Celebrating Our Grand Opening

If you follow Kicheko on instagram or shopped us online, you may have seen announcements that we moved spaces in the beginning of the year from our coworking loft at 52 O St Studios to a small but mighty space in Brookland. A few months in the making figuring out furniture, flow and what a Kicheko space IRL would look like, we held a soft opening in late February to test the store out and say, "hello, it's me." On March 9th and 10th, we kicked off the grand opening of our new studio + shop with friends, family and our local Kicheko community. 

Before the Grand Opening

Maximizing our 380 sq feet to fit both parties Friday evening and Saturday, our new space includes our studio production space and a street-facing retail footprint on the Arts Walk located right off the metro and within walking distance from several universities and a great neighborhood with community feel.  We know that many of you live outside of D.C. and/or travel a lot but I wanted to share some highlights and thoughts about this new chapter in the business journey.

 
Studio Grand Opening
Setting Up Shop

Grand Opening!!!

Fortunately, it was a sunshiny day for the grand opening. Converting the space from a happy hour setting to a full day affair demanded a different layout. My husband and I arrived early to set the space, Jen arrived to take photos, and we were soon ready to open doors. From 10a-4p, we welcomed the public into our space and had interactive points for guests to enjoy coffee, writing station prompts, polaroids, French 75 cocktail, jewelry-inspired cookies, and an accent nail station. 

A big thank you to these amazing sponsors who donated product, time and badass talent to make the grand opening a memorable one and a success.

Morning Coffee by Fox Loves Taco

French 75 Cocktail Collab by True Syrups

Custom Cookies Inspired by Kicheko's button earrings + designs by Sweetri Bakeshop

Accent Nail Designs Inspired by the spring collection by Marnae

Check out and support these awesome local businesses and artists. 

Friends + Family Happy Hour

On Friday evening, I hosted a happy hour for friends + family as a thank you to this lovely group of friends and colleagues for coming alongside Kicheko, whether from the beginning or more recently but in a significant way. Each of these people has encouraged, advised, challenged and supported the company but also me personally as a female founder, women of color, women of faith, and business owner. Through friendship, mentoring sess over drinks, purchasing a piece of Kicheko from all the seasons, or collaborating on a product or event - each person in that room and also those who couldn't make it mean so much to me and without whom, this business journey wouldn't be as sweet. Thankfully, the fairy lights that my husband skillfully installed one long and late night, added to the ambiance. Our guests were also able to shop the spring collection early before its online launch. Thankful for our happy hour sponsors, Sospeso + Wardman Wines for their delicious and generous contributions. To end the evening on a sweet note, I ordered a gold drip coconut and passionfruit curd cake from Buttercream Bakery for dessert. It did not disappoint. The vibes in the room were poppin' and the weekend was off to a great start.

 
Grand Opening Day
Nails By Marnae

Shoutout to our Amazing Sponsors

 
Grand Opening
Sweetri Bakery
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Spring Collection

Guests were able to shop the spring collection before its online launch. 

 
Solstice + Olenna

Throughout the day, we welcomed friends, friends of friends, supporters and brand fans from all the way back during our days at farmers markets to more recent events and fairs. We enjoyed sharing the space and chatting away. However, a big surprise was seeing my in-laws and my mom walk up to the shop. They drove down that morning from New Jersey and coordinated with my husband to keep this a surprise. My brother-in-law, sister-in-law and her family also wrote messages. It was a lovely surprise sharing the day with family who have been a constant presence and support from the beginning. 

Grand Opening Messages
Grand Opening
Kicheko Spring
Kicheko Classics
Family Surprise
Family Surprise
Family Surprise
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Marnae Nails
Grand Opening Friends
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Grand Open
Jewelry Vanity
Good Vibes during Grand Opening
Grand Opening
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Grand Opening
Grand Opening
Grand Open Party
Grand Opening Friends
Marnae Nail Station
Kicheko Grand Open Friends

The day went by in a flash but felt I was able to enjoy many moments. There were moments where I wanted to be in all places at once to continue that conversation or spend more time with that person. As I looked around, I marveled at this village of people who have come around to move this idea of Kicheko forward and help me make this into a substantial entity, a place of connection and inspiration, and a business that I'm able to make a humble living from, and more so, help support children in Congo to attend school year round. It's not easy a lot of the time but there are moments like these that are full of beauty, connection and light - and I remember that I can do this, that my art and the business have come so far from button earrings and sewn scarves, and that I will keep growing with and alongside others. People give this dream a heartbeat and in addition to this beautiful group of people above to thank, I want to shoutout and thank:

