I haven’t changed my earrings since 8th grade

Kiera likes to describe her style as “basic-ish”, but put together. She thinks about clothes in a practical way which usually goes something like this: “How many different ways can I wear this? Does it go with what I already have?”

Kiera likes to describe her style as “basic-ish”, but put together. She thinks about clothes in a practical way which usually goes something like this: “How many different ways can I wear this? Does it go with what I already have?”

She likes to stay in the same color palette, but dabbles in different textures and necklines. Her favorite brands to shop are Madewell, Jcrew, and Forever 21. Madewell & Jcrew are at the top of the list because she can shop by outfit and feel confident that the color palettes are curated to work together.

In the case of Kiera’s style, “basic” really means fundamental, foundational & classic. Relying on these principles for her wardrobe saves her mindspace so she can think about other things. She thinks it’s important to make an authentic first impression and this includes what she wears. She tries not to stray too far from her “brand” which is why a lot of the things she wears look similar.

Kiera grew up in an advertising family in Wisconsin, where her grandfather started an ad agency. He dreamed of being a cartoonist, but when he pursued that dream in California, he was turned down. So he returned to Sheboygan, Wisconsin to set up shop with his wife, at the picnic table in their garage, and Jacobson Advertising was born.

One of their first clients was Swiss Miss, and Grandma Jacobson did all the rose malling on the packaging.

women-i-work-with-kiera-jacobson-sage-tank-top

Creativity ran in the family because Kiera’s dad was also an artist. He attended Macalester College and graduated with an Economics degree but started a glass etching studio. He took over the family advertising business when his dad was ready to retire.

As Kiera was deciding what career to enter, her parents didn’t pressure her to go into advertising. When she went to her dad for advice he told her: “If you’re not sure, go into writing.”

She ultimately decided to study journalism at the University of St. Thomas and discovered that she had the advertising bug. Kiera entered her first ad competition in her hometown paper and won!

While she was enrolled at St. Thomas, one of her professors recommended that she apply for a Target internship. She submitted her portfolio and Travis took a chance on her. After interning for a year, she was offered a full-time position as a Junior Writer.

That was 7 years ago and since then she has been promoted to Senior Manager. That’s where Kiera and I cross paths, working together at Target. The reason we became friends though, is because she lived in India for 4 months. Weird, right? I only got to know her after she returned from India and our mutual friend Nam connected us.

It was great to sit down with Kiera and talk more openly for this project. I got to hear her story and all about the impact living in India had on her life.

Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest? My Grandpas. They passed away when I was in 2nd & 3rd grade. I hear such awesome stories about them.

women-i-work-with-kiera-jacobson-white-denim

One of my grandpas was super involved at home from church to the community to leading weekend activities for kids. My other grandpa lived part-time in an artist village of Mexico and started libraries, brought eye glasses and instruments to kids and as I’m told, found his way into quite a number of adventures in the desert. This was the same grandpa who started the advertising agency. I know I owe a lot of who I am to both of them and the families they raised.

Would you like to be famous?
I don’t think so. It would depend. I would like to be known, not famous. I want to be known as a loving friend. Whether it makes history? It doesn’t matter.

Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?
No. I so rarely talk on the phone. If I do, it’s usually with people I already know well, so when I have free time I call and talk to them.

What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?
Being active and in good conversation with the people I love. Good food… Hola Arepa… wouldn’t hurt.

When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?
I think I sing in the car, or when I’m cleaning. Google Home makes me feel like I’m not singing alone. The last time I sang was probably yesterday.

What has shaped your life in a profound and meaningful way?
Oh boy, a lot, but one comes to mind, just in terms of what’s happened this past year. When I was in 7th grade, I had the chance to travel to Europe with 20 other 7th and 8th graders, for three weeks. I’d never been away from home for that long and had never traveled alone – I didn’t know anyone going. I still said yes and came back a more confident, independent, open-minded person.

women-i-work-with-kiera-jacobson-denim-outfit

A year and a half ago, a similar opportunity came up and I again had to say “yes”. I moved to India to work for four moths. I had no idea what to expect and it was totally outside my comfort zone. It was a real growth moment in my life. So much was happening while I was there that it took awhile for me to process it. I had to learn to live in it and not worry about understanding it.

