MEET THE MAKER: Katie Gastley of Idlewild Co.

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! 

Designer Katie Grastley of Idlewild Co.

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!

Meet The Maker: Idlewild Co. Hand painting illustrationsMeet The Maker: Idlewild Co. Design Studio Foyer
2. What inspires you?
I, like most artists I'm sure, gather my inspiration from a wide variety of sources. Interior design, especially for palette and textile motifs, is a big source. I'm also supremely influenced by my local surroundings. My work when I lived in Brooklyn was very urban-focused. I moved to the east coast of Florida with my husband in 2013, and the subtropical terrain, flora, and fauna have slowly crept into my work – and now I'd say it's mainly what we're known for! It was kismet that the big tropical and botanical trend coincided with my relocation and subsequent creative influence – very grateful for that, we were at the forefront of bringing tropical vibes to the gift market!
Meet The Maker: Idlewild Co.Meet The Maker: Idlewild Co.
Now, let's talk about gifting! 

3. What is your go-to gift?
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.
Meet The Maker: Idlewild Co. Greeting Cards
4. What is your tip on how to be the Best Gifter?
I think as long as you're truly thinking of the person when you're selecting a gift, you can't go wrong. Receiving a candle is great, but receiving a lavender relaxation candle and some bath soaks from a friend after you recently discussed how you're feeling burnt out makes it more meaningful.

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!
HOW TO FIND IDLEWILD CO:
Shop our Idlewild Co. offering in Build Your Bocu by filtering to Idlewild Co in Brands!
**all images featured in this article are credited to Idlewild Co.

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