Tell us a little bit about yourself
I am constantly moving. Even when I’m at “rest” my mind just seems to never stop working. I sometimes would love to flip a switch and turn my mind off…but then….there’s an idea…some creative idea that needs my attention…it’s actually quite exhausting to be a creative person…because if you don’t create..and express yourself…you’ll be stifled and boxed in. That’s my fear. I can’t stand the thought of not expressing myself.
I have been a wedding and event designer for over 8 years in Los Angeles. I love it. I’m lucky to do it. Last year my good friend and now business partner, Kristen Gara and I launched our Labor of Love, Tin Parade Vintage Party Goods. We design many of the items…as many as we can..and have them handcrafted by artisans. We also piece together darling goods that we find like a needle in a haystack by scouring the internet and the Gifts Shows. Kristen has a fabulously creative background as well. She was an Art Director in the advertising field for years. Our skills together are making for a dream design duo and we are loving this time in our lives. Kristen doesn’t consider herself so much the writer…so that’s my job…which is why you’ll mostly hear from me…but I’ll occasionally pull her ideas to blog here because she’s got fabulous taste and we’ll all benefit from a little Kristen Gara.
How did you and your husband meet?
It’s a typical Hollywood story I guess. We were both actors all through our twenties. We met while doing a play at a local theater and of course had to somehow drag ourselves through the kissing scene. We decided it needed a bit of rehearsal. You know, just to be sure it was believable. The rest is Hollywood history.
How did Tin Parade start?
Kristen and I were on our morning run…talking a mile a minute as usual, when I told her that my husband said it was really too bad I spent so much energy designing events that were one day… and then poof they were gone…and wouldn’t it be amazing if I could somehow box up the events to sell across the country…that was it! By the end of that 5 mile run we had decided that not only did I need to absolutely do that..but that we needed to do it together…we had to marry our talents…and we needed to speak to our mutual love of all things vintage…there began Tin Parade Vintage Party Goods.
What inspires you?
I am inspired at the most random moments…nearly like a crazy person…bad design inspires me to make the world a prettier place actually…so sometimes I’ll be driving through the city trying not to look at gaudy billboards and bright pink houses and ideas will hit me…I think my mind responds to a need out there to beautify things. But I’m also so inspired by history. I have a love of history and I am constantly intrigued by the idea of myself in another era. Thus the art deco and speak easy weddings I’ve designed. I’m inspired by nature…rustling leaves with a cool breeze makes me want to create like crazy…something about the fall gets me going. I want to sit at home and make things all day in a cable knit sweater…because that’s the way you are supposed to do crafts in the fall…I think my creative enthusiasm is a bit contagious…I’ll start projects in the office with my interns and call it arts and crafts time. Fun for all.
What projects, activities do you love doing with your children? Are they creative like their mom?
I love cooking with my son. He’s really into tasting different flavors and spices and loves the smells. We have a good time in the kitchen and we both LOVE to eat. He’s definitely creative. We let him have the front porch for Halloween. He makes everything. I’m not into the store-bought Halloween decorations so much…and yes, it’s a bit messy when a 4 year old takes over your front porch..but I guess I figure it’s for a short amount of time and I love the art in him. I love how proud he is of the witch he drew and how he wants me to help him hang it really high so it’s even scarier when people come to our door. We have let him decorate the Thanksgiving table as well…that’s a little harder for me to give up control on…but he took it very seriously and made sure there was a cornucopia..fitting..oh and fake flowers…he must know I love those…kidding…but fake flowers there were…Of course I designed his room but…there is a nook…an artful nook just for his artwork…and the occasional transformers poster…but it’s all kept in the nook (space behind his door)…everyone’s happy…again, I love fostering the art in him. It’s an artful home that’s for sure. My baby girl is at the moment just a fabulous bundle of pudgy love but I am watching her…waiting for her first artistic expression…I have a feeling it’ll be there.
What are the greatest rewards and challenges of being both a mom and also a business owner?
Rewards. Yes. Challenges. Yes Yes. It’s tough. But oh so wonderful. Being your own boss means you can take a vacation when you want to..most of the time…or a day off…some of the time…but being a business owner and working from home is, for me the best thing about owning my own business…I am home when my baby takes her first steps. I am home when my son is sick. I can put a load of laundry in while on a conference call. I can fill a crock pot with a baby on my hip while giving direction to my intern. Pretty crazy at times, but so much better than the 9-5 life. I’ve always felt that If I didn’t’ have Savoir Flair Weddings (my wedding business) or Tin Parade Vintage Party Goods..that I’d have a different business…something...anything to be able to have the family life I want to have. I think almost anyone can do it…it’s daunting to start but so worth every step and every effort to get to the point of quitting your job and being your own boss. Of course loving what you do is important too. It’s so cliché, but…find what you love to do and then find a way to make a living at it…yes…so so true…and I don’t think you have to have a business degree …creative personalities are many times the opposite type of personality of a typical, old school business owner…we do thing s our own way…but there is a way. I love the idea of inspiring other women to create their own career.
Tell us a little bit about a typical-day-in-your-life.
On a good day I wake up and run with Kristen Gara (my Tin Parade business partner)…sadly…with our two babies being born this year our runs have been too few…I get coffee…I answer all questions about Star Wars and what I think Chewbacca’s middle name is, after…and only after….my cup of coffee. Then, the day begins.
I have to get my son ready for school…his Dad takes him and I pick up. I have to get the baby changed and fed…sometimes I’ll admit she MIGHT go to pick up at the preschool in her pajama’s….maybe…sometimes…
Then, I get the office unlocked, lights on etc so the interns can get started upon their arrival. I then go inside with the baby till our amazing babysitter arrives. Get through a few simple emails on my blackberry. And then the phone rings. It’s Kristen Gara with her morning call. Every morning. “What are we doing today? Playdate? Work? Can you pick up at preschool for us both? Can I borrow your dress? Etc.” (Kristen and I say we Co-Parent…. definitely taking a village over here) Then, I go out to the office…10 second commute…and try to blog… try to get through the bazillion emails..then execute the latest event or party design by….needle in a haystack…scouring the internet for some random idea in my head that day.