This quote from the book “The Better Life” by Claire Diaz Ortiz put it in perspective: “Sometimes when the big things happen in life you can’t actually process them at the time they happen. Sometimes, you can only really understand them in retrospect. Because sometimes they are too big for the small moments.”

If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?
Depends. Is it a fit 30 year old? Then for sure! This is a hard decision because I’m a physical person. I’d ultimately choose mind though because I’d rather sit and have conversations with people than run around alone.

Do you have a secret hunch about how you’ll die?
I hope I die doing something that I love. I recently heard a story about a man who died while he was fishing. He still had the pole in his hand!

Diamonds or pearls?
Pearls, of course! I started wearing pearls in 8th grade and haven’t changed since. They are classic and go with everything. I never applied much meaning to the pearl until a family friend gave me my first real pair as I was about to embark on my adventure to India. With the earrings, they enclosed a note that said: “Pearls mean wisdom through experiences.”

Feminist AF

You will find Anna’s most curated style expression by looking at her accessories because most of them are from people and/or places she loves.

You will find Anna’s most curated style expression by looking at her accessories because most of them are from people and/or places she loves. Her goal is not to be a fashion icon, but to express herself thoughtfully and with pieces that have meaning. Her clothes don’t scream: “Notice me!” but her jewelry, quietly understated, always has a great back story.

Her favorite things are necklaces. She has about 30 in rotation and usually spends the most time picking out what jewelry to style with her outfits. She thinks about what may unfold that day and who or what she wants to have close to her. A couple of years ago, when there were layoffs happening, she knew it was going to be a rough day so she chose to wear an elephant pendant because her sister gave it to her, and she thought it might give her strength on a really shitty day.

women-i-work-with-anna-zahler-blue-dress

Anna currently works as a copywriter at Target and you see her work in the world every day. She went to the University of Kansas Journalism School (Rock Chalk Jayhawks!).

In addition to her full time job, she volunteers at a women’s shelter in Plymouth, MN. During her 4 hours every other week, she answers phones and provides administrative support for the women’s advocates. “Why a women’s shelter?” I asked. Anna said that a few years ago, there were 4 women killed by their domestic partners in a span of 6 months. It really disturbed her, and made her want to find a way to help.

The shelter she volunteers at provides emergency housing to women escaping domestic violence, as well as counseling, legal assistance and other resources to help them move forward with their lives.

I got to know Anna a little better through this project. We peeled back the layers, little by little with a few fun questions developed by Arthur Aron. And just like her treasured necklaces, she’s got a great story to tell.

Given the choice of anyone is the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?
My Grandfather on my mom’s side. I never met him because he died 4 years before I was born. My mom tells me the stories about how he raised her and he just sounds like an amazing man. My mom had polio as a baby. It attacked her left leg, stopping its growth, which meant spending a lot of time in the hospital as a child. Her dad wanted her to live a normal life. He was determined there wasn’t anything she couldn’t do and made sure she never missed out on activities, like ice skating, by creating homemade braces for a pair of skates.

I’ve also heard that he was quite the jokester and loved all animals, which makes me think he and I would have a lot in common.

Would you like to be famous?
Not beyond a certain point. It would be nice to be known for something benefitting the community, but I’m not interested in celebrity.

women-i-work-with-anna-zahler-jean-jacket

Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say?
All the time, or I just put off making calls for weeks. I don’t know what it is. It’s usually complaining to Comcast or a long conversation with a friend that I haven’t seen for a while, so there’s a lot to catch up on, and it’s hard to dedicate that much time.

