lily spindle blog

SHAPERS /// KELLY NEWFIELD, Founder of DRESSMAKER + VOLUNTEER

Kelly Newfield is an artist, clothing designer, creator of bespoke cushions, and loving momma to Vida and Clara, two sweet old lady pit bulls, in no particular order of importance. Because Los Angeles animal rescue is essentially a massive Venn diagram and we're basically six degrees  removed from "that overweight black lab relinquished at South LA Shelter" (specific shelter dog reference subject to change), we frequently cross paths with others sharing our obsessions for all wonderful things dog and design. Naturally, Kelly's newest creative project, Dressmaker - designing and producing hand-dyed, cut, and sewn one-of-a-kind luxury pillows, immediately had us both intrigued and salivating like lunatics because we want ALL THE DRESSMAKER THINGS, people. 

Kelly graciously took a few moments away from creating her stunning, sophisticated pillows in her Pomona studio to divulge what's currently on her nightstand, how we can live a beautiful life with our dogs, and her theory on "trends." Thank you so much, Kelly, for agreeing to be a part of our ongoing SHAPERS profiles featuring extraordinary doers and makers ! We dig you and all your gorgeous textile ingenuity.

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Were you the kid always stitching up awesome outfits for yourself and your friends? How did you transition from clothing to home decor/pillows? Do you feel there's a comprehensive overlap of these two types of couture craftsmanship?

I did start altering my clothing from an early age, I think out of a need to create and self-express.  The cushion project came about out of necessity (as most things do).  I made some velveteen cushions for my living room, and thought, I like these, maybe someone else would like these, too.  Also the idea of being able to experiment with textiles, without the limitations that come with clothing (wearable colors, sizes, etc)…is very appealing.  Craft, quality and integrity of design are profoundly important to me.  Making things one at a time, slowly and thoughtfully.   Designing and making things has always been therapeutic for me.  It doesn't really matter what it is; a dress, a room, a meal, a garden.  I have this irritating habit of redesigning (in my head, of course) the front yards of the houses that I drive past in my neighborhood.  


       Just a coupla' cute old ladies from Los Angeles' animal shelters, enjoying their best lives. 

       Just a coupla' cute old ladies from Los Angeles' animal shelters, enjoying their best lives. 


As a dog momma, what's your advice to people who feel like they "can't have nice things" because they have a dog?  

Adopt adult dogs, and set boundaries.  Never give a new dog the run of the house, let them earn their privileges  Dogs are smart, they’ll get it quickly if it’s presented clearly.  

Also, being somewhat flexible (about everything, really) is helpful.  Don’t get upset if someone vomits on the rug, or sneezes on a freshly painted wall, just deal with it and move on.

                                                                 It's a beautiful life. 

                                                                 It's a beautiful life. 


Are you a morning person or a night owl?

Night owl but I've had to adapt.  My husband makes breakfast for the dogs.  It’s best (for everyone!) if no one tries to communicate anything important to me before 8am. 


What's on your bedside table right now?

Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea and the Deep Origins of Consciousness, by Peter Godfrey-Smith, Being a Beast: Adventures Across the Species Divide, by Charles Foster, and The Developing Genome by David S. Moore.  I am fortunate that my husband  brings home a stream of fascinating books.


Name your three favorite textile colors. 

I favor cool, moody colors, my working colors could be considered a “bruise” palette: combinations of weird greens, chartreuse, blue violet, greys from dove to charcoal, and of course black.

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Do you foresee any particular, imminent trends in the home decor industry? 

I go out of my way to avoid trends. Even the word “trend” bothers me, and don’t even get me started on “trending”.  I am happiest when the things that I like (Victorian, Spanish Revival) are not in style and I can find them easily and marked-down in the antique shops.  The same goes for designing clothing.  Ideas will naturally evolve from season to season.  Try to incorporate trends and you will quickly lose your way and your own vision.


MORE KELLY SCOOP: I am from Los Angeles.  My husband and I moved from Mid-city LA to a historic home in Pomona, Ca a few years ago to be closer to his professor job at Pitzer College in Claremont. I went to art school and am mostly self-taught as far as clothing design.  I have been designing, manufacturing, and selling wholesale to specialty boutiques and better department stores for 25 years – mostly women's clothing, and mostly for my own label.  My current label for clothing is Volunteer, although lately I have been focusing more on the cushions, and working on restoring/furnishing/painting our old house.  My 98 year old mother also lives with us.   I have been involved with animal rescue in LA for the past 15 years and we have two seniors, Vida (from East Valley Shelter) and Clara (Inland Valley Humane Society).  My girls share my workspace. They are sweet and hilarious and good at reminding me daily about what is actually important.


