Without going into too much back story, I want to give credit where credit is due. There’s a lot to go around but I’ll keep it brief and kind of simple.
My experience with retail developed during a past relationship with an architect/urban planner/developer who created a shopping destination area in an urban village on the west coast. After studying and working with famed urban planner, and author of The Pattern Language, Christopher Alexander, he (my past relationship friend) and a partner designed and developed a street that consisted of a collection of unique stores, businesses and restaurants, surrounded by housing and artists lofts. There was a synergy that created a unique energy making the area self-sustaining, approachable and very desirable. This relationship taught me a lot about not only what a successful and creative business needed, but also where a successful and creative business should be located.
I was also a working artist (painter) and teacher (art) and mother (divorced) of a teenage son, however my earliest design experience started as the daughter of a chemist who worked for a textile firm in New York City. Our dad would bring home sheets and towels that looked a lot like this:
(often designed by NY designers such as Vera and Gloria Vanderbilt) and new (at the time) things such as fiberglass chairs and other items made from experimental textiles.
These were some of the most memorable moments of my childhood – as it relates to my relationship with my dad anyway.
So when I moved to Providence, RI to open a store, I really had my dad in mind (my dad was born, raised and educated in Providence) but I also had in mind the idea of working with local talent to create and market unique and locally made products. And that’s exactly what happened.
With the wealth of talented artists coming out of the RISD textile department, I was flooded with inspired artists and inspired by the creative talent at my doorstep.
I worked with artists such as Elyse Allen, Richard Killeany, Emily Mills Reed, Phillip May, who ran the looms at RISD for years, and many others. The most productive and longest collaboration was with Cynthia Treen – an extraordinary and brilliant talent – former RISD student and Martha Stewart expat – Cynthia allowed me to realize the possibilities of creative enterprise with the use of a sewing machine (with a skilled seamstress at the helm) Don’t get me wrong, Cynthia is not JUST a highly skilled seamstress but also an amazing creative. Check out her website at Threadfollower.
Many, many thanks to everybody mentioned here and not mentioned here. You know who you are.