What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?
Spending time on a lake in Minnesota in the summer with all my favorite people. Ending the day with a BBQ and yard game. And beer. Definitely beer.

When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?
I had to sing some lyrics I’d written for a company presentation last Friday.

If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?
Mind

Do you have a secret hunch about how you’ll die?
I have a ridiculous fear of death, so I don’t think about it.

For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
My family. My parents have been married for 46 years and I feel fortunate to have grown up in a 2-parent household. My older sister is my best friend and my family travels together. In fact, my first international trip was to France when I was 9 years old. This sparked a life of exploration together with my family.

If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?
My dad traveled to Asia for his job and the opportunity to move to China for a year came up. I was in 1st grade, so this was the worst possible idea in my 1st grade mind. Knowing what I know now, I wish my sister and I weren’t so against it. I wish we would have gone for it.

women-i-work-with-anna-zahler-cat-tshirt

If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?
A real, legit ability or a super power? If I could have a super power, it would be to fly because that seems super cool. Becoming an artist is a more realistic ability that I’d want.

What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?
The first thing that comes to mind is officiating my sister’s wedding. It’s the coolest thing I’ve ever done.

What do you value most in a friendship?
Just being there for each other.

What is your most treasured memory?
Climbing to the top of Lone Mountain in Montana. It took a few years and other family members made it when I didn’t. But I finally got to the top when I was 15 years old.

Share an embarrassing moment in your life
I was studying abroad in Italy and we went to an outdoor market near our school. I was really excited to try bargaining and practice my Italian. My friend, Skylar, and I found a watch we wanted to buy and thought the price was $15, so we negotiated to $10. The vendor didn’t argue at all, which was weird, but we left that booth feeling really badass about our awesome bartering skills. When we visited another booth and found the same watch, we realized that the price was actually $5, not $15. So we basically negotiated to pay the vendor more than the listed price. Oh, and the watches stopped working before we even got back to the States.

Diamonds or pearls
Neither because I like funkier stones.

No stilettos, but I fucking love lipstick.

If you are a conventionally attractive woman, you’ll do better in life. Katie used to buy into that notion, but has decided that these societal standards aren’t for her.

If you are a conventionally attractive woman, you’ll do better in life. Katie used to buy into that notion, but has decided that these societal standards aren’t for her. She’s never fit that “convention” and has grown into loving that about herself. In the past, she dressed to “hide” things about her body, but now she lets that roll peek out and still feels beautiful.

Little by little, she empowers herself by disobeying the established rules about how curvy women should dress. You see these rules everywhere. Wear this to hide that, accentuate something else. “Eff that,” says Katie, “I’m going to wear what I want.”

For her, it’s all about dressing for herself and not everyone else. She thinks this newly developed point of view is part of maturing and wanting to feel confident. She defines her own fashion rules and that’s what inspires her confidence.

I met Katie at Target, where she works as a lead strategist. She’s that happy blend of analytical perfectionist and zealous creative who strives to create meaningful conversations between people and businesses. She’s worked on big accounts like Bayer, Frito-Lay, Wrigley, Papermate, Nestle, SC Johnson, Chevy & Allstate. For her work on Bayer, she received an Effie finalist nod.

I’m sure you’re familiar with the “Mayhem” character for AllState. Katie took over as lead strategist on that account in 2015. Yeah, watch out, because she’s only getting started.

women-i-work-with-katie-ablan-outfit-series

Katie has great style. She’s that woman at the office that can pull off a t-shirt, jeans, sneakers and ball cap and make it seem business professional. I wanted to get to know her even better, so we got together and talked about family, confidence, adult braces and various other interesting things.

Given the choice of anyone is the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?
Alive or dead?
It’s your dinner party.
My Grandmother. She’s deceased, but I would really like to talk with her. Connecting to my roots generates energy for me. Knowing that I’m part of a continuum, 1 in a long line people gives me a sense of who I am. History and heritage are very important in my culture.