Katie, Marcella, Amy and Obi - for pointing me towards this space and encouraging me to apply

Stephanie and Dean - for your constancy over the years and your make-it-happen attitude to bring our ideas to life and with organization :)

Jen - for your friendship and your amazing presence over the weekend taking photos, doing instastories and being an invaluable part of the team

James - for all the ways you show up, love me, make me laugh, keep me sane. thank you for your support and partnership all these years

Doxily - Jenny, Jill and Lisa - thank you for your consistent voices, truth, laughter and authenticity in my life. thank you also for having wine on a carpet when the space was a shell on a cold winter's day and thank you for helping me put furniture together.

Amira - your friendship over these last months has meant so much to me. i am learning from you always and treasure our morning walks.

You - if you made it to the bottom, i see you! thank you thank you for being a part of this journey with us. truly wouldn't be able to do this without you!

The grand opening came and went and now we are open Wednesday-Friday 12p-7p and Saturday 10a-4p.

Drop us a line or DM on instagram for a visit.

We'd love to have you! 

Posted on March 20, 2018 .

Diana Morales

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A few words...[in brief]...

Down to earth. Committed to holistic living. Promoter of Savoring. Business Savvy. Creative and connective. Explorer. Nurturer of Wellness. Fun.

I'm so happy to share this feature and interview with Diana Morales of Greenheart Juice Shop and Miss Lust Local. Formerly a military recruiter working for the government, Diana changed careers a few years ago, teaming up with a friend from high school to build Greenheart Juice Shop. Greenheart is a product line of organic and high quality fruit, vegetable, spice and alternative milk blends that is committed to giving you the good nutrients and energy you need to live your best life. 

 

Meet Diana

Lust Local is an approachable and easy to read guide of well being and living. Her site includes shops to visit, profiles to read, and content on living well. 

Being around Diana, you quickly intuit she has a sense of who she is and that giving energy to living the good life means both inside and out. A fun personality in any room, Diana has a fondness for the local economy and is creating that sense of community through Greenheart's new location in Great Falls, Virginia. On a sunny winter day, she joined us on the streets of downtown DC to amble around and share what's on her mind. 

 

A Year of Change

What is different about you today than in the beginning of the year?

 

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

Usually my days are really busy, and it’s my initial morning meditation that really motivates me to get up and get on my way.

What juices and milks do you swear by for the winter season?

Our more grounding elixirs like our Tumeric Cashew Milk and our Naked Roots Beet juice really help me stay down to earth during this time.

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If you had a magic wand, what would you change about your business or your industry?

I would want to educate our customers on how organic produce in concentrated food products is so important, as well as the health benefits of the boost and herbs we offer that can help to elevate your health to a new state of well being.

Who is a force in your life and why?

My business partner for Greenheart Alicia has been such a grounding and influencing force in my life. Her support has help me move through my days and her encouragement continues to guide me daily to make strides in both my personal and professional life.

On Challenges

When faced with a challenging situation, what is the first thing you do? What is the second thing? 

Panic, but no seriously. Then after that initial “oh shit” moment I start thinking about the actions I need to move through the situation.

 

What do you love about yourself? 

Probably my ability to accept change. Things change rapidly all the time and adapting to change has become a great ally.

What does self-care and self-love mean to you? 

Self-care to me is being able to take time to look after not only yourself physically but mentally and emotionally. To me self-love means being at peace internally and externally, to appreciate yourself and all of your virtues in the good times and the really bad times.
Valentine's Day Wish

What is a Valentine's Day wish for your Greenheart community?

 My Valentines Day wish for the Greenheart Community is pure love and appreciation. They stick by us through so many hurdles and through such tough times, I am truly grateful for them. 
Self-care and Self-love

What is a quote you come back to time and time again? 

Diana's Quote
 

OOTD: Her Own // Make-up: Her Own // Earrings: Gold-Plated Brass Plume Tassels in Matte Green and Charcoal

Make sure you're following us on Instagram to see more posts and highlights from her story this week. 

Visit Greenheart Juice Shop to shop juices and new products.

Follow Greenheart Juice Shop on Instagram


Posted on February 14, 2018 .

Amber Breitenberg

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A few words...[in brief]...

