Archive for the ‘Inspiration’ Category

CREATIVE CRUSH | JUNE

June 4, 2020

Over the past week, the corners and coasts of New England have started to emerge from the safety of their Corona-cocoons, transitioning between Phases like a rite of passage from pre- to post. Life as we all knew it has changed dramatically in recent months, and as for many, we find ourselves entering into a wounded country wrought with emotion. We’ve been served the same cocktail of uncertainty and have chosen to respond by listening, learning + reflecting on how to impart change in our daily lives. Our focus at TGL and Around the Pound continues to be centered around content that celebrates creativity in all shapes + sizes. An open invitation when you’re seeking inspiration, or perhaps in need of a reminder that in the midst of what may feel like chaos, there are places + spaces where everyone is welcome, we’d love to have you.

CREATIVE CRUSH | JUNE EDITION

Dress *a room* in layers. (@paul_massey | @stephenkentjohnson)

True blue. (@officine_universelle_buly)

Fit to print. (@searoosts | @antoinettepoisson | @lauriefrankel)

A pop of poppy. (@hesperios | @catherinebjones)

Check mate. (@mariadelaordenstudio)

Home is where the heart is. (@annakarlinstudio)

Never stop believing. (@hollieward_)

 

CREATIVE CRUSH | MAY

May 2, 2020

If one were to describe our recent mélange at our partner ‘gram Around the Pound, it affectionately matches our current mood, neutral. In our world too, most days seemingly blend together, complemented with increasing certainty that there’s a silver lining – brighter days are decidedly ahead. In the interim, we’re embracing the snail’s pace at which life is moving, an unprecedented opportunity to pause + appreciate the smallest details that so often get missed during regularly-scheduled programming. There are those anxiously pursuing a return to the rapid rate at which the world previously operated. For us, a return to life at a slower speed is an unforeseen catalyst to reimagine everything.

CREATIVE CRUSH | MAY EDITION

Accentuated form. (@helmutlang | @rogercoll_krasznai)

A stitch in time. (@therow | @hollieward_)

The bee’s knees in PPE. (@annarosakrau)

End of the line. (Erich Borchert, 1928 | @designmuseumgent)

Holiday hopes + dreams. (@alice_gao)

Pattern power play. (@loefflerrandall | @academytiles)

Snail mail sentiments. (@yolo.journal)

Like many of you joining us at Around the Pound, I haven’t left the house in weeks barring a small handful of outings geared exclusively at picking up the essentials. And yet, despite what many would deem the confines of home, I’ve found myself more inspired than in the many months prior to rotating Sundays in pajamas (these are my current go-to) with a side of puzzles. From the coast of New England, I’m delighted to introduce our newest hallmark at TGL. Personally penned + curated by yours truly, ‘The Captain’s Catch’ provides you, TGL readers, direct access to my most well kept insider secrets – what I’m watching, where I’m wandering (virtually until further notice) + what I’m reading, i.e. the fuel that feeds my creative fire outside the office on any given day. Not dissimilar to the ‘direct from the dock‘ approach of providing access to the most local of local fare, I hope you’ll equally delight in the content I’ve curated. Paired with visual keepsakes I’ve been collecting herehere, it’s the perfect recipe to thrive, (note, not survive) in whatever life throws our way. Found something worthy of sharing or simply want to say hello? Feel free to send me a note, I’d love that too. xx, D

| watch | If #stayathome orders haven’t inspired you to curl up with a good book (or ten), perhaps this documentary will change your tune. For me, a lifelong bookworm, tucking into a quiet corner of an independent store is to willingly cocoon in the company of the written word for an afternoon; fast becoming the unicorns of the book world, these literary landmarks + their leaders face near extinction to mass retailers + digital devices. PSA: Newport’s beloved single-screen Jane Pickens Theater is streaming films that would have otherwise opened during this time; consider supporting local by watching The Booksellers + other indie films from the comfort of your own home (and no one to judge, er elbow you, over that second bowl of popcorn).

| read | You may recognize her of the Cali-based lifestyle brand that shares her given name, but we’re head-over-heels for Serena Dugan’s more recent venture, a namesake studio founded in pursuit of creating beautiful prints, patterns and artwork (all of which you’ll want to cover every available surface of your life with). In an interview with the industry go-to resource Business of Home, Dugan shares what inspired her to trade corporate culture for a return to her creative roots.

| wander | Museums may currently be closed, but many collections are far from off limits. Ever wondered what goes into opening a major exhibit, especially when the works of art aren’t of the framed kind? A behind-the-scenes tour of Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams, the show that débuted at Paris’ Musée des Arts Décoratifs in 2017, will forever alter your mindset about paying an entry fee. It’s filmed primarily in French (with subtitles), so while most of us won’t be traveling to Paris any time soon, at least for a fleeting hour we can feel akin to strolling the Champs-Élysées. And for my neatnik, paper-loving peeps (you know who you are), I have two words for you – Dior Archives.