Would you like to be famous?
Yes I would! I believe if you’re given an opportunity, you should take it. Use power for good! I do this in small ways everyday, but if I were famous, I would have scale.

Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?
Yes, I rehearse conversations and presentations. My mind works faster than my mouth. I’m a stream of consciousness note taker and then I organize later.

When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?
5 minutes before I met with you! I Snapchatted with my new niece.

Do you have a secret hunch about how you’ll die?
For some reason, I feel like my ticker is going to give out on me.

Name 3 things you and your fiancé appear to have in common?
We’re very emotional. We both have a deep desire to cultivate family, which is actually a behavior that you have to practice everyday. We both like to make stuff. He’s a guitarist and I’m a singer. That’s how we met, through music.

women-i-work-with-katie-ablan-floral-dress

For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
My fiancé, Tim.

If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?
Teleportation. I’d love to randomly pop up in Paris.

Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time?
I thought I wanted to be a physician, but it turns out that I’m really bad at organic chemistry. So, I’ve been thinking about becoming a doula or a midwife. Pregnancy and birth are really cool and I’d love to give support during this process. I want to be a vessel of communal knowledge because we’re losing it.

What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?
I can’t say that I’ve had it yet. I’m still in the first act of the movie.

What do you value most in a friendship?
I wish I had a singular word for it. It’s this notion of empathy and behavior. Someone who understands you and actively has your back. There’s probably a word, I just can’t think of it.

How close and warm is your family? Do you feel your childhood was happier than most other people’s?
I had an amazing childhood until I was 10 years old. My baby brother died unexpectedly and it really changed the family. I feel like I had a catastrophe level family event, and you don’t get out of that unscathed. I now have a huge, warm & amazing extended family and because of Tim, I have 2 amazing extended families! In some ways, I’ve had it much better than others and in other ways, I’ve had some hard knocks.

When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself?
Yesterday. As I was leaving my newborn niece, I cried. I cry multiple times a week. I love it!

women-i-work-with-katie-ablan-sporty-outfit

Back to style. How do you create your look? Where do you shop?
In general I am a high/low/freegan shopper and dress for style over trend or retailer aesthetic.

In my closet: I’m an ASOS fangirl, thrift store, Burberry, Forever21 (yes, I still shop there), Louis Vuitton, vintage (I have a fringe jacket that I will never throw away), True Religion, Sam Edelman, surprisingly lots of Target (especially since I started working there), I try to buy clothes when I travel. I went to Vietnam last year and had a bunch of over-the-top sleepwear made.

Get Katie’s looks
Look 1
Brown dress: ASOS
Lips: Bite Beauty in Kale
Necklace: SugarFix by Target
Shoes: Bought online from a retailer in Tokyo

Look 2
Blue dress: ASOS
Lips: Revlon (the label rubbed off so I’m not sure of the color name)
Necklace: Forever21
Shoes: Target

Look 3
Floral dress: Michael Kors
Lips: MAC lipstick in Dubanet
Earrings: Bauble Bar
Shoes: Sam&Libby by Target

Look 4
Lips: MAC lipstick in Dubanet
Hat: New Era/Chance the Rapper Limited Addition Sox Cap
Black turtleneck: ASOS
Black jeans: Target
Shoes: Dolce Vita by Target

Feminism & Femininity

Since Hannah was a little girl, she was asking questions about equality. When she was just 6 years old, she asked why there weren’t gingerbread girls when there were only gingerbread men.

Since Hannah was a little girl, she was asking questions about equality. When she was just 6 years old, she asked why there weren’t gingerbread girls when there were only gingerbread men.

Feminism was a concept that came naturally to her, but as she grew up and started to make style choices, she questioned herself. Was she a good feminist even if she wanted to dress feminine? It felt like she had to tone down either one in order to fit in. Dress too girly, bad feminist. Dressing like a tomboy didn’t feel right either. Girly is who she is and so she’s arrived at a place where she’s found strength in her femininity and confidence in showing up as herself.