*Lily Spindle's SHAPERS profiles the people whom we consider to be remarkable movers and shakers, doers and dreamers, trailblazers and big thinkers, the people who are doing things a little bit differently and unconventionally, with immense heart, passion, and authenticity. Artists, designers, writers, philanthropists, iconoclasts, artisans, heroines, voyagers, and all kinds of extraordinary extraordinaires will be interviewed in our SHAPERS series.

The Lily Spindle + Rita Earl Blackwell photoshoot

We knew it was time to recreate our website. A lot had happened with Lily Spindle in nearly three years and I was like, "jeez, my hair is so much shorter now" and Deb was like, "yeah, my hair is so much blonder now" and, of MUCH greater importance than our respective coiffures, Lily Spindle had new/different projects we wanted to share! A vital element of the reboot was in finding a photographer in Los Angeles who was able to snap photographs of us, our dogs, and us WITH our dogs. The photographer would need to be 100% comfortable around multiple dogs of varying sizes and mixed breeds, would be able to capture the relationship of said dogs with their people, and would need to be gifted in snapping portraits in which the subject didn't appear strained or awkward (and, in my personal case, not looking like a strangely gesticulating, raging lunatic). Deb and I threw a few names around - all photographers we adore and revere, each of them gifted and talented and incredible. But one particular photographer's name kept coming up - Rita Earl Blackwell.

Here's a bit of scoop on Rita Earl Blackwell:
A native New Yorker, she's lived in Los Angeles for 25 years, but her accent is so strong people have a difficult time placing it (seriously - I overheard someone ask her if she was Australian). She says she's had a camera in her hand for as long as she can remember. A devoted animal lover and advocate (as well as a senior dog mom and hospice dog foster), Rita rescued her first dog in California back in 2006 and soon realized there was a way in which she could give back to the rescue community ("without adopting them all," she jokes). Thusly, she donates her photography services to "shelters, rescue groups, and any animal in need." Oh, and this is how gorgeous and sweet she is with the (now deceased) fur babes, Jujubee and Fiona:

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I was familiar with Rita's photography namely because I'd seen RITA EARL PHOTOGRAPHY watermarked on countless fabulous photos of adoptable dogs and cats available at various Southern California-based shelters and animal rescues (Angel City Pit Bulls among them - they're awesome!). Deb met her when Rita was photographing for Dawg Squad and Deb was handling a new Dawg Squad addition - South LA Shelter dog named Darwin (formerly Frankie). And, last month, I'd seen Rita's handiwork myself at an A Purposeful Rescue adoption event. In short, the two of us knew Rita's way with animals is truly magical. But her way with humans is pretty magical, too. Lively, carefree, enthusiastic, with what borders on Job-like patience...

Fast forward to now...and here are a few snaps from our shoot! It was madness. Hilarious madness. We were scurrying around in 4" heels and dresses, herding seven dogs (go here to see our respective crews!), sweating our chimichangas off in an oppressive heatwave, gulping champagne, and trying not to appear crazed and anything more than intentionally "dewy." Our husbands, by the way, were on hand to help handle the dogs, but mostly they sat together sipping beers, discussing art and surf. (Love you guys.)

Rita was amazing through it all.
Lovely. Joyous. Persistent. Unflappable. And every one of our dogs immediately adored her, of course. 

This fantastic woman deserves a medal.
Or some kind of shiny trophy.
Or a stone bench in Los Angeles's Grand Park extolling her gifts and altruism.

(PSSSTTTTT . . . you can contact her right here for your very own unforgettable, sweet, and hilarious photo session!)

And, as a tribute to our usual SHAPERS' q+a features, here's a lickety split rapid fire round of just a few questions:

LS: Who are your top three all-time favorite photographers?
Rita: Inspired by and in awe of: Amanda Jones, Kristie Lee, and Sophie Gamand.

LS: Are you a morning person or a night owl?
Rita: My dogs make me a morning person. ;)

LS: Could you share one special trick for getting an excellent pet portrait?
Rita: There's a few, but just one would have to be having soft + smelly treats on hand. And lots of 'em!

