Welcome to the first post in our new 'MEET THE MAKER' series! We have met so many incredible women throughout our first year in business - we feel selfish keeping them all to ourselves and not introducing you to them! We're taking you behind the scenes to meet the women behind brands so you can learn about their WHY, what inspires them, and (our favorite part) some of their tips on how to be the Best Gifter.
One of the first brands that we bought for Bocu was Idlewild Co. - a line of stationery, notebooks, and accessories featuring whimsical, hand illustrated botanical inspired prints. I had the pleasure of meeting the designer, Katie Gastley, and her team at the Spring '18 NYNow gifting tradeshow in NYC. Her personality was infectious as she walked me through some of her favorites in her new collection. She is passionate and so so talented.
Enjoy getting to know Katie!
1. What is your "WHY" behind starting your business?
From a very early age, I knew my eventual career would be in the visual arts – the how, where, or what sort was still up for exploration. As a fairly "practical" child, with both parents working as graphic designers, I knew that although my passion was painting and illustrating, a design degree would be a great marriage of the visual arts I loved with a marketable skill that would be valuable to a wide range of career opportunities.
Through high school, I really fell in love with typography and the language of visual communication, so I pursued a design degree from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York – a school that had a large focus on foundational fine arts, which was the absolute perfect mix of art and design education for someone like myself. I read so many stories about how students – especially art students – don't end up in a school that supports their needs or prepares them for the careers ahead of them. I feel so fortunate that the school I ultimately decided to go to was exactly what I needed as a young artist and designer.
After college, I worked as a designer for Penguin Books, some advertising agencies, and eventually Martha Stewart before starting my own company. All of those jobs gave me so much experience, not only in design, but in production and fabrication; when I was ready to start my own product company, I knew how to make what I wanted to make, how to get it done, how much it should cost...the rest was just adding my creative vision, which always comes naturally!
I love pairing a pound of locally roasted coffee with a book (especially the beautiful reprints of classics that are made nowadays; particularly Penguin Classics Deluxe Editions) because someone can tuck into the gift whenever the time is right for them.
I'm also known to pick an inexpensive tchotchke up during my antique/vintage shopping excursions that reminds me of a person. It's so fun to find something old that hits home for someone's personality perfectly, and if it's inexpensive all the better because it's a whimsical little thing that lets the person know you love them and are really thinking of them.
I received a framed photo of myself and some friends for Christmas this year from a night out that I don't even remember taking. It was a surprise, super personal yet so simple, and when I look at it I remember our fun night, and how much I love them and am glad to have them in my life; now that is a perfect gift!