She is persistent in her pursuit of justice, for all people. It shows up in her personal life and her professional life. She is always looking out for the best interest of everyone and will speak up to rally people to do the right thing.

Hannah has great style, and she’s a very interesting person. Whenever we interact, it’s always filled with laughs and challenging conversations. Challenging in a good way. She doesn’t take any crap and I respect that. I wanted to get to know her even better, so I sat with her and talked about more important matters.

women-i-work-with-hannah-jensen-leather-jacket

Would you like to be famous?
Absolutely not! I only care about being recognized by the people I care about. Strangers’ opinions don’t matter to me.

Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?
Totally! I have phone anxiety. I would rather discuss things in person because so much is lost over the phone, especially in meetings! When I’m working on personal things like calling a doctor or my accountant, I have to make a checklist because I worry I’ll forget what I need.

What would constitute a “perfect” date for you?
A spontaneous dinner out with my fiancé. We always have such good conversations cozied up in a restaurant. Or better yet, it would be a day where I just let him plan it because he’s super thoughtful. I love NOT being the planner every once in awhile.

When did you last sing to yourself?
Alone in the car, or anytime my fiancé starts singing. He, his name is Geoffrey, will start singing and then I’ll sing back at him.

Do you have a secret hunch about how you’ll die?
Not really. I’m one of those people that when I feel ill, I think: “Oh my God, I have cancer!” I’m a stubborn worrier so I feel like I’ll outlive everyone & I don’t want that.

Name 3 things you and your fiancé appear to have in common?
Style, love of music & we both value independence in our relationship. Honestly though, it’s our differences that make us work.

For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
I’m really grateful for my family. I have a loving, supportive and open relationship with my parents. They have always been supportive in our differences and didn’t project any expectations on us.

If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?
I wish my parents would have pushed me to do more things even though I was afraid (perfectionist!). The desire was there, but I had too much fear and my parents couldn’t see through it.

Can you tell me your life story in 4 minutes?
No, but I’ll tell you for as long as it takes.

women-i-work-with-hannah-jensen-widelegged-pants

I was born and lived in Minneapolis until I was 13. My parents had a generally good relationship but were also super open and honest with my younger sister and I about the realities of relationships – they’re not easy! My mom was an independent and driven artist with a million friends – making it up and figuring it out as she went. My dad was quiet, a recovering addict, a craftsman, and speed demon, happiest on solo motorcycle trips. There was a lot of love, but also a knowledge that things were tough at times too.

We didn’t have money growing up and I was keenly aware of that. It made me a worrier. I didn’t ask for much because I knew what our money situation was. When we would go shopping at Target for our back to school clothes, I was always very pragmatic in my choices, never asking for more than I thought we could afford. I also didn’t want to make my mom feel bad for what she couldn’t give us.

In middle school, my parents announced we were moving to Cannon Falls, which is a small town of 3,000. I was incredibly upset and nervous, but ended up finding a new confidence in the change of context aided by kids who were just excited to have a “new girl in town”. I still worried about fitting in, especially since we were pretty different from most of the families in town who had lived there forever.

I was a good student, but failed to be like the cool sporty girls I was friends with. Instead I focused on art and choir and joined the musical. I always loved clothes and fashion, but tended to dress more preppy and “normal” as a way of fitting in.

women-i-work-with-hannah-jensen-red-lipstick

My parents split up with I was 16. It was tough, but our open communication remained and we all figured things out together. I credit this time, and fights with my dad, for teaching me how to communicate through anger and frustration. I couldn’t wait to get out and go away to college. I ended up at UW-Madison, after a quick visit and somewhat hasty decision, where I studied art and graphic design. I found myself feeling frustrated and not as challenged as I wanted, and decided to study abroad at Central Saint Martins in London. The program and students were super impressive and intimidating, but it really taught me the importance of self motivation. I definitely learned that I needed to be challenged to be happy. A fear of complacency and a desire to push through my nervousness is what motivated me to move to New York City after college.