LS: Describe the traits of an elderly dog that makes them especially amazing. 
Rita: Their ability to chill and enjoy every minute of it. 

 

 

Dogs + design forever

SO MANY THANKS to Jennifer Herrera, the ingenius founder of shopdogshopcat for featuring us during her Interiors week! Says Jennifer, "It's tempting to love LA-based design duo Lily Spindle simply because they're dog lovers.  Even if you don't hear about them through the rescue community (like we did) - it doesn't take much research to notice their penchant for the four legged kind. BUT - to love them simply because they love dogs is to entirely miss all the other things that make them special."

Click the link to read the rest of her kind words and check out some of our past projects, one of which features a pretty adorable little custom A-frame dog house and mid-century modern slat fence we created for a client and their blind chihuahua Annie last year.

Why do we go to such great lengths to make life for our furry friends so seamlessly and stylishly merged with our own and, in turn, for our clients? Because they are, without question, family. They make our lives better. Happier. Richer. Fuller. Sweeter. As Andrew Tuck writes in The Monocle Guide to Cosy Homes (a gorgeous and excellent book, btw), "Dogs make a house a home; make it cosy. They add vitality. They add humour, kindness, comedy, and mischief. And they can be budding geniuses, too." 

Miss Bella the rescue pup being beautiful in "her" (um, her parents') newly Lily Spindled bedroom. 

Miss Bella the rescue pup being beautiful in "her" (um, her parents') newly Lily Spindled bedroom. 

The Art of Collecting and the Collecting of Art

Ownership is the most intimate relationship one can have to objects. Not that they come alive in him; it is he who comes alive in them.”   -Walter Benjamin
 

Here at Lily Spindle we’ve been thinking about collecting lately. Let me begin by saying that we LOVE collecting, if that’s not already obvious. You only have to look around our respective abodes to find carefully curated collections, from colorful midcentury pitchers to awesomely awkward vintage paintings to the sculptural ceramics of Nancy Wright.  And it’s our belief that if ONE of something is wonderful, then TEN variations are even more amazing! Just witness the eleven rescue dogs and cats that Rebecca and I have between us (but hoarding is whole other blog post!)  So when does this urge to amass start?  Is it there from the very beginning like some dormant genetic code waiting to be awakened?  Clearly we all do it.  Who hasn’t gathered pretty shells on the beach or an assortment of the fanciest marbles, or maybe stamps or coins? Let's face it, collecting is just plain fun or the “American Pickers” TV show wouldn’t be on Season 16! 

Collecting does satisfy some basic human needs and has tangible benefits too: appreciation of beauty or eccentricity, the quest for esoteric knowledge,  pride of ownership and relaxation.  Collecting may be inspired by nostalgia (one of my triggers), competitiveness (fun for some), investment or the thrill of the find.

No matter the reason for doing it, a well-honed collection can be the pièce de résistance in any room.  Whether it’s a row of vintage portraits down a long hallway, a grouping of Fat Lava Vases on a credenza or an assemblage of vintage surfboards, we at Lily Spindle believe that a good collection is transcendent and meaningful.  It's a reflection of the collector's passions and conveys personality, connoisseurship, warmth and charm.   And collecting isn't just the privilege reserved for the select few.  The value is in the joy it brings to the collector.

So why not get started on a collection of your own? Trust me - you're going to find it hard to control the ensuing obsession.  But here are some Lily Spindle tips to guide you.

xx-Debra

 

BE TRUE TO YOUR TASTES

Do you have a favorite genre? Landscapes, seascapes, portraits? Pick a single subject or artistic style and explore the heck out of it.  You won’t believe how many different ways artists see the same thing!  P.S. A salon-style hanging of kindred paintings is an excellent way to make a collection of small pieces work for you in a BIG way.

A   Low Brow Art Collection of Paint-by-numbers Dog paintings    

A Low Brow Art Collection of Paint-by-numbers Dog paintings

 

MIX AND MATCH

Collect objects that have the same function but take many different forms.  Sometimes the differences are subtle but the possibilities are endless!

                        Teapots- short and stout, English, Asian, new and old.

                        Teapots- short and stout, English, Asian, new and old.

                 Gorgeous toile trays become wall art.

                 Gorgeous toile trays become wall art.