Down to earth. Connective. Multi-faceted. Event Organizer. Photographer. Practical. Unassuming. Commanding. Mother. Wife. Foodie. Explorer. Nurturer of Place. 

You know that famous Walt Whitman quote "I contain multitudes." I believe that true of all of us but when I think of this quote, I think of Amber. She comes to mind because she has manifested multiple expressions of her interests, passions, life seasons and you can't pin her down to one profession or role or title.

Good food, experience, aesthetics, accessibility, and atmosphere. Working for Freshfarm Markets, Amber coordinates weekly farmers' markets during the year. She organizes and runs a seasonal supper series called Makers Meals, which pulls together unique menus and experiences sourcing from local farmers, distillers, growers, and makers. 

 

Meet Amber

Amber cares about what makes a place distinct and its connectivity with the inhabitants interacting with it. Through her photography, Freshfarm, and Makers Meals, Amber gives attention to and creates experiences for people to understand the ecosystem we are a part of and the people that help us stay connected through food, drink and nature.  

Interested in what gives a place its character, flavor and personality, Amber's exploration of "terroir" has created consistent and beautiful experiences around the DC metro area. I am excited to share her interview and some of her journey this year. 

xoxo, 

Sarah

 
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You refer to a sense of place in your blog, your work and Maker's Meals. Your blog is called "A Little Terroir," and when looking up the meaning of "terroir," it translates to "of the earth." In your words, what is terroir? How does this concept apply to our daily lives?

 

In your experience, what have you come to learn about the terroir of DC?

DC is a city of great contrasts and intersectionality. On one hand, there is a transient community that is bumping up against a longstanding community. There are people from all across the country and the globe living next door to people that have never been on an airplane. There are  national politics happening on top of local politics. There are representatives lobbying for the biggest manufacturers in the world while a growing maker community attempts to sell their products at a fair price to provide themselves with a livable wage. There are billion dollar development projects in sectors of the city that have failing schools. There are embassies on embassies in a city where there is a huge shortage of housing. There are food deserts surrounded by some of the richest agricultural land in the country.

 

And still, DC has become home to thousands of individuals and small businesses that have chosen to invest in, advocate for and create the city that we all want to live in.

 
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Who is a force in your life (positive or negative) and why? 

Ohhh, dear. This one could be long winded. I feel like it is a bit cliche, but I think the answer is my mother - or, more broadly, all the women that have come before me and said “I want more than that” or “I shouldn’t have to choose one or the other” and paid consequences that made it so that I didn’t have to.

My mother showed me firsthand that women carry a strength that when unleashed, can carry a great deal of good.

I didn’t have an intellectual understanding of feminism until college, but I had already become a feminist as a result of watching my mother become a female force in our community.

 
 

What is different about you today than a year ago? 

I feel like I have come into myself in a big way this year. The year started with a lot of fear of what’s ahead (and there still is…) but events this year somehow opened up this area of female unity + power in a way that I feel I am beginning to live in a new way. I’ve been working hard this year to build my supper series and my photography business and generally just figuring out what I should be focusing on but above all else I feel powerful, like “don’t stop me now! I’m just getting started!”

Ohhh, and I’m a little edgier - I definitely drop the F-bomb way more than I did a year ago.

 

What rituals do you practice in your life?

The table. Yes, the table is a thing, but it’s also a place and an action. It's an everyday simplicity that has deep and profound resonance for me. When we gather round the table, we say a conscious "yes" to the physical, relational and even spiritual nourishment that we all need.

Since we first married, my husband and I have enjoyed cooking and eating with each other, friends, family, neighbors, and even strangers.

From the thoughtful preparation to the closing words and last sips of wine, the whole thing can be quite sacramental. On my best days, it is, in fact, just that -- the act of creating and participating in a sacred space where people can experience a sense of beauty, community and wholeness.

 

When faced with a challenging situation, what is the first thing you do? What is the second thing? 

Typically, the first thing I want to do it take a nap. I deal with stress by shutting down.

Then, I face it.

 

When I’ve been in difficult situations, eventually I get to a point where I just need to suck it up and push through. Humility has helped me get through a lot of difficult situations as well -- accepting my failures, forgiving myself where necessary, and moving forward.

 
Balancing Motherhood and Life
 

What is a quote you come back to time and time again? 

Amber's Quote.jpg
 

What do you love about yourself?

I love that I don’t bullshit. I’m a doer. I get shit done.

