It really was an action packed few days at the Design Bloggers Conference. Speakers like Charlotte Moss, Windsor Smith, Susanna Salk, and Newell Turner were amazing. Filled with idea after idea, story after story. All so very, very good. The presentation that spoke to me the most was that of my friend Barbara Barry. I don’t think I am alone in that thinking, as the crowd of 400+ rose to their feet at the end of her presentation, many with tears streaming down their faces. She spoke from the heart, resonating with so many of us, and was just extraordinary. Much like Barbara herself. Her presentation was based on her book, ‘Around Beauty’ which we have been selling at Watson Kennedy. Her prevailing thought is that beauty is all around us, we just have to see it. Barbara and I are so in agreement on that life assessment. It is the bond we share. The bend of a flower, the curve of a bowl, the color of a freshly poured cup of coffee–all have great beauty. We just have to see it. It was such a special treat to hear her presentation and be able to spend a bit of time with her. I snapped the above photo just as we were leaving Los Angeles yesterday. The below I took just as we arrived in Santa Barbara. Just simple beauty, constantly around us.
I am so excited to report that a big stack of “Barbara Barry: Around Beauty” books arrived yesterday at Watson Kennedy. The highly anticipated first book by Barbara Barry was so very worth the wait–I ordered big stacks for the shops as I know so many of our customers were elated once they found out Barbara was creating a book. This is no ordinary design book. Stunningly photographed, she takes the reader along her journey of design, but what I find most special, the journey of her life. Quality & beauty surround her, as it does all of us. Being aware that it is there, and seeing it in all the small details is the key. This book is a lesson in doing just that. I feel so honored that Barbara is writing the foreword to my book. The first time we met, there was an instant connection to both of our love of beauty. Her new book is a lesson in living a gracious, well-ordered, thoughtful life where beauty is a key element.
These lovely horn tea scoops just arrived yesterday at Watson Kennedy. I thought they were the perfect addition to a tin of Mariage Freres or Barbara Barry tea, and was tickled to find them. The beauty of the variation of color in the horn, with the blacks & browns is spectacular. I tied one off on a tin in a cello bag–all set to be given as a gift–and a stylish gift at that.
Creamy white pumpkins and white birch logs, now that might help shape a window, was my thought as I walked the show in New York in sweltering heat in August. I am always looking for one or two elements that pull a window together. I also like to have a window be more wintery and less Christmas-y till after Thanksgiving. Sadly, Thanksgiving often gets overlooked in the retail world.
We have a full Trunk Show day ahead. Jenine Ferrari from Dempsey & Carroll arrived yesterday and brought oodles of magnificent stationery to choose from. We will also be serving the 2 varieties of tea by Barbara Barry. Hope to see you there.
I am over the moon thrilled to now be offering 2 very special tea blends by design icon, and Watson Kennedy customer, Barbara Barry. Her newest, Orange Grove, smells as yummy as it tastes. It perfectly blends Madagascar orange peel, Tahitian vanilla beans, and an exquisite oolong. Just typing all those ingredients made my taste buds tingle.
“Hi, I am Barbara Barry. Have we met before?” was the first question of the day a few weeks ago, on a Saturday morning, after I had just turned on the lights and music of my shop in the Market. I was a bit stunned, as it was still early and my coffee had not kicked in yet. Standing before me was someone I have long admired. Nope, we had not met before, but I was thrilled we were at that very moment.
“Oh, you are the tulip guy!” she announced. She had seen me a bit earlier that morning walking up the hill to open my shop with an enormous bundle of field tulips in my arms, that I had just purchased from my favorite tulip vendor. She was as delightful as I ever could have imagined, and complimentary to boot.
“This shop is filled with such love,” she told me. What an incredibly sweet, and right on the mark observation. Myself and all the amazing folks that work for me put a tremendous amount of love and passion into the shops each and every day.
“This is one of the best stores I have ever been in. It reminds me of one of my favorite shops in Paris,” she said as she made her second spin around the space filling up her shopping basket. To get such high praise from someone who is an icon in the design world, really just makes my heart sing.
Out in the current issue of Veranda, is a feature on a new piece of furniture Barbara designed, called the Social Study. Her taste is sublime, and her comments, spot on. “If you want quality in your life, you want it in everything. You want it in a cup of coffee, you want it at dinner, whether you make it yourself or buy it in a restaurant. You have a standard, and you appreciate the differences. Luxury is not about style or trends. It’s truly craft–a tradition of fine things done well.”
Speaking of Veranda, I think the new Editor-in-Chief, Dara Caponigro, has done a fab job freshening up the magazine. I find I now look forward to the arrival of the new issue in the mailbox, as it is more approachable, a tad hipper, and just less stiff.
Caponigro was last at Domino. It is fun to see where some of the talented folks have landed. I had dinner at Peels with Rita Konig on my last trip to New York, and drinks with Deborah Needleman. More on that later…
Cheers to you, Barbara Barry! It was such a thrill & honor to meet you.