REDISCOVER AND REPURPOSE

There's tremendous beauty to be found in pedestrian objects that have outlived their usefulness.  Imagine new ways to display and highlight the loveliness of ordinary things.

                                 Glass fishing floats become a hanging garden .

                                 Glass fishing floats become a hanging garden.

                      An ascending installation of vintage wood shoe forms.

                      An ascending installation of vintage wood shoe forms.

SUPPORT CONTEMPORARY ARTISTS

Are you curious about the art of our times but you need help understanding it? Talk to art professionals- gallerists and art consultants can provide guidance including us at Lily Spindle with over 20 years experience in the contemporary art world.  Museums have collector membership groups that explore the local artist community.  Collecting contemporary art is very rewarding and the acquisitions can be a strong complement to modern décor. 

                     Jean-Michel Basquiat and Damien Hirst feature prominently                                           in this collection of heavy hitters.

                     Jean-Michel Basquiat and Damien Hirst feature prominently
                                       in this collection of heavy hitters.

7 Tips to Living Well with Our Beloved Beasts

In Lily Spindle's opinion, life is bigger, kinder, funnier, more compassionate and selfless when it's shared with our furry friends. But, let's admit it - life with animals is also messier, hairier, and smellier. We make concessions in order to share our lives and homes, sofas and beds with these cozy, stinky creatures we've deemed irreplaceable members of our family, so here are seven quick tips to living well with our beloved beasts, from the right kind of rugs to the very best all-organic odor eliminator I always keep on hand.

And feel free to share your own tips with us at info@lilyspindle.com! 

xx - Rebecca

image source: flickr/rachelmargaret

image source: flickr/rachelmargaret

#1 - GET YOUR BED SORTED ::
I know there are mixed opinions as to whether or not we should let our darling, hairy quadrupeds sleep in our beds with us, but, hey, we're not ones to argue against it. Some are able to train their pets to, at the very least, sleep on top of the covers, at the foot of the bed. I've no idea what that's like, personally, but bravo to them! Washable cotton sheets are best, especially if they've got a bit of a pattern to hide the pet hair. Duvet covers are excellent, as you can keep your comforter protected and just keep washing up the duvet, but I personally swear by a cotton coverlet with texture and color, as it's usually super durable and can withstand not only countless washings but the day in/day out of pet life! I had a gorgeous one from Matteo, but it conked out after less than a year; Pine Cone Hill's matelasses are awesome, however, as are Area Home's 

image source: Getty

image source: Getty

#2 - STAIN RESISTANT UPHOLSTERIES RULE THE ROOST ::
Forego the silks, satins, and velvets and err on the side of caution and durability when it comes to upholstery. Leather (or pleather) is truly the hardiest, but I've been told many, many times over that microfiber is a miraculous fabric. That said, I've yet to find one I love, but never say never! With cotton/poly/linen mix upholsteries, gravitate towards the tightly woven, more dense fabrics, preferably with texture and pattern to camouflage the hair accumulation and inevitable accidents. William Wegman created a line of dog-proof Crypton fabrics I've heard are incredible, too, and if the king of the Weimaraners says his upholstery is dog-proof, it most likely is! 

PRO TIP: I am absolutely in love with the Clean and Green Odor Eliminator Spray. The opposite of Febreez, which makes me gag forever and ever, this stuff is toxin-free and simply REMOVES the scent of pups, kitties, et cetera. Your furniture will smell like NOTHING after you've sprayed it - no cover-up scent and no poisonous chemicals! I buy mine at Rainbow Acres in Culver City, though they're oftentimes sold out, so you can get it online here

image source:  LA Dog Co

image source: LA Dog Co

#3 - HARD FLOORS ARE THE WAY TO GO ::
I think it's clear that wall-to-wall carpeting is a bad idea pretty muchall of the time, but it's most regrettable when animals are involved. Hardwood floors are best, as they're timeless, warm, and easy to adorn with accent rugs; concrete is good,as well, and terrazzo and brick is pretty spectacular; cork is lovely, too, but is vulnerable to the tearing and ripping from the claws of both cats and dogs. Ceramic tile is totally impervious to animal life - easy to wash up and animals love it, as it's always cooler in temperature. 

