are truly exceptionally talented humans. I am very lucky to have them. I’ve watched each one of them take flight in their own distinct efforts and I finally feel as though I’m catching up!

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4.Share something you would like the world to know about you or your ideas.

I get my inspiration from a life lived at home. My ideas are influenced by the spaces I have lived in, by the objects and stuff of life I’ve acquired and love and always always always from the natural world. I am certainly no expert on design but I do know what I love. And I do absolutely love what I do with EDIT.

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5. if you have no limits( money, resources), what would you create?

The world as my oyster would truly be endless gardening! Endless. There would be no blade of grass unturned! It would be a boisterous messy flowering world in my garden.

 

  1. sikis izle said:
    Olá eu amo o cabeçalho do seu blog, é uma criação pessoal?
    May 2, 2016  10:58 am
    Reply
  2. Maike Singelmann said:
    Mary is incredible. She can get more done in a day than the rest of us can only dream to attempt in a lifetime. She is one of the most beautiful people I know inside and out. I'm lucky to call her my friend.
    March 7, 2017  7:00 pm
    Reply

Dan was my neighbor, he started beekeeping a few years ago. My daughter and I were fascinated by his honeycombs. When I was doing my photography project, I thought he should be on it. I went a farm where he had his hives. I was scared about the bees at first,  but after he used smoke to calm the bees, everything seemed fine. I was taking  pictures while the bees were dancing around me. It’s such a cool experience.

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When did your interest in beekeeping begin?
I’ve always thought beekeeping was interesting, but didn’t have any experience with it until I found myself working on a small farm, and was asked to help with the hives there.  I didn’t actually start beekeeping myself until a couple years later when I took a break from farming and was starting a family.  It began as a hobby, and as my family has grown and I’ve found I have a little more time available, it’s taken over.
 
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How did you get your hives?
Like almost all beekeepers, I purchased my first bees.  They come shipped in a package, usually from Georgia.  Package bees are not always the best quality, and my first hives didn’t survive their first winter (I was a new beekeeper myself then, so I’ll share some of the blame).  Since then, I began to try to seek out locally raised bees that are hopefully a little more adapted to our climate.  I usually now raise my own queens and bees, catch swarms, and I get some new bees by removing feral colonies from buildings.
 
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How many hives do you have? How much honey do you get from each?
These days, I maintain anywhere from 20-50 colonies.  The number fluxuates more than you might think.  Every Winter, I lose a few, but throughout the season I’m splitting some hives and combining others.  Raising healthy bees has always been my primary reason for keeping bees, not producing honey, so I leave plenty behind.  Some hives end up producing a surplus, and I end up feeding some honey back to other smaller colonies.
 
Are there different type of honey?
Definitely!  Honey varies widly depending on what nectar sources the bees are visiting.  From dark Buckwheat honey, to light Black Locust and everything in between, all the different varietal honeys have distinct flavors.  Around here, our bees (thankfully) enjoy a pretty diverse nectar flow, so we generally produce a “wildflower” honey.  I think our local Spring honey has a great floral quality, and it varies a bit year to year, as the season sometimes favors some blossoms more than others.  If you haven’t ever set up a honey tasting, you should try it some time.
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Do beekeepers get stung by bees? And what your experience so far?
Oh, yes.  I get that question a lot.  I don’t usually like to wear gloves or too much protective gear, because I think it leads one to be a little clumsy with the bees.  Honey bees are not usually aggressive, but I do sometimes get stung when I misplace a hand when I’m grabbing a frame from the hive.  These days, I’m working hives most days of the week, so it’s an unusual day when I don’t get a sting or two.
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What’s your favorite part of beekeeping?
Tough question.  It’s mesmerizing just watching all the activity going in and out of a hive, or just letting myself become surrounded by the hum of life around me when I open a hive.  Keeping bees can definitely be a challenge too, and I love that there is always more to learn.  I also really enjoy teaching people about honey bees, and I have to say, the beekeeping community is a pretty eccentric crowd.  Perhaps I’m most grateful that beekeeping has connected me with so many passionate and interesting people over the years.
 

I knew Bri through Instagram. I have been followed her on Instagram long time. She is the designer-maker and owner of Arden and James. I love her beautiful  handcrafted bags. Finally I had a chance to do a photo shoot with her. I arrived her house, her younger son was sleeping, and the older boy was tired but won’t take a nap. He stayed with us whole time, during the photo shoot I saw how she balanced her work with kids. Her studio is stylish, bright and organized. She showed me her new work, and also the first bag she made. She is such a talented artist and wonderful mom.

