Yesterday I shared a look at my updated gallery wall with Simply Framed, a wall that definitely doesn’t shy from the bold or colorful. And while gallery walls tend feel very “one-and-done,” I touched upon the process of continually...
Chances are, you’ve seen some of these striking faces around the web. Done by talented Austin artist Hayley Mitchell, each of these bold, colorful pieces somehow seem to still tell a separate intriguing story. It’s easy to see how these works can be considered statement pieces in a home, and as you saw in our team office’s One Room Challenge Reveal, an original piece by Hayley simply steals the show. (And in my opinion, neutrals never looked farther from boring!)
Hayley sure knows the staying power of statement art in the home, which has a lot to do with why she loves collaborating with interior designers. But she also shared with us how knowing others find joy in her pieces is the ultimate reward. Check out our full interview with the talented lady below, go peruse her current originals, and pop over to her Etsy shop to find her prints available for purchase. Cheers, Kat
WOM: Describe your aesthetic in your own words.
KM: Vibrant and bold. I love a bright, colorful statement.
WOM: How would you say art plays a role in the design of a room?
KM: Art is like jewelry. It has the power to bring a room’s statement to fruition.
WOM: Where do you find inspiration for your pieces? KM: Everywhere! Everyday life, my kids, historical figures and various cultures around the world.
WOM: Who’s your girl crush and/or style icon?
KM: So many but Alice Temperly has my heart.
WOM: Tell us about the creative process for you. How often do you produce new pieces?
KM: I create new pieces daily. My creative process is a bit of a mess. I create and care for 3 little humans simultaneously. I take a very bohemian approach to motherhood and the creative process. All ideas start in my sketchbook. I sometimes pull from sketchbooks from years past.
WOM: Do you ever get attached to any specific pieces?
KM: Yes. I started an abstract series a year ago. I only created 5 pieces but I cannot part with any of them.
WOM: Tell us a little about your journey in pursuing your creative dreams. Had you always dreamed of being an artist? Have you hit hurdles along the way?
KM: Since childhood I’ve wanted to be an artist. At ACU I majored in graphic design. I took some time off from school to travel with my sister in Europe as she modeled. We lived near the Pompidou which was amazing. Wondering around alone in Paris was amazing but I realized my dreams of being forever single might not be for me. I met my husband Ben (from ATL) and married young (21) during the Recession and soon there after found out we were expecting. That bit of time was definitely a hurdle but it was very formative (both literally and figuratively). Within the next 3 years we had a total of 3 kids. Despite the challenges, it fostered a great amount of personal growth that inspired me to really purse my artistic career.
WOM: How has your work evolved over time?
KM: Yes and no. Most of my work (since childhood) have been faces and people.
WOM: Have you had any “pinch-me moments” or significant milestones that have helped solidify your name in the creative world?
KM: Honestly, the moments that mean the most to me are kind words from those that truly love and enjoy my work. That feedback is sunshine for the soul. Knowing that one of my pieces brings someone joy or comfort is everything.
WOM: What would your dream collaboration look like? Anyone you’re dying to team up with?
KM: I love working with interior designers! It would be a dream to work with Eddie Ross or Jonathan Adler.
Let’s just say that The Grovestreet Press, a New Orleans based letterpress and design shop, has us falling in love with snail mail again. Founders Kate and Anna are to thank for that; the best friends and cousins design and produce refreshingly tasteful greeting cards and prints that we can’t get enough of. Their Instagram, for one, is a testament to their great aesthetic…think quintessential Southern flair with irresistible preppy details. And with a peek at Nola’s charming streets and drool-worthy grub, we’re itching to go down and visit the girls STAT.
We recently sat down with Kate to hear more about what it’s really like to start a business with your best friend, how letterpress REALLY works, their favorite hotspots in Nola, and what’s next for this talented duo. Cheers, Kat
WOM: Please take us through your professional journey (how you two started, what made you think consider working together and starting your own business, how you decided on your niche, etc.). GSP: Anna and I are cousins and best friends (frousins!), and we’ve been close ever since we were little.Our moms are sisters and very close, so we grew up seeing each other every time our moms did.This created a special kind of bond that’s really the foundation of our business – we inherited our moms’ tastes and personalities, too, which is something that could never be repeated in any other type of friendship.We grew up in Lake Charles, LA, a smaller town in the ‘heel of the boot’ of Louisiana, right on the water. We both left for college.Anna studied graphic design, and I studied English.We reunited in New Orleans as adults, and combined our knowledge and shared tastes into the craft of letterpress, which we always say is where the study of design and words meet.We’ve definitely had to settle into our niche a bit over the first phase of our business.The process wasn’t so much a search for our niche, but rather culling through the many things we are drawn to and deciding to focus on one strain of it purposefully and fully.
