Career Chat: Joanna Reynolds Design

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I’m pretty stoked to share today’s Career Chat (formerly known as: Style to Inspire) interview with you guys! Whether or not you know her name, I guarantee you know her work: designer Joanna Reynolds is one of the contributing creative forces behind many of Sugar Paper’s beautiful cards, prints and collaborations with mega brands like Goop and J.Crew. I’ve known Joanna for some time — we went to college together! — but funnily enough, have only recently re-connected with her when our worlds sort of collided. I was thrilled to learn about what other ventures she has going on besides working as a freelancer for Sugar Paper (see: new textiles collection, and a growing costume design business). Today, I wanted to get the scoop on what it’s like to manage so many different types of creative ventures, and of course, how she got into the lettering and illustration business to begin with. Enjoy!

Tell us a little bit about your background. How did you get started in lettering and type development? Did you always think your career would go in that specific direction?

Lettering is something I started doing relatively recently; I studied fine art at USC and developed my illustration skills while studying fashion design at FIDM. My mom is an artist and one of those people who can make absolutely anything, so my childhood included an amazing mix of art history lessons, fine art, and every craft project you can think of. I’ve always known that I wanted to work in a creative field, I just wasn’t sure which.

About two years into working at Sugar Paper as the Custom + Production Manager (a job I got because of my art/craft background) an order came through for a stationery set with a bespoke monogram. We didn’t have a specific illustrator lined up for the work, so I asked the principal designer, Erika Finney, if I could have a go at it. She didn’t hesitate for a second in saying yes, which I will be forever grateful for – that monogram was the start of more lettering opportunities with the company, and having the support of Erika and the company’s two founders, Chelsea Shukov and Jamie Grobecker, gave me the confidence to eventually take the leap and become a designer full-time.

PAHC

What are your favorite types of projects to work on at Sugar Paper?

Every project that I do with Sugar Paper is different – the inspiration is always something fresh, the end use is often varied, and the development process is a great, creative back and forth that often inspires other new projects. I get to mess around with chalk and paint, play with calligraphy, and build more traditional style lettering with carefully measured lines and curves. One of my favorite things about working with the girls on the Sugar Paper collaborations with Goop and J.Crew was that we did 4 or 5 completely different styles of lettering for the various products. I really love the variety of work that I get to do, as projects never feel old or boring.

So are you still working with Sugar Paper now? I feel like I’m still seeing that gorgeous lettering of yours pop up in new products!

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This month's quote: "All we can do is the best we can do."

Style to Inspire: M.M. LAFLEUR

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Career confession, and one that some of you might relate to: when I was applying for college many moons ago, I really had no idea what I wanted to major in. But I also hated the idea of going into college undeclared (which was totally silly, but I blame it on the control freak in me). So I did what seemed practical — I declared a business major. Not only did it make a lot of logical sense, but by going business, there was one recurring daydream in which I could constantly indulge. Here’s the gist of it: if I majored in business, it would mean that I could wear awesome power dresses to work, and rock them with sky high stilettos in my corner office overlooking a sprawling metropolis.

I may have watched one too many rom coms in high school.

Of course, the minute I got my first ‘corporate’ internship, I quickly realized that awesome, power work dresses (or any other work wear for that matter) are kind of hard to come by, and that wearing stilettos while driving an hour each way in LA traffic was completely ludicrous. Later jobs never required the power suit or power dress, but if they had, I would have been ecstatic to discover M.M. LAFLEUR, a fantastic new line of dresses that transition seamlessly from work to cocktails.  Along with a large selection of options for every body type, M.M. LAFLEUR also offers a “dress finder” feature, plus the option to have up to four dresses sent to you to try on before you commit to buying them.

M.M. LAFLEUR was founded by Sarah LaFleur, and also counts Miyako Nakamura (formerly of Zac Posen and Jason Wu) as its Creative Director. I was interested in learning more about the duo behind the brand, how they got started, and their thoughts on the fashion industry. Check it out below!   Read the full post +

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Building Boutiques: An Interview with Anthony Faglione

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Today I have a special treat for you! Recently, I had a chance to interview Anthony Faglione, a master builder who’s behind several Fashion Week runway stages (think major brands like Ralph Lauren and Helmut Lang), as well as plenty of retail stores for designers including Reiss, DKNY, BCBG, and more. He’s pretty well known in the industry — in fact, he just completed offices for the Council of Fashion Designers of America (or CFDA), and his home was recently featured in the Wall Street Journal!

I’ve never really given much thought to the amount of work that it takes to make a retail store feel truly unique and on-brand, but if you think about it, it’s a job that’s vital. After all, when a store is well-built and just looks good, how can you NOT want to go in and browse?

Below, I learned a little bit more about what it means to be a master builder, and how Anthony helps bring a brand’s retail vision to life. It’s pretty incredible! Read the full post +