#4 - SUCK IT UP :: 
Get a vacuum you love so that it doesn't feel like an irritating hassle of a chore because having pets means lots of vacuuming - it's that simple. Your vacuum should be powerful, fast, and simple to navigate around your pad. I love our Dyson Ball, but have heard a zillion good things about the Dyson Animal. And it can't hurt to get an air purifier to collect all those allergens, pollutants, and animal dander. 

Our clients' own adorables, Mack and Baxter, perched by their new dining room kilim, patiently watching and waiting for their Mum to get home.  

Our clients' own adorables, Mack and Baxter, perched by their new dining room kilim, patiently watching and waiting for their Mum to get home.  

#5 - RUGGIN' IT ::
Cowhides are pretty much the easiest, most durable things to adorn your hardwood floor, but we have lots of vegan clients who understandably can't imagine throwing animal hides on their floors, so your next best bet is a low-pile wool kilim -- you can shake 'em out, vacuum them up, and spot-cleaning is a breeze. Sisals and jutes are challenging, as they're quite porous and break down quickly (and have you ever tried to clean cat vomit from the grip of a jute rug? It's impossible!). The newfangled synthetic sisals and seagrasses are totally stain-resistant, can be scrubbed with most household cleaners, and are able to be steam-cleaned, to boot!

image source: Pinterest/Bloglovin'

image source: Pinterest/Bloglovin'

#6 - THROWS + COVERS TO SHAKE AND REPLACE ::
Our friend in real life and on Instagram, @harperleescorcese, shares her own well-honed hound tip: "Cotton toddler blankets from Restoration Hardware, for example, can be thrown in the wash repeatedly and are excellent for protecting chairs, sofa arms, et cetera. Really great in the car, too. You can just shake out the dog hair." Bonus points on this tip? When they're on their last leg and are in need of replacing, bring those bad boys down to your local shelter - blankets and towels are a hugely appreciated and much-needed donation. 

                    Harper on her pile of blankets, freshly laundered and folded. 

                    Harper on her pile of blankets, freshly laundered and folded. 

#7 - GROOM THOSE GREMLINS :: Get your hounds groomed on the regular!  Easier to scrub those furry bodies and trim those nails than to roll up your Persian rug and bring it to the cleaners or steam clean your sofas and chairs every other week, right? 

image source: JESS RONA GROOMING - she's spectacular and you can  read all about her in last month's SHAPER interview ! 

image source: JESS RONA GROOMING - she's spectacular and you can read all about her in last month's SHAPER interview


 


 

 

SHAPERS / / / JESS RONA

If you've never witnessed the glory and gorgeousness that is a well-coiffed, slow-mo Los Angeles pooch on the grooming table of Jess Rona, your life needs a dose of this magic right now. Justin Bieber, Kurt Vile, Britney Spears, Billy Joel, Beyonce, Simon and Garfunkel, Bowie, and a boatload of obscure LA-based indie pop bands, provide the soundtrack to 20-second videos of Rona's canine clients being blown out, lathered up, or just throwing some serious shade to the camera. As an actress, writer, singer, and super funny woman, Jess is on Funny or Die on the regular, currently is putting together a photography book, writing a pilot somewhat based on her life in LA as a dog groomer, and has, along the way, amassed a staggering 106,000 followers on her @jessronagrooming Instagram

Needless to say, we were stoked to have her on board for a SHAPERS Q+A interview! Thanks so much, Jess! You're pretty awesome. 

xx - Rebecca

Your personality and humor definitely shine through in your videos and you brilliantly capture the quirkiness of each dog’s personality with your chosen musical accompaniment. As an actor and comedian who now has a thriving dog grooming business and over 100,000 followers on Instagram, do you find your creative pursuits overlap and if so, how?

Wow what a great question! Yes! It's happening more now than it ever has. I recently got to teach Eric Stonestreet how to groom a dog, I made a video for The Standard Hotel, directed a music video for Tegan and Sara (which was the coolest thing I've ever done), I did a segment for Groomer to Groomer TV making a grooming demo, and I'm working on an original pilot with my creative partner Sammi Cohen about a groomer (if you're a fancy person reading this, buy my pilot and throw money at me so I can make it thanks!)

I watched your hilarious “Love Song” video featuring you and Jason Ritter and laughed out loud at your psuedo homage to the film “Misery.” Tell us a little bit about making this video.