WOM: Give us a “Letterpress for Dummies” run-down. How do you make your custom print letterpress cards? How did you learn the process?
GSP: We have two antique presses at our shop.They’re on site, right behind our retail storefront, so visitors can browse our products and have a peek at how they were created, giving our shop a museum-like quality.We explain the process to people who stop in regularly, hoping that the visitors leave with an appreciation for the craft and a basic understanding of the history of printing.One press is a Chandler & Price platen press, on which we print most of the cards – it’s a clamshell style, that opens and closes like a wide open alligator’s mouth, touching the printing plate to the paper that rests on the platen.The other, which we use mainly for our larger art prints, is a Vandercook proof press.It uses the same method (letterpress is a form of relief printing), but the paper rolls on a cylinder over the printing plate that lays flat.I know this is complicated!It’s worth looking up on YouTube to see it in action if you never have – much easier to understand visually.YouTube is actually how I first learned about letterpress (the irony in the technology!). I stumbled upon a clip of a press in Massachusetts printing the cover of a book, and I was mesmerized. I remember emailing the link to Anna right then, saying “when we go into business, this is how we’ll print our cards!”Anna doesn’t really remember this… but so it goes 🙂
My mom was at the vet in their hometown not too long after I fell in love with the idea of printing, and she mentioned the new interest to the vet’s wife – mainly out of general interest, because her father had been a commercial printer. She paused and said “well, we actually have an old press here!At the vet’s office!We’ve held onto it for sentimental reasons, but Kate can have it if she’ll use it.”And sure enough, under a stack of cat crates, there was an a Chandler & Price press. I spent the following summer refurbishing it and teaching myself about its operation.
Long story short: I moved to Chicago for a couple of years, where I apprenticed under a typsetter and printer at a popular printship, while Anna was finishing college. I was ready to come back to the South and be closer to my family, andso, once Anna was done with school, we both found ourselves in New Orleans.It was sort of on a whim that we decided to give the business a go, but it turned out to be a very happy whim!
WOM: We’ve loved discovering you and keeping up with your success in the press over the past couple of years. When did you realize that GSP had “made it”? Was there one moment when you realized this was all going to be a hit, or were there a bunch of little moments?
GSP: Definitely a bunch of little moments!We’ve made a lot of connections over Instagram, which has been really wonderful for us.Some of those little moments are just having a big insta-name start following up,and some are big press opportunities.We had a small feature in Country Living right when we were getting off the ground, and it was incredibly surreal.So surreal, in fact, that we didn’t even remember to tell our moms! My mom called me in happy tears from the jetway in an airplane after landing, after having stumbled across the feature while reading magazines during her flight.
WOM: Where do you find inspiration for your cards?
GSP: As I mentioned before, we really edited our tastes and consciously chose a direction / “feel” that we wanted to give with our designs.Our moms are both collectors of American antiques, and we’ve been inspired by the classic style of New Orleans in our time here, so the American heritage style is what we were drawn to more than any other.We often say that our designs are Americana vintage with a little quirk.
WOM:We’re BIG advocates of snail mail here at WOM. Could you two narrow it down to a favorite card to send (probably impossible, we know!)?
GSP: That is really tough!Our cocktail cards are our most popular right now (and we have another coming out soon!), but I think our favorite will always be our pup Mildred, riding in the car, with the caption ‘She understands Sit and Stay; She simply prefers to roam.’It’s just a general greeting card, which means that it would be sent with no particular purpose other than just telling a loved one hello – a sentiment we also really love and want to encourage.
WOM: What’s the craziest time of year for you guys? GSP: We gave up custom work a little bit ago to focus on expanding our retail line, which means that the busyness has been steady.
