A few weeks ago Jill (left), Alethea (right) and I spun out to La Honda for a quick photoshoot that celebrated the immense talent and influence these two women have had on the design world.
I've told this story two-dozen times, but I love telling it because it's how I came to be sitting here and writing you. I found Jill and Alethea as Studio Choo on DesignSponge nearly a decade ago. I should have been writing purchase orders, and they were writing a column called "We Like it Wild." I was working as an assistant producer for an advertising shop in Richmond, VA. I wasn't quite sure what I was doing there, and was quite sure I wasn't very good at what I was doing, anyway.
I read their column like a dehydrated sea sponge; soaking up the washes of colors, coastal California scenery, the female-driven creativity. A Life that I wanted. I firmly decided from ergonomic seat of my polymer-riddled cubicle that I wanted to be a florist, and I wanted to work for Studio Choo. Two problems: 1. I didn't know how to work with flowers 2. I lived on the opposite side of the landmass. Actually three problems - these two women also had no idea who I was, and that I had already pledged my loyalty to them.
There's a number of years and living in-between that could go here - but there's sushi waiting and I gotta pack for Tahoe. Know this. I quit a stable, excellent job. I sold all my pointless sh*t. I left a really beautiful relationship. I broke the lease on my apartment. I told my mom and dad, my best friends and myself that I had no idea what I was going to do when I got there, but I was going. I packed my VW with a yoga mat, some snacks and some homesteading books. I drove across the country and landed in a isolated cabin in the middle of a deep dark dank redwood grove.
I drank a l o t of red wine with pensive Whitman-addled ardor. I smoked cigarettes before noon, drank cardamom coffee and journaled till my my hand turned into a claw. I met the mirror-image of the ambition of my Best Self. I farmed in Santa Cruz, and joined a powerful tribe of women. I moved to Barcelona on an infatuation, and moved back to CA because I needed to write a love letter.
It took me over eight-weeks before I hit "send," and something close to eight-weeks later, I was hauling buckets of fermenting compost at Studio Choo. I never left. Jill and Alethea became my bosses, mentors and confidantes. They've set me straight, lifted me up and taught me everything I've asked to know. That beautiful embodiment of life and work that had captured me years ago has become my own habit. I'm doing what I love.
Studio Choo is entering a new era, and I'm no longer an integral part of it. If the pattern had stayed the same, I probably never would have left - but we all take the blades to our own cloth one way or another. This is simply the final yard they've smoothed over my shoulders.