| listen | It’s certainly no secret, we adore the work of Rhode Island furniture maker O & G. Under ‘normal’ settings, but particularly during these unprecedented times, navigating the high seas of small business ownership can feel like taking on the southernmost leg of the renowned Ocean Race. Two podcasts with brand co-founder + Creative Director Jonathan Glatt, 1) sharing how his small team is not only reinventing classics for contemporary living, but 2) adjusting their sails to survive the most important, and unanticipated, journey in their history.

| learn | House & Garden’s Calico Club has just the remedy to break up those long neverending #wfh hours – a series of thirty-minute morsels filled with creative content perfectly sized to schedule into your lunch hour (sublimely starting at 1pm EST). Last week we joined Gabby Deeming’s talk on textiles, next in the queue, a conversation on how to create a successful cutting garden. Let’s be honest my fellow Americans, a half hour of British accents are a welcome antidote to any stateside-led Webex and if we learn how to grow the perfect English garden or adore chintz as openly as any royal in the process, we might just survive this godawful pandemic afterall.

CREATIVE CRUSH | APRIL

April 4, 2020

Given a very mild New England winter, we’ve officially diverted attention from flurries to fresh air – trees are budding, daffodils are making their debut + we’re secretly scheduling solo meetings with Mother Nature between #wfh conference calls and April showers. This month’s Creative Crush feels decidedly fresh; we’re firm believers a fashionable pop of citron is as satisfying as a twist of lemon in a five o’clock cocktail. For the foreseeable future, let’s keep washing our hands, stocking (please, no hoarding) our pantries and honor our homes as sacred spaces that keep us and our country safe. If a need to break-up with ‘breaking news’ is on your to-do list, or you’re simply looking for a five-minute sojourn from the daily stats, join us for a dose of inspiration, occasionally golden, always deliciously creative.

CREATIVE CRUSH | APRIL EDITION

Fashion with a splash of lemon. (@annarosakrau | @claudiepierlot)

Tasteful typography. (@flourist)

Wallflowers + floral frivolity. (@shopthelma | @markarian_nyc)

A show-stopping sink. (@framacph)

Feminine fisherman knits. (@lenamaria.s)

Pantry perfection. (@plainenglishkitchen)

Here we are, new day, slightly different view (it’s the weekend, cue the 20 ft. shift from the office to the studio) and rapidly evolving world statistics that change by the hour.  There’s nothing like a week of alone time in the ‘home office’ to trigger a metaphorical drive down the mental super highway at breakneck speed towards introspective reflection. Given we’re all finding ourselves confined to the four walls of #wfh environments these days, I anticipate many reading this might feel the same. This post has a decidedly different flavor from those shared previously on Around the Pound – more personal (notice a switch to ‘I’ instead of ‘we’), no fancy layout or pretty picture collage, and yet, I hope equally inspiring (maybe even more so) as any other morsel of content crafted here over the past 8 years. In case it wasn’t obvious from the frequent flatline of postings over the years, I’ll let you in on a little secret, The Gilded Lobster isn’t my main gig. Shocked? That means I’ve done a really good job of keeping things buttoned up over here, as a very private individual and introvert, it’s what we do best. For purposes of this quite personal post, here’s the abridged back story to provide context of what I’m really here to share today.

I launched TGL in 2012, like one’s go-to accessory, in complement to a full-time career in the fashion industry. A side hustle if ever there was one, TGL offered a much-needed escape opportunity to extend knowledge and experience beyond my 9-5 (if anyone has worked in fashion, you know those hours are irrelevant, but stick with me for purposes of story-telling). Before hours, after hours, on weekends (any free moment, really), at TGL I was working with a small group of clients providing consulting services in creative direction, brand positioning, sourcing, product development, etc., all while maintaining a demanding day job inclusive of a daily five hour (yes, you read that correctly) five hour roundtrip commute to Manhattan from our home in New England. I finally acknowledged life was passing me by faster than the scenery outside my train window, and quite honestly, I was exhausted. In 2014, the captain and I purchased our Gilded Getaway House in Newport. Meant to provide solace from the hustle + bustle of weekday life, we were left clamoring to spend as much time on its sandy beaches and rocky cliffs as our so-called primary life would allow. It was A LOT. In 2015, I made the difficult decision to shutter the business operations of TGL, while keeping the platform you know here as a canvas to continue sharing what inspired me personally as a designer. In tandem, I accepted it was finally time to explore professional opportunities closer to home, a scary venture given I’d be hedging a well-established career in an industry known not to have too many wide-reaching options outside the mecca of Manhattan, at least, not without making major life changes we weren’t ready to explore just yet.