WOM: Is there a specific way you like to fill your “creativity tanks”? Favorite way to unwind after a workday? GSP: The Old Fashioned is the signature cocktail of GSP, and we have an ongoing Old Fashioned taste test going on.It’s always our go-to when trying a new bar, so we can rate it against others, and we’ll often stop for one on our way home after a workday, or get one at the bar next door to the shop when we need help making decisions towards the end of the day.
We both love New Orleans so, so much, and we don’t ever want to get jaded at what a gem of a city we live in.When we need to fill our creativity tanks, we’ll often make a trip to a beautiful part of the city in the name of taking an Instagram photo or coffee break and try to step back, appreciate the architecture and history, and relax surrounded by it.
WOM: How has balancing friendship and entrepreneurship been so far with your success?
GSP: Our friendship is the reason for our success!Being able to be completely candid with the person you work closely with is the most important.I’m not afraid to tell Anna when I don’t like one of her designs, and she’s not shy to tell me that she thinks a picture I’ve taken is boring.We’ll sit in silence at the shop for hours, if one of us can tell that the other is annoyed or tired and needs quiet time.Enjoying each other’s company outside of the shop, too, when we’re ‘refilling our creativity tanks’ adds so much – we can reference experiences and travels we share when we’re working, and we know exactly what makes the other tick.
WOM: What bumps have you hit along the way?
GSP: So, so many.We taught ourselves most of what we now know – about the specifics of stationery production and the ins and outs of business licenses and the such.We’ve experienced all the missteps that come with being self-taught.I don’t know what we were thinking, but we didn’t even think to buy envelopes for our first card show!It’s little things like that – Anna having to learn a new way to digitize her sketches and figuring out the complex world of shipping methods.And bigger things – rearranging 1500 lb presses to accommodate a retail storefront in what was just going to be a studio space, or deciding to step away from wedding invitations.It’s all been a process, with decisions often made because we were faced with a bump in the road. Just like that C.S. Lewis quote: “Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn.”
WOM: Unfortunately in the creative industry, there can be a lot of copy-cats. Have you had to deal with any?
GSP: Not many, thankfully!At least not many that we’re aware of… yet.We did have one little incident with a recreation of a tote we designed for West Elm, but it was for someone’s wedding, not for resale.I’m hoping it stays this way!
WOM: What are your tips to others starting out on the same path as you did? GSP: We hear the word ‘passion’ thrown around a lot in the creative industry, and I kind of hate it.Following your passion is a terrible idea! We are fortunate that things lined up the way we did that allowed us to explore the small business world, but at the end of the day, it’s still work.And work should be difficult.Your passion needs to be tempered by reason – the decision to start a business should be a prudent one, with the advice and help of many people.You’ll fall out of love with something and become disheartened quickly if you don’t think about it as work, something that requires trudging through rough patches.
WOM: Anything new and exciting coming down the pipeline this year? Anything you can slip on what’s next for GSP? GSP: There’s lots were excited about.We’re continuing to expand our card line, but we’ll also be introducing our first non-paper items into our regular wares.We have a set of Southern Saying felt pennants on order that we designed and are going to test on the market.We have plans for totes, tea towels, notebooks, and other little gifty items.
WOM: And because we can’t NOT ask: what are your favorite Nola hotspots and must-try restaurants?
GSP: New Orleans is just bustling right now.It feels like there is some highly anticipated restaurant opening every week!The New Orleans classics that have been around forever are classics for a reason, though, and shouldn’t be ignored.Commander’s Palace and Galatoire’s, for instance, are worth the splurge. You also get a little ticket to time travel when you visit for a meal – they transport you back in time to old New Orleans.Fresher favorites: Cochon Butcher is right around the corner from our shop, and we recommend it to every hungry passerby who’s famished after a long Garden District walk.Willa Jean is in the new South Market Shopping district not too far from us, too.They serve updated Southern favorites (amazing biscuits!) and have a drink called Frosé Y’all, a frozen rosé cocktail.
WOM: Oh! And one last one we promise…favorite Instagram accounts to follow?
GSP:Our best insta-pal is @JackieGreaney.We met her through the ‘gram, took a trip to Rhode Island with her to visit @kjp and @sarahkjp, and we’ve stayed in touch ever since.@Lsteffan has a great eye for capturing New Orleans architecture, and we’re super excited for @ernapier‘s big debut on HGTV!
