Hi friends! I am taking a break from telling stories about our recent trip to South Africa to share what is being considered by experts to be the biggest news of my 28 years of life on this planet. I wish I had a lovely video set to some really great music to give you a full intro, but I've honestly spent more time these past few months filing forms and paying fees than I have on fun, creative stuff, so I'll use a lot of big, bright photos to paint a picture for you.
I am so excited to tell you that after about a decade of dreaming, planning, and saving (a little), I am officially starting my dream business:
Habitation Co., a lifestyle and home decor boutique offering a collection of handmade, fair trade, and globally-inspired goods from around the world.
To start, the shop* will be based online, but my dream is to expand to a (small) storefront someday so we can host awesome events with artists, creatives, adventurers, authors, and more. The shop will feature high quality home decor, accessories, and artwork with a fresh aesthetic that are an authentic reflection of the artists and cultures they represent. I firmly believe that the most beautiful objects and spaces tell a unique story and honor the traditions, integrity, and passion of the artists and designers that create them.
In a world where so much of our daily interaction and communication is documented online, artwork and handcrafts are still tangible evidence of a specific time, place, person, and culture that enhance the physical spaces around us. By working directly with artists and communities from around the world, I hope to preserve these stories, and the methods and materials used to create each object. My greatest hope is that every item at Habitation will have a positive impact on each person involved in the creative process, from maker, to merchant, to customer, and beyond.
Habitation is simply about honoring the process of living in a particular place and creating beautiful spaces to call home.
In many ways, this business has been a part of my story for decades, and in others is still in the earliest stages, but after pouring literally hundreds of hours into research, preparation, and design, I've realized that there will never be a "perfect" time to start telling this story, and I anticipate it having many, many chapters. I am building this business by hand and from scratch, based on a dream I've had since I started working in a small shop in my home town, a dozen years ago. Although I never really knew how, when, or where (minor business plan details) this dream would come to fruition, looking back, I can see how I was being lead to this place all along.
Growing up, my bedroom was filled with artwork and souvenirs that my dad brought back from his extensive travels around the world. Tiny carvings, dolls, and trinket boxes lined my shelves, and instilled in me a curiosity and appreciation for art and other cultures at an early age. My family also encouraged my own artistic expression and I never left the house without my sketchbook or camera. In high school, my passion for travel and working with people grew and I knew that I wanted to find a career path that would give me the opportunity to experience the world in a personal way.
I set out to study photojournalism and sociology but after taking a few art history classes, I knew I had found my calling. However, it wasn't until I was a junior in college that I was introduced to "non-Western" art in a formal way, and even then, about 80% of the world's art history was lumped into a single semester-long class. I decided to further explore the Western world's relationship with and influence on artwork and crafts from other cultures by devoting my thesis to "The Impact of Tourism on Art Production in Indigenous Cultures". While writing my thesis, I realized that there is a huge deficit in how non-Western artwork is widely perceived, and produced, in today's world.
By combining modern aesthetics with high quality materials and timeless designs, my hope is to preserve the beauty of these traditional art forms while presenting them in a fresh way. Every item available in the shop has been, and will be, handpicked by me, whether while wandering the open-air markets of India, meeting with artists in Africa, or by connecting with creative businesses through the wonders of technology. I am passionate about fostering positive relationships with artists and communities around the world and with you, the amazing folks who will make each object's unique story part of your own.