I asked Sammi Cohen if she'd want to direct another music video with me (she also co-directed my first video "Oh Shit We Forgot About Jess Rona" with Milana Vayntrub). She story-boarded it out, came up with the concept and made it happen. We took over my friend's house for the day, and secretly filmed a few scenes in Griffith Park. I was in full make up with a basket of apples among the hikers who were staring at me. It was a lot of fun. We had a look-out in case the ranger came. But it went smoothly! I asked Jason Ritter on a whim thinking he'd be too busy (he's good buddies with my husband Eric Edelstein) and he actually said yes. It was amazing to work with him. His expressions in the video are priceless. He definitely makes the video.


What kind of surprises has this business brought you, personally and professionally?

The whole instagram success is a surprise. People's reaction to me when they meet me is a surprise and I don't quite know how to handle it. I had a girl grab my arm and cry when she found out I was the one who made these videos. 

I only started making the videos cause I was going stir crazy in my garage. I needed to create, I needed an outlet. My friends were out auditioning all the time, booking jobs and traveling and I was antsy. I kept my grooming a secret for a long time because I only wanted to be known as an actress. Now I'm known as a bunch of different things (actress, comedian, groomer, director, musician, hottest girl on the planet) and I'm embracing it. 

 

If you could have breakfast with one famous person, living or dead, who would it be? And what would you order? 

This question is TOO HARD. I have so many that come to mind. (Larry David, Allison Jones, Katherine Hahn,Tony Robbins, Lena Dunham, Oprah, Jill Soloway, Obama, Bette Midler, Pema Chodron! - you ask the best questions by the way.) 

I'm gonna say Julia Louis-Dreyfus because I recently had a vivid dream about her where she was on a huge [cruise line size] boat and I was in the ocean and she saved me. I feel like we're going to work together one day.  

I would order my go-to breakky: Eggs over easy on a bed of breakfast potatoes with avocado, sautéed greens and carmelized onions, and coffee with homemade almond milk. 

Describe in one word each of these dog breeds:

Pug: Snorty
Bichon: Poofy
Jack Russell Terrier: Spazzy
German Shepherd: Sniffy
Standard Poodle: Elegant
English Bulldog: Stinky
If you put all those words together, 
you'll have the name of my next book. (jk!)

Are you a morning person or a night owl? 
I'm a night owl, but my schedule makes me a morning person.


What's currently on your bedside table?
A lamp, ear plugs, phone charger, candle.


Favorite song to get down to? "Helpless" by Poindexter off the Kitsuné America album. 
Favorite song to cry with? "In my Life" The Beatles
Favorite song to relax with? "Oh Honey" by Delegation
(These are just ones I picked because I have 100 favorites per question)

*Lily Spindle’s SHAPERS profiles the people whom we consider to be remarkable movers and shakers, doers and dreamers, trailblazers and big thinkers, the people who are doing things a little bit differently and unconventionally, with immense heart, passion, and authenticity in what they do. Artists, designers, writers, philanthropists, iconoclasts, artisans, heroines, voyagers, and all kinds of extraordinary extraordinaires will be interviewed in our SHAPERS series.

 

 

 

 

SHAPERS / / / SUDSOURCE

You know we love our local creators and doers and dreamers. Throw in these nitty gritty details - smart women with big brains and hearts on a mission to change the world and WE'RE IN. ( Also, in full disclosure, creams and soaps and serums made organically and sustainably and smelling scrumptious? They get me EVERY DAMN TIME.)

At a recent Artists and Fleas market on Abbot Kinney, I wandered into the SudSource booth with a friend (and my Jack Russell, Fred). Owners/founders Kathleen O'Clock and Julianne Reynolds were lovely and helpful and I instantly adored their philosophy - curb waste and protect the environment while choosing and using non-toxic, totally sustainable body, hair, and skin care products. Refill and reuse and repeat. They'll also deliver TO YOUR DOOR. Could Sephora ever make that claim?

So, while this SHAPERS feature isn't about photography, furniture, timeless design or bitchin' textiles, it is about honoring our creative do-gooder neighbors, the future of our precious environment, and it certainly doesn't hurt that Kathleen has a short-legged adorable Bassett Hound muttlet named Fiona (see pics below), adopted through Los Angeles' Much Love Animal Rescue in 2005. Yep, we're big fans! Thanks for tackling this SHAPERS Q+A solo, Kathleen, (while Julianne is on summer vacay).

xx - Rebecca 

Could you tell us a bit about your shared vision for Sudsource? How long have you known each other/how did you meet? 