Pre-virus (is that what this will come down to, another defining pre- and post-era in our history books?), I was recently asked to share one of the times I was most challenged as a leader (clearly the universe was somehow preparing me). No pause needed, flash-back five years (hence the back story). I was in pursuit of a career change to be closer to home, polishing up the portfolio, refining the resume and aggressively pursuing leads. Setting: Memorial Day, 2015. Sitting in a Florida airport waiting for a return flight home to New England after a long-weekend getaway, an unknown number rang my cell. It was the boyfriend of one of my team Creative Directors. There had been an accident, (in respect of privacy, won’t share too many details) resulting in paralysis. I don’t remember the flight home or if I even slept that night. However, what I remember as distinctly as yesterday were the weeks that followed. The next morning I was tasked with sharing the news with her team of direct reports – a group of ~ten, young, earnest female designers and product developers finding their way in a dog-eat-dog design world. Tears and quiet silence, followed by questions about what would happen next – lots of them. Next, the broader design department, 45 strong. Then the sales team, the production department – the story repeated within our small-ish company until I had recapped everything I knew 10x over in our office overlooking the bustle of Broadway in the heart of Herald Square. When it was over, I went into my office, closed the door and bawled.

Little did her direct team (or anyone at the company for that matter) know, behind the scenes I was already well into an external interview process that if things went according to the plan I hoped for, would likely remove me, the ‘boss’ boss’ from their world as well. I had hired nearly all of her team personally, traveled with many of them to lands near and far and taught them everything I knew about design and the industry. For the two months that followed, I did everything within me to be the best leader I knew how to be, a source of unwavering strength and poise, while channeling whatever iota of creativity and design DNA I could muster, maintaining timelines (which in fashion, are unforgiveable), answering to client accounts and providing empathy to a team that was starting to accept the sad reality – their boss, but more importantly, colleague, friend and mentor, would likely never return to the office.  In the end, I was offered and accepted the position I was pursuing, and in a conversation equally as difficult as the one that post-Memorial Day Tuesday, shared with the same team that I would be leaving my creative post after more than eight years with the company. Deep down I knew it a decision in pursuit of a well-balanced life, and yet, felt in prioritization of myself, I had in some manner betrayed each of them personally; the individual they were counting on to lead them through this difficult time would soon also be gone. My final day in the office, after a surprise farewell party, I retreated to my office, closed the door one last time and bawled (again).

In the wake of our current state of affairs, it seems there are articles on every professional platform, headlines like ‘Leading in Times of Trauma’ to ‘How to Lead in a Crisis’ flooding the inbox. The truth is, while providing a good point of reference, these articles can never really prepare you fully for how you, or your teams, will react. In the past two weeks, I was transported emotionally to that period five years ago. Thankfully, not due to someone being sick or critically injured on my team, but because in the blink of an eye, people were tasked to process the unprecedented and turned like clockwork to those in leadership roles, myself included, for guidance. Within days, I found myself in an empty office, buttoning up details for the coming weeks while the team was settling in at home for what appears to be a long haul. In quiet solitude, I reverted to this story I’d tucked away to leverage when a call-to-action arose.

As leaders, we each take on this role differently – some rise to the occasion in times of hardship, while others, unfortunately for those they lead, fall short. Their teams will be hard-pressed to forget (and maybe even forgive) how their leaders acted (or didn’t), or what was said (or wasn’t). For leaders in ‘creative’ positions, the expectations often feel higher. In the midst of chaos, we bare the weight of not only acting as a beacon of guiding light to those around us, but are called upon to continue serving as a source of inspiration, tasked with developing ideas and design thinking that will carry the team to the other side. It is this creativity, the heart and soul of what drives us to get out of bed every morning, that can so easily get lost in the shuffle. In retrospect, that team of five years ago lost their leader in the blink of an eye, but beneath the surface, the common thread that brought them together was still there – designing and creating beautiful products. They didn’t need someone to teach them the mechanics of knit stitches or how to pull together a color palette, they needed a leader to reinforce what had already unified them and quench the fear that the unknown would tear them apart.

If you’re a leader yourself, likely you have your own story that challenged you to be something bigger than you may have ever imagined. There are thousands of stories like this one, hold yours close so when you’re required to tap into the reserve, it’s there to guide you. If you’re a team member, acknowledge and show gratitude towards the really good leaders in your life, they may make it look easy, but behind closed doors, there may just be tears (lots of them) of self doubt.

I promise a return to a regular cadence of inspirational spirit at Around the Pound is in process, in fact, several posts are already in the queue (it looks like we’ll all be here for a little while longer, so we’ve got you covered). In the interim, I hope this dietary supplement of perspective (I was completely inspired by this post from one of my creative heroes) provides a new way of thinking about TGL from here forward. xx, D.

Image source unknown, via Pinterest.

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