Thursday, May 6, 2010

Shabby Chic

I recall first seeing Shabby Chic from WAY back in the day, ten years ago, just out of high school, buying some credit card holders on Bainbridge Island. Can't tell if she's selling these anymore, but Rachel Ashwell certainly has expanded to something impressive.

Shabby Chic started in 1989 as a store in Santa Monica, California that sold furniture slipcovers and flea market finds. The Shabby Chic Brand is about "Comfort, the beauty of imperfections, the allure of time-worn objects, and the appeal of simple practical living...a revived appreciation for what is used, well-loved, and worn...blend of English Elegance and California Casual." Rachel Ashwell likes the 'worn' look of aged furniture as it makes a house environment have a more homey and lived-in feel.

Currently, Shabby Chic has five stores across the US and Britain, and also sells bedding at Target.

Rachel Ashwell had a great interview in the New York Times last Sunday...I especially liked the part where she said that it turns her off in an interview when the person thinks they know it all; "I think the phrase "I don't know"--in a positive way--is a little phrase much avoided, and I don't really know why."

She also ended with a really great quote: "I think that artists and businesspeople often have other wounds and demons that drive us." So true!

The paradox about Shabby Chich to me is that seems to be a large business, but its owner seems very personal. In her blog, for example, she talks about her personal travels, baby showers she's attending. In one quote she says, "What a difference a year makes. It was nearly a year ago that my life seemed to be in crumbling mode. The British quote "Keep Calm and Carry On" became the mantra in my office."

Although she doesn't embellish on the 'crumblng mode' she certainly doesn't seem be shy about airing her dirty laundry to potential customers!

Which is a nice touch, I think. People are more likely to be interested in a business who's owner admits to not having it all together all the time. Also it's a g-mail blog, which obviously means she hasn't shelled out billions of dollars to set it up. (G-mail blogs are free to set up).

This photo is taken from Shabby Chic's blog. I too like incorporating words into practical things...used to have a pillow like this one that said "Fairy Tales do Come True".
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