We’re both passionate about Nature, and we’re concerned about the health of our environment and eco-systems given their importance for our collective wellbeing. As a society we’re finally waking up to the fact that our convenience model for consumer goods isn’t sustainable. Sudsource was created to offer an alternative to the “single-use packaging” model in the body care market. Our vision is to grow the business so it’s available in as many communities as possible across the country, and continue to spread the word about the budding Zero Waste movement we see as the New Way (which is really the Old Way) of buying products.

Kathleen and Julianne with Sudsource customer (  @iquittrash on Instagram), a fellow woman on a mission to reduce waste. She brought her own glass containers to the market to fill to the brim with her favorite Sudsource products!!

Kathleen and Julianne with Sudsource customer (@iquittrash on Instagram), a fellow woman on a mission to reduce waste. She brought her own glass containers to the market to fill to the brim with her favorite Sudsource products!!

We met 18 years ago in an acting class in NYC. We became friends and remained in touch over the years. We reconnected in the 2004 when we found ourselves both living in Los Angeles. For the following 10 years Julianne was busy travelling and building her career as a filmmaker through her company Romanski Films, while I worked in the Entertainment industry in Post Production. In 2010 after having my first child I was ready for a career change. During the first weeks home with my newborn, I had an epiphany about packaging waste looking at all the plastic bottles in our bathroom. After 4 years of R+D and a surprise second child, I founded Sudsource Fall of 2014. When Julianne returned from her travels she was excited about Sudsource and its mission to reduce waste, so we combined our strengths and launched sales April 2015.


What was the hardest part of your first year of business and what did it teach you about your vision and/or longevity as a company? 

The first year was about connecting with our community and finding out what’s important to them. The hardest part has been making adjustments and absorbing the inevitable losses and hard lessons of starting a business. What I’ve learned through this process is that there’s a lot of support for the Refill model; the primary issue for customers is convenience. We’re working on getting our pumps and bulk jars into stores so customers can get refills at their convenience. In the meantime, we offer local delivery within 30 miles of Los Angeles as an option.

The quiet and peaceful Venice-based Sudsource office, complete with a relaxed Fiona stretched out on the floo r. 

The quiet and peaceful Venice-based Sudsource office, complete with a relaxed Fiona stretched out on the floor. 

What's your favorite LA/Westside activity to help you to relax or rejuvenate? 

I get a massage whenever I can; I love going to Exhale in Santa Monica. I also train with ComplEATFitness in Marina Del Rey once a week.


Bestselling Sudsource product or scent?

Our best seller is the Face Cleansing Oil. It’s the only product we have with essential oils in the formula (geranium, lavender, and pink grapefruit). It smells wonderful and the feedback we’ve had is that it’s done wonders for people’s skin.


Favorite summer reading book?
I’m loving “But What If We’re Wrong?” by Chuck Klosterman right now.


Your 3 top tips on staying healthy and living well.

1. Exercise as often as possible, even if it’s just a short walk.
2. Make time to connect with friends and family.
3. Gratitude, the benefits are immeasurable.

Hi, Fiona. Adopt a shelter dog, people. They'll love you (and play ball with you) forever and ever. 

Hi, Fiona. Adopt a shelter dog, people. They'll love you (and play ball with you) forever and ever. 

Do you live by any particular motto or philosophy? Please share the details. 

I’m in the “We’re all in this together” camp. No matter what our backgrounds or where we come from, we all want and need the same things; this includes all living things and the natural world. The more we extend ourselves to each other, and help when/where needed, the better we all are. We’re all one, just love.

The Sudsource booth at local LA markets allows you to test out a full range of their products. You can also bring in your own glass containers and get refills of your favorites! 

The Sudsource booth at local LA markets allows you to test out a full range of their products. You can also bring in your own glass containers and get refills of your favorites! 


If you could have lunch with one famous person, living or dead, who would it be? And where would you dine?

The living Dalai Lama at Crossroads here in Los Angeles.


*Lily Spindle's SHAPERS profiles the people whom we consider to be remarkable movers and shakers, doers and dreamers, trailblazers and big thinkers, the people who are doing things a little bit differently and unconventionally, with immense heart, passion, and authenticity in what they do. Artists, designers, writers, philanthropists, iconoclasts, artisans, heroines, voyagers, and all kinds of extraordinary extraordinaires will be interviewed in our SHAPERS series.