I moved there with only $2,000 to my name and no job. Totally crazy, but I did it! I experienced a lot of personal growth and increased confidence while living there. I got my first job at Tiffany, 1 month before the economy crashed in 2008. When I got the job, I felt the relief of making it out. “I’m not going to be poor,” I thought. Then less than six months later, I got laid off. It sucked and I was scared, but it ended up leading to so many better things.

So much after that felt random. Like shit just happened – and fast! I assisted a stylist on a photoshoot and suddenly landed another gig as a lead stylist. I worked freelance for a few years at One Kings Lane while also going back and assisting other great stylists and working for a variety of clients and generally learning more about the industry. From there I went on to work at Gilt and was so lucky to have the support of a wonderful woman and manager who believed in me and valued my point of view. She helped open the door for me to start art directing. Her faith in me gave me the confidence I needed to move into this new role. I learned so much there about my creative vision and my ability to communicate and lead a team. It was fun, and really hard too.

women-i-work-with-hannah-jensen-jumpsuit-graffiti

When I felt like I had learned and achieved all that I was meant to, I resigned from Gilt without a job, took a ceramics class and did some freelance. I needed to clear my head and refocus a bit. Slow down and make what felt like more conscious decisions about my life. It was during this time that my now fiancé, who I met in New York, and I started thinking more seriously about moving back to Minnesota. He’s from here too!

New York had been great, but we needed a new way of life that didn’t just focus on us. We needed something permanent. So, we moved back and we’re getting married this fall!

How long did that take?
A lot more than 4 minutes. Probably more like 40.

Back to style. How do you create your look? Where do you shop?
I focus on basics, quality and fit. I want to be better about not buying fast fashion, both as a way of supporting makers and small business and being more environmentally responsible. In New York there was a lot of “looking like you’re not trying” in a $200 t-shirt. There’s a part of that approach that is still in my head, but from a more practical perspective. Now that I don’t live in New York, I actually feel more free to experiment. I care less about what people think. This is for me!

The perfect white tee is ESSENTIAL and is shockingly hard to find. My current summer fave is from H&M. Another is a linen tee from Stark. When I find a good one, I’ll wear it down to rags. I wear my vintage Lee jean jacket almost everyday. It just goes with everything! I love the fit of Madewell jeans when I can’t make vintage work. Otherwise, I’m not super brand loyal. I like crafting my own mix of vintage and modern. It’s really exciting to see smaller brands led by women, like Lauren Winter and Winsome Goods really succeeding. I want my look to be personal and unique, always finding the balance between feminine and masculine. When in doubt, I throw on a classic black leather jacket. It’s an instant confidence boost. And lipstick. Always red lipstick 🙂

What’s your favorite red lipstick?
Lady Danger from MAC

Rebel, Rebel

Meet Carly, the fashion rebel. If you invite her to a party requiring a dress code, she won’t follow it.

Don’t expect Carly to abide by any fashion rules you impose on her. Uniforms & dress codes will be ignored because she needs the freedom to express herself through her clothing in order to feel confident & comfortable.

This fashion rebel cannot conform. She’s tried. In high school, she was often called to the principal’s office for not following the school uniform. She’d wear the school colors, but could never bring herself to wear the polo shirt and khaki pants. She’d improvise with different types of clothes, but it never satisfied school leaders. She’s even been written up at one of her jobs for her fashion choices.

Carly didn’t get in trouble for dressing inappropriately, she got in trouble because she couldn’t follow someone else’s rules.

women-i-work-with-carly-coughlin-jean-jacket-black-jeans

“When someone tells me what to wear, it takes away my power. I want autonomy over my own body.”

Carly grew up poor in Philadelphia where she only had her brain and her body to represent herself. Everyone knows that just isn’t enough in high school. When you grow up without the advantage of a clothing allowance, it can be difficult to find ways to present yourself so you’re not solely judged on your economic situation. Carly turned to fashion to escape being labeled as a “poor” kid.

