“When people began stopping me on the street to ask where my shoes and bag were from, I knew I had a good thing going.”
In a few words, describe yourself and your practice.
My official title is Flying Carpet Collector! My company, Artemis Design Co. is best known for making smoking slippers out of antique Turkish carpets and other incredible textiles. I do all of the textile sourcing, design, and branding for Artemis.
Artemis is the Greek Goddess of the hunt, and the theme of hunting ties into our mission to find and use the most unique textiles from around the world and create beautiful one of a kind accessories. Since “hunting” bazaars, marketplaces and obscure parts of the world for these fabulous textiles is such a big part of what we do, we thought that Artemis, the huntress would be a perfect symbol for our company.
“I was really lucky that my parents were so supportive of what I wanted to do, and had an “of course you’ll start a business” attitude during my childhood.”
What’s your creative background?
I grew up painting, drawing, sewing and creating everything and anything that sparked my interest. My senior project in high school was self-designed and I created a collection of womenswear. That was my first step into fashion, and I loved every minute of it. I went on to study Art History and French at Rollins College. During this time I interned at the Morse Museum and Galerie Maeght in Paris which served as a good education in art and design. My working life took me to NYC where I worked at an art gallery in NYC, and Le Labo, an incredible perfumery where I was again encouraged to nurture my creativity in designing window displays. I moved back to my hometown of Boston and attended the Boston Architectural College for Interior Design.
Is Artemis your main source of income?
Yes. I work at Artemis full time, and we employ 3 incredible professional women full time.
HOW IMPORTANT IS TRAVEL FOR YOU AND YOUR PRACTICE?
Extremely important! I travel to Turkey at least 3 times per year, and Morocco once per year. Since we make our products abroad, it is important to visit our artisans regularly.
Favorite experience in your career?
The highlights of my career at Artemis have been creating a children’s book for adults, which can be seen here and it also comes in physical form as a free gift to anyone who orders something from our site; anytime that I get to travel to the countries where we source our materials; working with the incredible women who are on our team, our amazing customers (we really have the best customers on earth), and all of the industry friends that I have made along the way.
What makes you excited about work?
I absolutely love our products. Opening the boxes that come in from our suppliers never ever gets old! Meeting customers and seeing them fall in love with the products is extremely rewarding.
DESCRIBE YOUR AVERAGE CUSTOMER.
We don’t really have an average customer in terms of age, gender, or style. I would say that the unifying theme of our customers is that they are worldly, interesting, and not boring in their style at all.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE SOMEONE ASPIRING TO DO WHAT YOU DO?
Just get started! Don’t worry about having everything lined up perfectly because it never will be. You will learn along the way.
How did you come up with the idea for your business?
Kilim has been used for shoes, bags, and a multitude of other accessories for centuries in Turkey and the middle East. Whereas we would never dream of taking our beautiful carpets and kilims to the cutting board; kilim is so plentiful in that part of the world that it is natural for them to recycle and repurpose the old carpets. I thought that taking that concept and changing the Turkish Kilim style shoes and bags with modern designs would be a great way to bring the style to fashionable American women and men. I started out making a very small batch of women’s and men’s kilim shoes and bags and they sold out quickly. When people began stopping me on the street to ask where my shoes and bag were from, I knew I had a good thing going.
Do you have any important routines that help you with productivity?
When I’m home I have certain rituals that I love (and I think help with overall productivity and happiness!). Coffee with my husband in the morning. In the evening, going to bed pretty early, leaving my cell phone in another room, and reading a real book. I also received an essential oil diffuser, which is so nice before bedtime. It puts me right to sleep!
What are your challenges in your practice?
Language and cultural barriers with some of the artisans we work with can be challenging. And we have typical business challenges, like cash flow.
Who (or what) inspires you?
Textiles, nature, travel, and most of all the women and men who wear our products.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO YOU TO OWN A BUSINESS AS A WOMAN?
I feel incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to create my own little “ecosystem” in which good work, honesty and kindness are what earn a team member respect and advancement. This has less to do with me being a woman, and more to do with me creating the kind of comfortable work environment that my employees and I can thrive in.
Was there any particular person who helped you shaped your career? Tell us about them.
I was really lucky that my parents were so supportive of what I wanted to do, and had an “of course you’ll start a business” attitude during my childhood. Neither of them graduated college, but both started and owned successful businesses. Since I grew up in that environment, owning a business and having a creative career never seemed like something that was a far off or unattainable dream.
My mom has come on countless trips with me and has been a guiding force creatively and incredibly supportive of everything that I do. My former bosses, Jacoba Urist (an art journalist), and Fabrice Penot (co-founder of Le Labo) have been incredibly helpful in giving me great advice along the way.
What is the most useful tip you’ve ever been given?
I read a quote that came to me during a difficult time work wise and I always think of it when I’m struggling or working on some mundane task. “If you’re going through hell, keep going”- Winston Churchill
Another quote that I love and think about a lot-
“The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who'll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you. If you're sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction. Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that's almost never the case.” - Chuck Close
What are you currently working on?
We are working on a new design/style for a kilim shoe! We are also working on creating another book. We enjoyed making the first one so much, that we will hopefully come out with another in 2018 or 2019.