The Best White Paints in the Business

Deb and I have known each other for a long time and as a natural consequence of spending many hours together, jokes have developed and insinuated themselves into our lexicon as friends and business partners. For example, I have an abiding need to throw my body into every Chesterfield sofa I encounter and every few hours, without fail, I can be relied upon to announce, "I'm hungry," and we've got to remedy that real quick or I become almost inconsolable. Also, sometimes, we show up for an art opening or similar event wearing basically the same outfit.

Recently, we were on a job site in Silver Lake and I was trying to convince a client obsessed with green paint for his home (which was already a flat, rather dark sage green and had been for nearly a decade) that a version of white was an absolutely infallible option. I actually uttered the words "a yummy white" in the midst of my persuasive speech and in my peripheral vision, felt Deb throw me a look like, "what the hell are you talking about?" Because, 9 times out of 10, as Deb is fully aware, I'm pushing for a white wall. But now I'm using the word "yummy" to make it more tantalizing. A groan and eye roll is totally justified. 

Yes, I love a white wall. I really, really do. I adore an accent wall in a bright, bold, surprising color. I admire dark, deep colors in small spaces. And I understand and honor the theory of paint color affecting your mood. But I really love white. Maybe it's because of all the art I think looks incredible against white, but it's my go-to paint color, no matter the space. My argument is that no white is exactly the same, as white, in the visual spectrum, actually reflects light and is a presence of all colors (it's science).

                      Some of our favorite whites pulled together as evidence - no white is exactly like any other. 

                      Some of our favorite whites pulled together as evidence - no white is exactly like any other. 

Here are five CANNOT GO WRONG WHITES::

DECORATOR'S WHITE, CC-20 (BENJAMIN MOORE) ::

A clean, soft white that isn't too cool and isn't too warm, but always feels fresh and brings radiance to a room. 

Designer Barbara Hill used flat Benjamin Moore’s Decorators White throughout this 1920s abode in Atlanta, Georgia. DWELL magazine; photo by Gregory Miller.

Designer Barbara Hill used flat Benjamin Moore’s Decorators White throughout this 1920s abode in Atlanta, Georgia. DWELL magazine; photo by Gregory Miller.

GREAT WHITE (FARROW AND BALL) ::

One of those mercurial whites, becoming pale yellow or pink or even lilac in hue, depending upon the time of day, the slant of light, or the furnishings in the space. 

              Farrow + Ball's "Great White" (from F+B site)

              Farrow + Ball's "Great White" (from F+B site)

SWISS COFFEE (BENJAMIN MOORE) ::

This white is warm and creamy, elegant and peaceful. It's just plain ol' excellent. And not just because Veronica Mars digs it. 

Kristin Bell, her dogs, and Benjamin Moore's "Swiss Coffee" on the walls, "Simply White" on the cabinets. 

Kristin Bell, her dogs, and Benjamin Moore's "Swiss Coffee" on the walls, "Simply White" on the cabinets. 

MASCARPONE (BENJAMIN MOORE) ::

True to its delicious namesake (you see why I started calling white paint colors "yummy"?), this is a velvety, smooth, ever-so-slightly golden white. We've used it in bedrooms, living rooms, dining rooms, and bathrooms and it's equally awesome in each. 

BM Mascarpone offset by a pop of orange in the home of a digital designer, using the high chroma colors of BM's 2016 Trends Palette  . Image source:  Copperline

BM Mascarpone offset by a pop of orange in the home of a digital designer, using the high chroma colors of BM's 2016 Trends Palette .Image source: Copperline

 

PURE WHITE (SHERWIN WILLIAMS) ::

Bright and crisp, timeless white. Let's put it this way: it's part of the Pottery Barn 2016 Spring/Summer color collection. It works just as well on furniture as it does on walls and cabinets. 

Pure White cabinets make for a happy and cheerful kitchen no? Image source: Decorpad

Pure White cabinets make for a happy and cheerful kitchen no?
Image source: Decorpad

 

Now, I KNOW you want to know if my "yummy white" speech was convincing for the aforementioned client slightly obsessed with sage green. Stay tuned. We'll share that news in future posts! 

xx - Rebecca