She started working when she was 14 so she could afford new Nikes & Guess jeans. Clothes and shoes were her prized possessions and that’s when her interest in style & fashion began.

Carly moved on to college where she graduated with a degree in psychology and art history. Recently, she attained her B.S. in Computer Science while working full time at Target, where she currently works, and brings her rebellious style with her everyday.

“Poverty isn’t who you are, you’re just born into it”

Carly has great style, and she’s a very interesting person. Whenever I interact with her, it’s always a delightful experience. I wanted to get to know her even better, so I sat with her and talked about more important matters.

If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know?
How successful I am, where I’ll live and retire.

Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time?
Yes, traveling to Peru by myself and I just booked it for September! It’s my first time out of the country. I also want to go to Tulum. Peru is a graduation gift to myself. I’m excited about the history, architecture and fabrics.

What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?
Right now, my education & my half marathons.

women-i-work-with-carly-coughlin-green-jumpsuit

What do you value most in a friendship?
Passion and real conversations. Being able to talk about anything emotionally and laughing. Get deep and laugh in the same conversation!

What is your most treasured memory?
I have a lot of good memories. One that stands out is going to New York with my Aunt & Uncle. They would take me shopping, to dinners & plays. They were like my second parents. We would go every couple of months by train or car. We’d spend hours just walking around the city. They would tell me: “This is how you should be treated in life.”

women-i-work-with-carly-coughlin-shoes-accessories

What is your most terrible memory?
I have a lot!

If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living?
I wouldn’t. I try to live everyday like it’s my last. I always show up warm and loving. I’m always reflecting to make sure my interactions are what I meant them to be.

What does friendship mean to you?
Love. Being able to be totally vulnerable. I can’t really explain it. It’s more of a feeling.

How do you feel about your relationship with your mother?
It’s gotten stronger. We’re super close now. I had to go through a period of time where I had to analyze her so I could understand why she was the way she was. Having done so has made me more empathetic and allowed me to be close to her.

What has been an embarrassing moment in your life?
It was the first day at a new school. My teacher scolded me for writing an incorrect word. I didn’t hear him and when he saw that I confused the word “reading” for “greeting” he yelled at me.

When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself?
As a kid I cried a lot. I could cry on demand. My family gave me a lot of crap about it so it makes it hard for me to cry as an adult. I cried by myself about 2 weeks ago.

Of all the people in your family, whose death would you find most disturbing? Why?
My baby brother. He lives far away and we’re so close that when I think about that possibility, I get really sad.

When did you last sing to yourself?
This morning getting dressed. I sing everyday. I always have music playing so I sing along.

women-i-work-with-carly-coughlin-pink-shirt-orange-pants-bike

Would you want to be famous? In what way?
Depends on what I’m famous for. CEO of Google? Yeah. Celebrity? No.

How do you create your look? Where do you shop?
It’s important to mix old and new for me to keep it unique. I try to buy my jewelry from local jewelers. Earrings are from There There Collective and my rings are from local native jewelers. I buy them mostly at pop up sales. Besides buying vintage, some of the places I usually shop are:  ASOS, Zara, Urban Outfitters, H&M, Bona Drag and ShopBop.

 

Flower Power

Erin’s approach to her personal style is to ensure that she makes people feel comfortable, relaxed and happy.

Erin’s approach to her personal style is to ensure that she makes people feel comfortable, relaxed and happy. Her work requires her to be collaborating and brainstorming with creative colleagues, and she wants her team to feel safe so they can be their most creative.

As an art director, her days can consist of running to meetings, digging through bins of props and/or prepping to be on-air talent, so her clothes have to be comfortable as well as stylish. She curates a look that is fun and energetic, but with an edge. The edge is unexpected and you have to look closely to find it. For example, examine the soft pink outfit she’s wearing. It’s comprised of pattern mixing and girly pink pants, but then she tops it off with a black tooth necklace! She always adds those little touches and it makes it really fun to run into her at the office and talk about what she’s wearing.

