Primitive Reserve

I stumbled across Rochelle Cheri’s company, Primitive Reserve, through the Instagram spiral- I saw some brass spoons she had made, clicked through to her site, and then fell in love. Rochelle focuses on building functionally beautiful items made of repurposed materials – everything she makes is designed, sourced, and produced by Rochelle in LA. Rochelle’s background and commitment to her work is inspiring, but what I find the most incredible is her commitment to learning – which she shares with her followers and fans on Instagram and on her blog. She’s always trying something new and tweaking and perfecting – and you can see her work benefit from that as you follow along.



In college I was a science and premed major – I joined the theater department and picked up a drill – we were required to build our sets. The shop guys taught us and then we had to build the sets on our own. Through the theater design program, I learned design discipline. I loved making things for people to see.

I studied film production design – but wasn’t connecting with the work or fulfilled. I wanted to build something that people could build into their life and home and use daily. So, I left my corporate art director job to start Primitive Reserve 1.5 years ago.



My studio partner’s collection of Fine Woodworking magazine – he has issues from the 1970s! There are no women featured in the magazine. It can be hard to be a woman in a man’s industry but I’m determined.
Metal working – I didn’t start working with metal until last year. It’s out of my comfort zone but so fun!
Great metal workers – like Calderone. Ceramics – Ben Medansky, who used to work in this building – Ceramics are the opposite of woodwork.
I find a lot of inspiration in other art forms – outside of my medium.


Learning something new and trying to incorporate that into my product or blog. When I learn something new, I get everything else I have to do done quickly so that I can work on whatever it is that I’m learning.



Lake Arrowhead. I love to travel outside of LA and see something new and fresh. I love to hike amongst the trees. I used to surf a lot. I love spending time doing anything new or spending time with my friends and my nieces – it gives me a break from the stressful business stuff and gives me great outside perspective.


When I first started, I was designing for myself. I was constantly trying to replicate a natural home environment – a warm, cabin like feeling in the city. I wanted to recreate the feeling of Lake Arrowhead without using literal, rustic pieces.

Now I design for men and women who are near my age and can appreciate what makes these items special, who want to stay ahead of the trends.


I want to do even more metal work, and mix metals – I love the contrast of aluminum and steel and black metals.


Thanks, Rochelle, for taking the time to show me your space and chat!
[First & last image via Primitive Reserve. Studio images by TAE]

Follow Primitive Reserve:

The Edit: Raquel Allegra

The Rita I consider when shopping for my day-to-day wardrobe is a bit of a split personality – half rocker cool, half surfer ease. When the time comes to get dressed each morning, my need for comfort tends to win out, and I’ve spent the better part of the last year wearing plain grey tee shirts and throwing on my leather jacket in a last ditch attempt to feel cool.

Luckily for me, Raquel Allegra’s current collection seems to perfectly straddle the line of cool and comfortable – therefore meeting all of my style needs. I picked up striped version of this top before leaving for Europe and found myself reaching for it almost every day of the trip – and even got a few compliments from incredibly chic Parisians. Now my only rocker vs. surfer issue is shoes : birks or boots?!

Some of my favorites from Forward– many of which are on sale! Click the + by each outfit to shop!

The Edit: Let It Be

Stephanie Duncan is one of my very favorite follows on Pinterest and has an incredible blog… and I was sure she’d have some great American made picks… I was right! Be sure to follow Stephanie and to be on the look out for her new blog, launching soon!

Imogene + Willie is an amazing Nashville brand that I love.  I think that their commitment to authenticity is admirable.  It’s a no frills brand that specializes in a thoughtful product and cares deeply for their local community.

Young & Able is an awesome resource for American made emerging designers.  Their mission is to not only support and sell the product, but to promote the designer and their process by sharing their story.

Abbey Glass is a local Atlanta designer who makes well cut lady like clothes, and has a great eye for print placement.  There is an exciting new incubator program just launched in Atlanta by the Factory Girls, and currently both Abbey Glass and Megan Huntz are being represented.  So thrilling to have such talent so close to home!

Kordal is a Brooklyn based knitwear line that produces gorgeous knits and is invested in educating others about textiles through workshops and events.  The SS 2014 Lookbook is truly dreamy!

Tiro Tiro is a Portland based jewelry designer that I have loved for some time.  I favor simple architectural jewelry (especially made of brass) so this line is made for me.   I waited until I was visiting to get my first piece from a local shop.


I began to think more about what I bought and brought into my home when I became pregnant with my first daughter.  Suddenly all of it mattered more, and I was forever aware of what type of example I was setting for my girls.

