jenni kayne

Montecito became a home away from home this past year as we completed a residential design project, bringing us up the coast nearly each and every week. And just as our project came to a close, creative crush Jenni Kayne brilliantly debuted her two newest boutiques in the heart of Montecito.

Her signature JK women’s boutique, alongside her very first home outpost, Jenni Kayne Home, opened just before the holidays on the newly redeveloped corner of San Ysidro and East Valley Roads. Both freestanding shoppes are gems in their own right, charmingly tucked away for fashion + lifestyle mavens alike.

jenni kayne montecito . by mindy gayer

Architect, Jeffrey Allsbrook, of Standard + his talented team collaborated with JK to create these two architectural beauties. If you’ve been inside her two LA boutiques, or caught a glimpse of her home in AD, you’ve had a taste of the beauty Standard + JK create together. Quite the creative Dream Team, if you ask me!

Here’s a peek inside the 2-story Jenni Kayne Home, just around the corner from her signature boutique above…

Perhaps my favorite part of all… the magically created and curated 2nd-story, home to all things chic + petit.

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Santa Barbara is surely blushing with two of the country’s most coveted shoppes in its very own backyard. If you find yourself visiting or driving through Montecito, be sure to pop by these new favorites.

| all photos by mindy gayer |

becoming a creative

My creative career was born during my last year in college. I was studying and working my tail off, with thoughts of changing the social sector + becoming a social worker. After a few internships and subsequent chats with professors and professionals alike, I came to realize I wasn’t built with the essential emotional capacity needed to keep these two opposing worlds separate and healthy.

Wired with a heightened sense of empathy for those around me, a career dedicated to people and those in need seemed like an obvious choice. When I finally made the decision to no longer pursue the path of social work, I felt the biggest sense of relief. I knew that I could become so entangled in my cases, and then lose myself in the sorrow of it all. Somehow, I’d always felt indebted to take this concern for humanity and make it my life’s calling. It was a heavy burden I unknowingly carried, but once I realized I had the choice to choose another path that might be healthier for me in the long run, the burden lifted.

Alongside people, my greatest love has always been design. My mom is one of the most innately creative people I know. Growing up surrounded by her creative flare and influence left an impression, and I was introduced to a world that fostered a love of beautiful things + people who create. It ignited a spark in me that I’d never felt permission to let flourish as a career. It was completely captivating, and gave way t0 a new outlook on the world and my future. If one had a “calling,” I knew this was mine… to create.

When I began designing stationery my last year in college, it happened on a whim. I designed every piece painstakingly in Word. Yes, Microsoft Word. Every graphic designer I know laughs when I tell them how I got my start. Transitioning from those late nights churning out stationery orders from home, to a full-time business, took a ton of planning and a proper dose of naivete. I continued growing my local client base, spent a year writing a business plan, and sought out private investors to launch my dream of opening a shoppe. Everywhere I turned, patrons were encouraging me to open a shoppe. They made me feel as though I couldn’t ever fail, nor would my business. I was 24 years old, and couldn’t dream of anything sweeter.

Figuring out how to turn a hobby into a business was something I knew very little about, and yet, I couldn’t imagine pursuing anything different at the time. It was 2007, the economy was booming, and the stars just seemed to align. And so that spring, I quit my full-time job at an advertising firm, secured a retail studio space, and had enough funding from investors to launch a little shoppe called Cotton Idea Studio.

cotton idea studioIn the thoughtful pursuit of a fresh, simplistic line of social stationery, Mindy Gayer sought out fellow aficionados of sophisticated correspondence.

At last, she found the charming seaside community of Laguna Beach to serve as the perfect home for her budding business, Cotton Idea Studio. Her darling note sets found immediate success among friends, and in time, her designs were spotted in post boxes all along the coastline…

I was so unbelievably lucky to be surrounded by design friends oozing with talent, and with hearts of generosity to match. I still think back on the hours upon hours they gave to my tiny budding business – developing my logo and brand collateral, website, photographing every inch of every product, and helping to create a wholesale line that never launched. I still can never repay them for how they helped me launch my brand, and build my dream. Friends bought dozens upon dozens of cards they probably really didn’t need, vendors and clients trusted me despite my age, investors believed in my dream. It was a completely magical time.

I haven’t talked much about my journey with Cotton beyond my closest circle of family and friends. I closed its doors in 2010, and have been pursuing other happy things since then, but won’t ever forget the impact of saying goodbye to something so near and dear to my heart. The highs and lows that came with running a business, and even greater, living out my dream, couldn’t prepare me for the loss that came after deciding to close the shoppe and put my proprietress hat on the shelf.

As so many entrepreneurs can attest to, it’s the “failures” that shine the brightest light on our lives. Truthfully, closing my shop was half tragedy and half total and utter relief. The economy was the biggest factor in closing, paired with a myriad of other reasons. Some details are simply too personal and private to share, but the thing I miss most about my shoppe days are the relationships I gained with people I met near and far. It was one of the most unique creative communities that spurred me on, praised and challenged my growth, but above all, supported me beyond measure. Even though I had to say goodbye, I wouldn’t trade those years for anything. It’s some of my proudest moments and memories, and I will forever be grateful to all of you who stood by my side. So much so, I would do it all over again.

