I woke up at 5:30 and read the news on Twitter, checked The Curated Group email to catch up on some of my side projects, took a quick look at my FLOR email to make sure I wasnʼt in for any surprises at the office, grabbed coffee, and got ready. Iʼm just back from a trip to Italy, so my already lengthy morning process has only been elongated by having all of these new luxurious lotions and potions to play with. Iʼm obsessed with this make-up line I discovered in Florence, called Kiko. Listened to Glen Hansardʼs album on the way downtown. Heʼs definitely my celebrity crush. Got to work at 8:30. Iʼve been at FLOR for a year as their Director of Retail Operations, and weʼve opened stores all over the country this past year, so I have really gotten back to my road-warrior roots. I traveled over 100k miles this year domestically, which felt a little bit insane, but I like adventures and have loved getting to know our store teams. This morningʼs meetings were all about finalizing our 2013 strategy, closing the books on 2012, and getting ready to launch our new product lineup. The first copies of our new catalogue were delivered to our desks this morning, and I think it is really beautiful. I love seeing how other people live, and I think the creative team does an incredible job of using real homes to highlight our product. Iʼm also really excited because page 42 of the catalogue features my dog, Ivy. I guess that makes me a newly minted stage mother.
Over lunch, I checked my personal email, read more news on Twitter, and got my work schedule for Greer. I moonlight at the store two times a month or so. It keeps me on the front lines, which is really important to me since I donʼt get to work directly with customers as often as I used to. I never want to lose sight of what it feels like to work with clients in a brick and mortar environment, and it also gives me an excuse to work in what I think is the most beautifully curated stationery store in the country and spend time with the owner, my dear friend, Chandra Greer, who has been a really important mentor for me. The Greer girl team (there are five of us) is like a family, and even though it sometimes means I work a six or seven-day work week, I wouldnʼt trade it for anything. After lunch I met with a Chicago FLOR Sales Consultant/Designer, Katie Schoen, who is helping me execute the designs for the flooring of the stage and outdoor areas for TEDActive in Palm Springs. Iʼve been attending the TED conference on and off since 2008, when I went as part of my job at Vosges Haut-Chocolat. Itʼs one of my favorite weeks of the year, and I am really looking forward to representing FLOR there in February. It is definitely the most concentrated dose of inspiration I get, and Iʼve met some of the most important people in my life there…so I have high expectations.
At 5:30 I was out the door to 826CHI, which is a center that provides free after-school tutoring, workshops, and field trips. It was founded by Dave Eggers, so the focus of the center is on creative writing, and it is such a gift to have a chapter in Chicago. Iʼve been on the Board since 2010, after volunteering for two years as a workshop instructor. I think I was mostly asked to join so that I could help advise the retail store that sits in front of the tutoring center, The Boring Store. Truth be told, the manager, Molly Walsh, is always teaching me new tricks. Iʼve been in retail since I was 14, and in 25 years I have rarely encountered a manager with intuition like hers. At 8 I rushed home to have a Skype call with Joey Colando, a singer-songwriter in Portland. Weʼre working on a project together called Circuses and Funerals. At 9 I made dinner, which I love to do. Since I am rarely in town these days, being in my own kitchen feels like a luxury. Now I am going to catch up on personal email and then work on the cards I have been designing for Greer. I have promised her (and myself) that she will be my only client to make sure it stays fun and doesnʼt end up being a job. I feel really honored that she bought them for the store, and it takes all of my willpower not to clap when I ring one up. I spend a little bit of time writing before bed (journal, letters, thank youʼs) and fall asleep to a movie on Netflix with Ivy snoring.
Three Last Things…
What’s up with that necklace? Aren’t you afraid of strangling yourself in your sleep?
My Grandfather was a jeweler, so it comes naturally that I believe that there is no occasion that one should be without jewelry, including bed and photo shoots. Actually, I don’t sleep in it, but I do wear it a lot. Parts of it were a gift from someone who figured into my life in an important way this year. The rest are beads and trinkets I’ve added as I’ve traveled. Very special to me. Lots of memories wrapped up in it.
2. Circuses and Funerals sounds both creepy and cool. What’s the project all about?
It’s a semi-autobiographical and semi-not-at-all-autobiographical exchange of letters and songs that will end up as a book and companion album. I’m obsessed with reading artists’ letters, and I still really miss mix tapes, so this is the cure for that obsession and nostalgia. I’ve always dreamed of going on a book tour, so hopefully we’ll be able to sell it and hit the road. I thought of the idea when I was at Burning Man this summer, and I’m glad I was able to convince Joey to create it with me. The title Circuses and Funerals is a reference to the summer of 1989, which I spent living in the USSR, and a nod to the name of a collection by one of my favorite clothing designers, Ray Harris.
3. You said you promised to only sell your line to Greer. What store could convince you to break your vow? There has to be one you dream about.
There are two. Am I allowed to choose two? My Mother’s beautiful store in DC, Upstairs on 7th, and Merci in Paris. I love my Mama, and I am obsessed with Merci.