Christin’s blog, with a ch, is one of my very favorites – we became friends through our mutual obsession with cleanses and natural beauty, and I adore her sense of style. No surprise, I love all of her picks and can’t wait to check out SW Basics when I’m in New York next month!
It’s always exciting to watch someone you admire follow his/her dreams – even if you don’t know that person in real life! I’ve followed Sarah Sherman Samuel’s blog (have you seen her amazing cabin renovations?!) for a long time and was thrilled when she launched her product line, A Sunny Afternoon. The patterned textiles are gorgeous and add the perfect pop of color to any table, and the wood pieces that she makes with her dad in northern Michigan (one of my favorite spots!) are gorgeous and unique… I’m currently using my serving board as a display piece – always love a good multi-purpose item.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
I am inspired by so many things it is hard to summarize but here’s a list of a few things that currently give my creativity a healthy boost: being outdoors, photography, storied objects, unexpected color relationships, creative collaborations, fashion, beautiful light, traveling, pattern play, and the beauty in natural imperfections.
WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND?
My background and formal education is in Graphic Design. My professional career started as a designer at an Ad Agency but I quickly realized that was not right for me, so I pursued more creative opportunities before eventually landing at a company that was looking to manufacture their own line of fashion paper products. It was a new start-up company and at the beginning it was just me and the two owners working to build the line. It was there that I found my niche in designing products and patterns and then marrying the two. Through the 5 years I was there I served as creative director and helped build it up to a successful company that still has a large presence in Target and other retailers. I eventually reached a point when the line was established, that I knew I was ready to break away and start working on my own dream.
I love applying the graphic design principles into the roles of maker, stylist, and creative director and A Sunny Afternoon has become a wonderful outlet for each one of those. From developing each product, styling and art directing photoshoots, as well as designing the brand identity and website, every aspect has my personal stamp on it.
WHAT MAKES YOUR DAY?
I absolutely love it when one of my pieces brings a little joy into someone else’s life. Every item I make has a lot of thought and love built into it so when someone else gets that, it’s like a big high five. 🙂
WHERE DO YOU MAKE A SUNNY AFTERNOON?
I split my time between my Los Angeles studio and my father’s workshop in Michigan.
WHERE DO YOU ESCAPE?
We have a small cabin in Michigan that is the perfect escape. Whenever I have a creative slump or life just gets too busy, a trip there always sets things back in order.
WHY DO YOU MAKE YOUR COLLECTION?
A Sunny Afternoon was born out of my desire to create beautiful things. I wanted to build a line that marries my style with my love of the outdoors, gathering for a meal, and the handmade. The idea of making picnic-ware and home goods that are useful, beautiful, and long lasting is what has driven me further to create the first collection.
I’m sure that you all know… and love.. The City Sage. Anne Sage’s blog is one of my longtime favorites and she has the unique ability to find the very best things on the internet, so I was thrilled to have her share some of her favorite American-made items…
LA-based Matteo is my original Made in America love, and with the softest linens this side of Belgium, is it any wonder they still have a spot in my heart a decade later?
As I mentioned earlier, Anne and I also worked together on the primary copy for TAE! Trust me when I say that my initial thoughts for the mission/tagline/etc. were all at least 12 pages long… so we have Anne to thank for the brevity that we ended up with! Anne just wrote a sweet post about the site on her blog – make sure to check it out!
I don’t know how to describe Mille (formerly Pretty Mommy) other than to say it is my happy place. Michelle has created a little version of (retail) utopia in South Minneapolis for those of us who dream of items that are lovingly and meaningfully made. I used to think that I had to travel or shop online to find the newest brands, now I know that I just have to wait for Michelle’s Shop Mille newsletter sharing what’s new in the shop. (But don’t worry – Michelle actually opened her B&M location after being an online shop, so everything she has is available online!)
You feel at home instantly, with the gorgeous vintage rugs underfoot, my favorite Le Feu de L’eau candles (gris!) burning throughout, and the supply of coffee and treats Michelle has available for her steady stream of visitors or friends… you certainly don’t feel like a customer when you are there.
Even more amazing than the products Michelle stocks is the company she keeps – through visits to the shop, I’ve been introduced to amazing, inspiring women – designers, artists, and makers who are so kind, creative, and supportive it is mind-boggling.
Really, the only bad thing about Mille is that now I have to come up with other excuses to travel… because I can get all of my favorites right here in Minneapolis. Make sure to check it out… and let me know your favorites!