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Where did the name Arden & James come from?
 
Arden is a little utopian arts community in Delaware. It was designed to demonstrate the values of the Arts + Crafts movement at the turn of the century. Many artists, musicians, actors, and craftsmen live there. There are walking paths through the woods connecting all of the homes and shared community facilities. Such a dream. They have an annual Arden Fair, which is in its 108th year.  As a kid, my grandparents’ house was closeby, and we would go to the Fair. It’s a magical place, and it has inspired me all my life.
 
James is my older son. I started the company when he was old enough to sit on his own and I got my hands back :). My husband is also a James. He is an artist as well – a musician.
 
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What is your design process?
The materials themselves drive my process.  I only use materials I love: organic woven linen, locally milled waxed canvas, vegetable tanned leather, and pure copper.  I see a natural material that inspires me and then decide what I can make that would highlight its best qualities. It’s sort of a backwards design process – not how I was trained in design school! I think that good design allows the materials to be themselves.
I love getting feedback from customers and friends. When designing something as personal as a handbag, I have to know how people will use it. I want my bags to be a reliable wardrobe staple and hopefully an heirloom, so the details need to be just right.
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What currently inspires you and which other artists do you admire and why?
 
Wharton Esherick. He was a sculptor and painter who resided in Paoli. His home and workshop are open to the public, and they are an endless source of inspiration for me. I hope to shoot my Fall lookbook there this year. It’s funny, but when I make something,  I ask myself – would this look good at Wharton’s house? It’s a “handcrafted modern” look. His work has no straight lines. It is informed by the materials and has a perfect organic feel. It’s just too good to put into words – you gotta see it.
What would you most like to make that you haven’t made so far?
Clothing. My sister, Britt, is amazing with styling, colors, and patterns – so it would be a collaborative line where I could choose the materials. My dream is to work with her every day (and our dogs and kids).
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How did your parents influence your career?
 
My parents always wanted us to do what made us happy. Just to be our true selves. My Dad was always working with wood, and my mom was a painter. My mom always said that I was an artist, and wanted me to pursue art as my career, but I never believed in myself enough to think that I could pull it off. After getting my degree in Industrial Design, I apprenticed for other artists, worked in food marketing, and organized community events to earn money. It wasn’t until after my mom passed away – five years ago – and I was pregnant with my first son, that I felt the drive to make things. I could feel my mom’s confidence in me pushing me along. Since then I am always inspired and can’t wait to make more. I feel that my mom is sending these things to me so that I can live my dream. Everything falls into place as long as I focus and do my best. People have responded so passionately to my work – and it’s so flattering – because it’s me being completely honest and putting my true self out there. My work is a reflection of me, and the relationships I have built from that are so authentic and rewarding.
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You are busy mom for two boys, how do you balance your work and kids?
The balance day-to-day is so hard, but overall, things work out. I am always going from one thing to the next, running around like a crazy person. But that’s how I work best. I am at home with the boys, so my attention has to be on them first. My boys are 2 and 4, so we don’t have any schedule – I just work in my home workshop when I can – mostly in 10 minute bursts throughout the day (on a good day). I use my iPhone for everything. I am never able to sit at the computer. The boys would be jumping all over me! I plan my work so that I can do handwork such as weaving in the car (while James is driving :)) or outside with the kids while they play. When the kids are both in school things will be easier. I had never imagined my business would grow so quickly – but I’m so proud that it has! The challenge keeps growing, but I’m still hanging in there!
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 To learn more about Bri and her work go to the website:Arden and James
  1. Estelle said:
    I absolutely loved this interview. Thanks, Bri, for sharing what it's like to be working at home with two children. I completely relate to the 10-minute bursts but I love and admire the fact that this does not stop you from being successful. You are showing your boys what a strong woman and mother looks like and I know this will inspire them for the rest of their lives.
    August 12, 2015  5:43 pm
    Reply
  2. Becky said:
    Bri I am so proud of what you have accomplished! I always knew you had what it takes! Beautiful boys and tell James hello!
    October 21, 2015  4:27 pm
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I met Estelle through Instagram. She is a French food blogger. Her blog called ” le hamburger et le croissant” , I have to say it’s such a wonderful name. It reflects the food culture  between France and America.