I want to teach my children that there is real value in supporting local talent and investing in your community.  Convenience and instant gratification come at a price.

I enjoy supporting people that are thoughtful in their design and production.  I don’t mind paying more for a higher quality and peace of mind.


Follow Stephanie:


There are few things that I love more than a good tee – but I’m picky. I want my shirts to last, and to fit well, and maintain their shape. And while I’ve spend exorbitant amounts of money on them before, I obviously prefer not to do that. Recently I connected with Kate D’Arcy, the founder and CEO of TOGGERY, and got the chance to try out some of their tees – they are pretty great and I’m excited to have a new option in my closet.

Read on for an interview with Kate and more on TOGGERY!


TOGGERY is a synonym for clothing. The word choice struck me as a stylish way to capture what we are trying to do which is to provide everyday knitwear to our customers at an attractive price. Our brand is all about blending precision-cut styles with ultra-soft, high quality fabrics in order to provide a superior look and feel for modern women as they go about their lives. As far back as I can remember I was always taking basic knitwear tees and dressing them up, so I was always attracted to accessible fashion. My background however is in business operations. My parents owned and operated their Harley Davidson dealership for almost 40 years through good times and bad. I worked there through college and 6 days a week after I first graduated. I know it’s a little odd moving from motorcycles to women’s knitwear, but I learned important lessons about maintaining a profitable business and asserting yourself as a leader while I was there. There are similarities in running any company like the importance picking a distinctive niche in the marketplace which is why we are made in the USA and we utilize higher quality fabrics than you usually see in the basics category. The most important thing I learned is that there are really no “off days” as a business owner. Everything from a delay in production to a glitch on the website will eventually come to your attention, so you have to tend to every aspect of marketing, operations, finance, manufacturing, distribution, etc. with long hours.

I dove into the fashion business in spring 2006 with an original line of knit dresses, named Kathryn Jessica. I produced and sold those dresses on my own in open-air markets and small specialty stores (along with helpful personal orders from friends and family). That line helped me learn the overall business model and how other companies in the fashion industry worked (though you are never done learning in this industry, and plenty of mistakes will be made). Eventually it rolled into TOGGERY in 2007 where I had an opportunity to expand offerings into tops, bottoms and dresses and sell garments through wholesale channels. I’m now TOGGERY’s CEO and Creative Director, and my partner, Alison Latta, is the Chief Financial Officer. I believe great companies are never the work of just one person, so you need a partner that complements your strengths. Alison worked in accounting and has a finance background. She is an extremely hard worker (most important!), so she has been a perfect fit for my creative and operational strengths. I design the collection each season and serve as Brand ambassador managing all aspects of the business. We work hard alongside TOGGERY’s showroom, marketing and manufacturing partners who are so critical to our success.



I’m driven by the opportunity to build a business and wake up every day motivated and passionate about my work.


We are so excited to offer TOGGERY online at! The line is still sold through our department and specialty store partners, but we always wanted to be accessible online in order to reach more people with TOGGERY’s quality, precision cut garments and our American-made story. We look at our e-commerce site as our storefront. I’m on the website everyday checking around to see if there is anything we can improve or posting pictures from my life in TOGGERY onto the blog. We are eager to hear from your readers so if you have any questions, comments or concerns about the website or you just want to share your experience with TOGGERY, please email us at


Moisturizer, preferably Kiehls, a smile and confidence.



• Marketing, branding, PR is out of our NYC offices

• Sampling & production are worked on out of our Philadelphia office/ manufacturing facility

• Design is worked on in both cities, we typically start the process in NY when we are in the inspiration/sketch phase and then at the factory in Philadelphia once we are cutting/sewing samples and making changes from there.

I typically work between both locations so my work week is split between Philadelphia and NYC


If I have time to shop(I love to shop) it’s typically in the midst of a work day so I’m usually in Philly or NYC and my favorite stores are:

• Philly – Knit Wit, Barneys, Third Street Habit

• NY – I love shopping in Brooklyn, my favorite shops are Poppy in Park Slope, Alter in Greenpoint, and Catbird for dainty jewelry in Williamsburg.



Producing abroad is not in the best interest of our business model. Our industry is one where we need to get product to the market quickly while maintaining the quality that TOGGERY is known for. “Made in the USA” is a key differentiator for us, and our production facility is a mile from my home in Philadelphia which makes it much easier to monitor. We love the vendors we work with, they support what we are trying to build and they help us problem solve when we encounter an issue. And we do it all in-person for the most part.

Images c/o TOGGERY.