Erin is the kind of woman who’s style is effortless. She makes you feel something when she walks into a room. You know that feeling you get on a hot summer night when a cool breeze blows through? That’s the feeling! It’s the juxtaposition of quiet & loud, light & dark, soft & strong. She is an artist who is very clear about her purpose and what she brings to the table, which enables her to draw people in.

“I’m always hungry and wanting more.”

Erin has achieved a lot in her creative career. She moved to New York City after college and worked at Martha Stewart for 9 years. While she was at Martha, she launched and starred in 92 episodes of DIY Style with Erin Furey, her work made the cover of Martha Stewart magazine, and her illustrations and styling were published internationally.

Currently, you may recognize her if you’re a fan of Target’s new web series, This Just In. Erin does on-air work, and she’s also behind the scenes, directing & designing for Target.

women-i-work-with-erin-furey-white-overalls

She has great style, and a remarkable portfolio. I wanted to get to know her even better, so we got together and talked about art, floral design (her passion) and various other interesting things.

Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?
I have to say 1 person?
Ok, how about a dinner party?
Bill Murray and Paul Rudd would be there. Michael Pollen and E. Jean Carroll. E. Jean is the best in the world!

Would you like to be famous?
No, I don’t think so. I’d like to be respected and loved, but not famous. It would screw with my confidence if I was famous.

Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say?
It’s funny, we don’t talk on the phone anymore. The last time I talked on the phone was when I was interviewing, so yes, I rehearsed.

What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?
I have a hard time relaxing so vacations can be stressful. The “perfect” day for me is when my friends and I are working really hard to make something. Two of the best days I ever had were working on set. One was on a Good Things shoot for Martha. We had multiple sets going, there were dogs and we made a beach!

Another “perfect” day was a shoot for a fragrance commercial that I was art directing for 37th Degree. We were shooting at this house in New Jersey, it was cold and everything was dead. The concept of the shoot needed the scene to be spring. We “built” an azalea bush and I hauled in a truckload of tulips and flowers! I just love being on set!

women-i-work-with-erin-furey-pink-outfit

Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?
No, I don’t. I’d like it to be dramatic and by another animal. I’d love it if it was death by being torn apart by a shark or bear.

For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
My family. I have a great mom and dad.

Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time?
No. I never have specific plans or visions. I’d vaguely like to have a family. Generally, I just want to feel free.

What does friendship mean to you?
Really laughing with someone. Watching a movie together on a weekday. Feeling safe enough to be totally vulnerable.

What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?
I have a few, but one that stands out is gaining Martha’s respect. Another would be having no regrets. I can stand by my decisions.

What’s your most treasured memory?
Visiting Rock Beach on the North Shore with my parents. I remember bonfires and fireflies. Lots of fireflies.

women-i-work-with-erin-furey-white-overalls-loring-corners

Share an embarrassing moment in your life.
I was doing the Martha Stewart show in front of a live studio audience. She was going to interview me about this community quilt project that I created. Her and I had worked out what we were going to say, but when we went live, she changed the script! In real time, Martha was asking me questions that we hadn’t rehearsed and I just had to go with it. I had to think on my feet in a fairly high pressure moment and I did it. Ever since that experience, I’m not scared and I don’t get embarrassed.

If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?
Oh! I know! Memory! Being able to remember all the amazing experiences, books, movies, dates and articles. I could have the craziest conversations with anyone. I want to have superhero memory, especially when it comes to pollinators!

How do you create your look? Where do you shop?
I shop at a lot of different places: ASOS, & Other Stories, Gorman and Jeffrey Campbell. Madewell is good for basics. My accessories I find at places like: My Name Necklace, Verameat, Bagatiba and Very French Gangsters.