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Tell me about your blog, how did it start? And how has it developed?

I started my blog in 2004 after reading an article in Gourmet magazine that featured five food blogs. I had no idea what a blog was, so I asked my husband who described it to me as some kind of online diary. I was intrigued, so I checked one of the blogs mentioned in the article, Chocolate & Zucchini (http://chocolateandzucchini.com/), written by a young French lady in Paris. Her blog introduced me to many other food blogs and, before I knew it, I was hooked! I had never read about food in such an approachable and engaging way. I was just learning to cook and loved that I could ask my questions directly to the recipe developer.

Reading food blogs soon became part of my morning routine until one day I thought: why not start one myself? At the time, I did not have much opportunity to speak French and the lack of practice was having bad consequences on my French skills: I was having difficulty finding my words and remembering the spelling of some words. So I looked for a blogging platform and started posting in French. If anything, I thought it would be a good way to practice writing.

Very early, I started posting about food and recipes. I had a little webcam that I would use to take photos. I would post about my farmers market discoveries, from the huge Brandywine tomatoes to the overgrown zucchini I would find at some vendor stands. It was exhilarating to think people from all over the world had the ability to read my posts. At the beginning, my family and friends in France were my only blog readers but, after a few weeks, I started reading comments from complete strangers. One year after I first started posting, I met my first reader in person, who went on to become one of my closest friends.

11 years after I started my blog, my goal remained the same: practice writing in French, while showing people how good American food can be. This led me to release a food survival guide for French people in the US (https://gumroad.com/l/AsVgQ) last month, which has been getting great feedback from its first readers.

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You blog has a very interesting name: le hamburger et le croissant, where does the name come from?

When my American husband and I got married, we were looking for different way to represent our two cultures. After a little brainstorming, we decided to have a hamburger and a croissant sitting on a plate as the centerpiece of each reception table. This definitely got the guests talking! When I looked for a name for my blog, I was again looking for something that would capture the blending of our two cultures. I thought of our centerpieces and named the blog “le hamburger et le croissant!”

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Who is your target audience?

As much as I want to be read, I first write for me, because writing helps me organize my thoughts and process my emotions. I also post for my mom because she is the first person with whom I want to share my recipes. Today, when I post a text I am especially proud of, I always email her to ask what she thought. Thankfully, though, I have other readers beside my mom, whom I see as like-minded people: easy-going food lovers, who enjoy their weekly trip to the farmers market, cook simple meals for their families, and meet their friends for coffee.

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How long have you been lived in Kennett Square? How does it feel like to live here?

I have been living in Kennett Square for almost ten years and I love it a little more every day. This small town is home to so many talented artists and artisans who never stop to inspire me. The food here is also incredible. Talula’s Table always surprises me with fresh and amazing flavor combination (their coconut hummus was amazing, I miss it a lot) and Philter Coffee serves the best coffee around. Byrsa Bistro makes stuffed grape leaves as good as my mom’s and Sovana’s Bistro is one of my favorite restaurants ever. I feel very grateful to live in such an amazing town.

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What are your plans for the future?

After leaving my corporate job two months ago, I am busy reinventing a life that is both professionally and personally fulfilling. I want to continue writing and I am currently working on a French cookbook. I’d also like to keep working with small companies, developing a marketing and social media strategy to let the world know about their awesome products. I love supporting small businesses but it is not always easy to hear about them in the first place.

 No matter what, though, as long as my life involves a lot of lattes and a few slices of homemade cake, I will be pretty happy.

 

 

  1. Marie said:
    Very interesting portrait of Estelle, t'habiller you :). And Kenett Square looks like a wonderful place to live !
    May 12, 2015  2:16 pm
    Reply
  2. Marie said:
    Very interesting portrait of Estelle, thank you :). And Kenett Square looks like a wonderful place to live !
    May 12, 2015  2:16 pm
    Reply
    • Estelle said:
      It is a wonderful town, you should definitely come and visit!
      May 13, 2015  3:03 am
      Reply
  3. demitasse said:
    Thank you! Please come visit us. :)
    May 12, 2015  5:49 pm
    Reply
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  5. Pingback : L'interview de Estelle, l'auteure du Guide de survie alimentaire aux Etats-Unis ! -Les aventures de la famille Bourg – le blog – Vie d'expatriés aux USA