Wednesday, February 3, 2010
How It All Got Started
Probably, like many of you reading this, it all started when I first discovered I was going to be a mommy. I was 20 something, working as a marketing director for an architectural firm, and loving life as I knew it. Stephen and I weren't trying to have a child, he just sort of appeared. But, it was the single greatest change of direction I've ever had. My parents were gone, and Stephen's parents lived all the way in S. Africa, so we were sort of alone. I really wanted to stay home and raise my child myself, but I also wanted, and needed to work. I have worked steadily since I was 13 years old, I don't think I'd know how not to work. So, I began to think about starting a business that I could do while taking care of our child. Stephen had his own very successful illustration business, which would take care of us financially as I got another business up and running. I had businesses before, and I really wanted to start something of my own once more. So, the timing all worked out to be sort of serendipitous. At that time, I really had no idea what business I'd start, but I wanted something small and manageable, that I could do with a baby and from home. The pregnancy was picture perfect and we were breathless with anticipation for our little one to arrive. We dreamt of what he would look like (yes, we found out we were having a boy. I just couldn't wait), what our life would look like with him in it, and we began doing all the things that expectant parents do. We read the books, went to birthing classes, gave up coffee, and dreamt of the life that was to come. It was really a wonderful time. Nesting kicked in hard around month six, and I turned my designer's eye to the small room down the hall. It had beautiful light, warm worn, wooden floors, and an arched inset space, that was a perfect little reading nook. I couldn't wait to turn that blank canvas into a space overflowing with wonder and endless possibility. As a designer, I look for that one piece from which all other things will build, and for a nursery, it was the crib. It's the biggest piece in the room, and it will set the tone. So, I went shopping. We live in Baltimore, and when I had exhausted every single crib carrying store in the state and found nothing, I was not dismayed. I realized that not everyone needed great design to feel peaceful, and that I was a bit of a freak in that sense, so it wasn't surprising that there was nothing in Baltimore to suit me. And when I say nothing, I mean nothing. It was your basic cherry, maple or white boring crib. So, we set off to New York to find the crib that was made just for us. I had my hit list of baby boutiques, and was quite encouraged when I entered the first one. There were gorgeous prams in the front window, and hand stitched linen layette. This place had potential! The cribs were in the back. There were three of them. The first one was an iron crib from France, but the design was heavy and uninspired, and the price tag was $8000, a little out of our range. The next one was a hand painted Beatrix Potter number, which was well done, but not my style, way too cutesy. The third one was an English sleigh crib, priced in the thousands, and simply too conventional. I saw many versions of the same throughout all of Manhattan, including the different versions of what I'd seen at home but with a steeper price tag. Hope began to receed like waves on the beach. We trudged on through the city streets, hitting everything on the list and many stores that weren’t. By the end of the day, we sat in a small café, and discussed the depressing fact that what I wanted simply did not exist. I must have looked like a seriously sad sack, because my dear, sweet Stephen, simply couldn’t take it any longer after a moment’s thought, he said, “I’ll design a crib for you.” And with those six little words, hope renewed and I was overcome with the deepest joy. Anything Stephen designed was always perfect. He designed my wedding dress, and my wedding ring and even today, they are still the most beautiful of objects. He designed our kitchen, and our country house, which are both worthy of Architectural Digest. He’s even designed a green, radiant floor heating system and numerous computer programs and online systems. When the kids were into ugly dolls, he designed and sewed life size costumes that were exact replicas of Wage and Babo. His genius knows no ends. It’s as if within him is an innate sense of exactly how a thing is supposed to be in it’s most perfect sense. And, then he has the talent to make it so and bring it forth into this world. If he were to sign up to design our baby’s crib, I knew, without a doubt, that it would be perfection. We discussed details long into the night, at the quaint little New York restaurant. Then, suddenly it hit me. If I couldn’t find a crib that I liked, imagine the millions of other women out there in the same predicament, and I was pretty sure not all of them had a genius designer husbands that could help them with their dilemma. In that moment, our business was born.