Category archives: lifestyle

 

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!

 

 

Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your club?

I started ksqQWERTY very recently.  I am a writer and wanted a way to experience the combined fun of writing with my enthusiasm for the typewriter.  I thought it would be perfect to bring the two together in occasional and random pop-ups in and around Kennett Square. I hope to find other enthusiasts with typewriters to do some type-ins around town…maybe at the Kennett Library where I work or at one of the great coffee shops in town or at one of the many great events and venues Kennett is so prone to having!

How long have you been use a typewriter? and Why?

I had been carrying around a beautiful little portable typewriter that I found over 25 years ago at a thrift store in Philadelphia. I would type on it very occasionally but didn’t know how to maintain it or get ribbons for it and it eventually just sat on a shelf for many years.  Then no long ago, one very serendipitous and providential day, I met someone who was also an avid typewriter enthusiast and that sparked the motivation to actualize QWERTY.  I’ve been typing since.

How many typewriters do you have?  What’s their personality? 

I now have 9 typewriters and, as my son recently pointed out, they are each my favorite! My Olivetti Lettera 32 was my first typewriter – the one I found in the thrift store for $10. The next was a Adler Contessa also found at a thrift store. I have several older typewriter dating from the 40s and late 30s. They are gorgeous black shiny machines with little quirks that make them more easy to look at than type with. My most recent additions (kindly gifted to me by a total stranger who saw me at the Kennett Farmers Market) are a Smith Corona, a sturdy handsome thing that I will most likely use for most of my writing and also a lovely, lightweight turquoise portable Smith Corona from probably the 70s – perfect for taking out for a pop up event!

 

Can you talk a little about your project? 

Typing for the love of typing is fun (as opposed to having to type an over-due term paper full of type-o’s or typing office memoranda for an impatient boss under a looming deadline, also full of type-o’s). I love the snap the keys and seeing the type bars swing up and smack the paper and make the letters that march along forming words. Its like a little letter press! I love the bright “ding”! at the end of the line and “raaap” of the return carrier to start a new line. It makes writing a very physical, active, tactile, whole experience. Also typing is evidence of errors… they happen, you move on. Sometimes the errors have beauty and meaning, which I like. Sometimes they are annoying and uncomfortable, which is a good exercise in humility and living with imperfection.

 I feel connected to the making of the thing when I type. It pushes the process of writing beyond the conceptual/cerebral domain of working on a computer (it also doesn’t have the inherent distractions, such as Google, weather checks, email updates, etc… ) Writing on a typewriter is more emphatic and committed than writing with a pen or pencil. Though I write in all the above forms, and each lends to a slightly different product, I am currently infatuated with writing on and thinking about the typewriter.  Plus they are all just so beautiful!