Like so many, the road to where I am today has been sprinkled with equal parts hiccups and delights. That’s what I love about being a creative – it’s such a loose, evolving thing that has meant different things to me each and every year since I first sought it out. I love where it has taken me, and I feel so much peace knowing I got to try my hand at being a shoppe owner, despite and because of what it taught me and how it grew me into exactly where I am today. I am in a new realm of design now, and it’s so amazing. I feel like I hit the jackpot, and I just pinch myself thankful that I get to be creative and pay my bills doing exactly what I was made to do. It’s not everybody’s dreamboat, but it will always be mine.

My hope for all of you is that if you are in the throes of dreaming up a dream, are in full pursuit of it, or are on the other side wondering what’s next…just keep on going. I have learned so much from when I first started out, and I know I’ll always be on this road, evolving my lens as to what it means to be a creative. It’s what we’re all meant to do in one way or another – delighting in creation.

xx

amuneal

A brass + oak shelving system fit for a queen. Or rather, you, me and everyone in between.

The Collector’s Shelving System by fabricating genius, Amuneal, is a sight to behold, fully customizable to fit every nook and cranny of one’s abode. Using oxidized oak and solid brass, it’s a beauty that oozes class, always begging a second glance.

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amuneal

amuneal

amuneal

amuneal

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Amuneal’s approach to custom manufacturing is simple, with a focus on the deeply technical paired with the deeply visual, which when married together results in wares that embody both beauty and function.

musique cafe

Athens, Greece Architects, esé studio, created a little gem with this local Athens hangout, Musique Café.

  photos by ioanna roufopoulou

crosby street hotel

Hoteliers and Firmdale Hotels founders, Kit + Tim Kemp, have created the perfect city oasis in SoHo: Crosby Street Hotel.

As Brits themselves with seven boutique properties throughout London, the Mr. & Mrs. duo infused their Anglo-inspired living into every little nook and cranny of the NYC hospitality project. Built from the ground up in 2009 on an empty parking lot (and gold LEED certified to boot), Kit’s personal style is evident throughout every element of the Crosby Street property – from the ever necessary drawing room, to oversized portraits of regal pups, daily afternoon tea and perhaps most iconic, colorfully upholstered chesterfields to rest one’s derrière. And with swoon-worthy floor to ceiling windows in each room, weary travelers are sure to score the best view at every level.

Their urban rooftop kitchen garden, complete with a chicken coop, is loving overseen by head chef Anthony Paris.

Aww.

eat drink americano

One of my favorite spots to sip + eat.

Eat Drink Americano is perhaps best known for its incredible chalkboard wall art. Peter Greco, a local Arts District resident + Instructor at Art Center College of Design, used oil pastels to create his masterpiece.

Pop in for a visit next time you’re in the neighborhood to both munch + admire.

{ all photos by me }

brücke 49

I’m dreaming of a winter getaway to this little slice of mom-and-pop paradise in the Swiss Alps.

Brücke 49, located in Vals, Switzerland, boasts all the comforts of home + charm of a classic B&B. After searching high and low for the perfect perch to retire and call home, a darling Swiss-Danish couple spent two years transforming a local historic villa into a modern-influenced, 4-bedroom B&B.

Après-ski anyone?

fior di latte

It may be winter, but that’s never stopped me. In my book, gelato is always a good idea, especially from here.

Thanks to a pair of self-proclaimed gelato lovers, Fior di Latte was born. Each and every day, this husband-and-wife duo spin up some serious goodness from their commercial kitchen in Boulder, Colorado, and soon to include a bonafide retail gelateria. From pints of organic gelato, to seasonal popsicles and gelato bon bons. Oh yes, bon bons. Their offerings are nothing short of heavenly…

And, perhaps the best part of all? They craft up truly customizable gelato cakes. Take a peek…

 

Mmm mmm good.

2013

Happy New Year kisses + wishes for a fabulous 2013!

apolis: common gallery

During a visit to Downtown LA’s Arts District this week, we stumbled upon Apolis: Common Gallery. As a longtime admirer of the brand, it was a treat to discover their perfectly curated storefront. Host with the most + resident Communications Manager, Ryan, walked us around the shoppe and led us to fall even harder for the brand. Ryan’s passion for our global community is inspiring, and we walked away completely smitten with the Apolis mission and dedication to creating beautiful products while doing good.

In a nutshell, Apolis is a socially motivated lifestyle brand that empowers communities worldwide, and believes the most valuable practice in creating lasting change is by investing in people. Founded in 2004 by brothers Raan & Shea Parton, it all began with the simple idea that people can live better lives if they are given equal access to opportunity. Having been immersed in personal stories of struggle and survival while traveling abroad, the Parton’s were inspired to create a business model that bridged commerce with microeconomic development.

At Apolis, they co-create each product with manufacturers near and far, and allow the market to directly determine the future of each item produced. They believe the commonality between currencies, flags and languages is people. It is people who are the innovators, the advocates, and the revolutionaries. I couldn’t agree more.

Take a peek around their storefront…

There are lots of companies popping up who have a mission to improve the lives of our world’s citizens, but Apolis seems a cut above the rest. Their team is full of passionate & talented people, which is most evident through the execution of everything they do. Take a peek around their site this Thanksgiving weekend + be inspired.

During this season of giving thanks and celebrating the things that matter most, may you be filled with gratitude and feel a call to invest in the people around you.

xo

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