The second that MKR rocked her kilim chukka boots in this outfit post, I knew I had to know more about them and how to get my hands on a pair. She introduced me to Res Ipsa, a local Atlanta company that’s crafting these stunning one-of-a-kind shoes, all handmade from 100-year-old rugs. The company was founded by Joshua Moore and Odini Gogo, a brilliantly stylish duo that knows just how much we all need a pair of comfortable, long-lasting statement shoes in our lives. We recently sat down with the two to hear more behind Res Ipsa‘s journey, their ever-growing product offering and how they continue to source and create truly beautiful handmade products. Cheers, Kat
WOM: Please walk us through your professional journey: an initial dream, how you first started, what made you want to create the company, etc. RI: We started off making ties that we could wear to work. We are both lawyers, and we were frustrated that we couldn’t find neckties that were exactly 3-inches wide (what we call the midpoint between “Get off my lawn!” and hipster). A chance encounter with a manufacturer in Turkey while we were on a fabric-sourcing trip to Istanbul expanded our focus to kilim (hand-woven Turkish rugs) and other interesting fabrics that we could use to re-interpret classic designs like dress slippers, weekend bags, and dopp kits.
WOM: We absolutely love your unique name, and its meaning in Latin for “the thing speaks for itself.” Can you share a little about why you chose the Res Ipsa name, and what it means for the company? RI: The Res Ipsa name comes from the Latin phrase res ipsa loquitur meaning, “the thing speaks for itself.” Every first year law student learns the phrase, so it was a subtle nod to our former day jobs. The doctrine of res ipsa loquitur was first applied in the English tort law case Byrne v Boadle (1863). In that case, the court ruled for the injured plaintiff when a barrel of flour fell from a second-story loft and hit him on his head. The court ruled negligence was res ipsa loquitur. Because the facts were so obvious, there was no need to provide further explanation—the thing spoke for itself.
WOM: Describe Res Ipsa‘s customer…Who is he? Who is she? RI: We make products for modern traditionalists. We make timely updates to timeless styles. Our customer is not defined by his or her age–our customers are persons of style who have earned the respect of others through their classic and confident approach to fashion. They need a brand to cut through the clutter, offering high quality, classic apparel that adds new flare to their arsenal.
WOM: It’s obvious to see that your gorgeous designs are inspired by your travels around the world, and well, we have a major case of wanderlust here at WOM! Do you have a favorite city, country, hot spot? RI: Our favorite place to visit is the next one. There are so many amazing places in the world, we look forward to the thrill of the unknown from some place we haven’t been yet. But of the places we’ve been in 2015, we really love Istanbul for its mix of old and new–a major European city that still has an ancient rhythm. We also love Vienna–every bit as over-the-top and fabulous as Paris, with an under-the-radar charm that sneaks up on you.
WOM: We talk a lot about wardrobe essentials here on WOM, and we’re big proponents of quality pieces that make a statement. Do you have any style advice for wearing one of your unique designs? RI: Saving your favorite pieces for special occasions robs you of the joy of wearing what you enjoy most. If you have something you really like–and we hope our one-of-a-kind loafers fall into this category–wear it every chance you get. Make it a signature piece. And when you’ve worn it out, if that day ever comes, you will have endless memories from how you got to that point.
WOM: With each pair of shoes and each bag handmade and one-of-a-kind, it’s easy to see Res Ipsa‘s dedication to lasting quality. What challenges, if any, have you faced to keep your brand standard so high? RI: Everything we make is completely by hand from skilled artists with years of experience. Plus, we source our raw materials from all over the world. Handmade products take time, and so does assembling a collection with materials from three continents. Our products are an incredible value, but our prices are not as low as disposable, one-and-done fast fashion brands (you know who they are) but ours will last much, much longer.
WOM: Can we expect any new additions to the Res Ipsa offering? The WOM team is crushing on the weekenders, and of course the bold Kilim loafers are easy favorites. RI: We are always working to expand our product mix or re-interpret existing shapes with interesting materials. Our fall collection featured Harris Tweed, and our spring collection features lightweight fabrics like linen. We are working on a prototype of a backpack, and a small ladies bag that is larger than a clutch by smaller than a tote bag.
WOM: We know first-time customers will want to try on a few designs…where can they go to do that? RI: Our products are in over forty stores. In Atlanta, you can see them in person at H. Stockton (four locations). We are also working on opening a showroom in Inman Park/Old Fourth Ward.