On Challenges

How do you balance motherhood and your work with the Farmers Markets, Makers Meals and your photography business?

I have a suuuuuper supportive husband! He is my biggest cheerleader and does so much to make sure I can say yes to things when it comes to Makers Meals and my photography work. I’ve also been learning from some really cool working moms that you don’t have to say no to one in order to say yes to the other. If you surround yourself with the right community, they don’t mind that you may have to bring your 2-year-old with you every now and then.
 

What are your favorite foods and smells right now?

My favorite food right now is labneh. Zayt & Za’atar is one of my vendors at the H Street NE Farmers Market and I get a container from them every week, drizzle in some olive oil and their zaatar spices and eat all the raw vegetables my heart desires! They even inspired me to roast broccoli and cauliflower with za’atar spices and then dip it in the labneh. My daughter is also a big fan so she often joins me -- though she prefers to eat it with a spoon.
On Challenges
Favorite Smells & Foods

OOTD: Her Own (Everlane, Topshop, Nisolo) // Make-up: Her Own // Necklace: Kedge Hollow in Sienna

Make sure you're following us on Instagram to see more posts and highlights from her story this week. 

Stay tuned for our next week's feature, spotlighting culture consultant and beloved human, Amira El-Gawly


Posted on December 19, 2017 .

Amira El-Gawly

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A few words...[prologue]...

Entrepreneur. Experience designer. Culture consultant. Career coach. Product developer. Beauty seeker. Mother to (35) plants. Soulful. Insightful. Loving. 

Living in Abu Dhabi, Egypt and now the U.S., Amira El-Gawly has spent the last five years building a design and experience agency here in the District. Hard working and active in the city, Amira sits on the board of a non-profit, coaches entrepreneurs, and loves to go to farmer's markets, concerts, shows, enjoying what the city continually has to offer. 

However, she is in a new season. Stepping back to take a much needed sabbatical from her design agency work, Amira is rediscovering and reorienting her skills, passions, time and resources. Renewal. The arduous but necessary work. The invisible work. The inner work.  

 

Meet Amira

Trusting that it will manifest. That it's already. 

Sometimes it takes the better part of a year. Maybe longer. But with it comes perspective, rooting, self-assuredness, and friendships along the way. Ours was a fast friendship for which I am deeply grateful. She has been a soul friend to me and to many others. Amira desires her life and legacy to center around love and it's evident in her way, her relationships, her home, her happy plants :).

I am jazzed to share Amira's interview and images that we captured on a chilly fall day in downtown DC. I love this chick! Enjoy learning more about Amira and her depths and heart for beauty, people, connection and the things that matter. 

xoxo, 

Sarah

 

What is different about you today than a year ago? 

 I started 2017 with a life-changing decision to leave a company I spent the last six years building. I was scared—it was risky and I had no plan for what was next. But anything I’m scared of doing, especially if others challenge me and tell me I “shouldn’t” do, I have a perverse attraction to doing it.  

It’s been a powerful and slow season of change and renewal, of grieving what I left behind, of rooting myself in courage and faith and love.

I’ve become more of myself. I’ve reclaimed control over my days, and have worked on designing them more intentionally to reflect what’s most important to me.

I’m more highly attuned to what matters to me, who matters to me, the people and experiences I believe are worth the investment. I feel a sense of presence and stillness that I haven’t felt in years. I sense God’s presence and touch in my life. I spend more time with the people I love and care about. I think what’s changed most in me is my desire and joy in spending my time with people after I’d spent years needing all my spare time to recharge alone, just to drain it all again at work

 

When you are at your most powerful, you...

love relentlessly, charge forward bravely and am in service of others.

What is quote you come back to time and time again? 

Amira's Quote
 
 

You have extensive experience coaching entrepreneurs and businesses as well as offering consulting services on organizational culture and leadership. What is an essential quality that every healthy company culture, no matter how big or small, must have or grow towards?

 
 
My Mother is a force in my life
 

Who is a force in your life (positive or negative) and why? 

My mother has been an ever-present force in my life. Over the last two years especially I’ve felt her support and love through this difficult time and important season. She is a force of beauty and courage and resilience and change, and I admire her ability to change herself, no matter her age. Just thinking about her puts a smile on my heart and face.
 

What rituals do you practice in your life?

Sunday mornings may be my favorite ritual. I wake up early, walk to the Dupont Circle Farmers Market and buy flowers and vegetables for the week. I visit with my favorite farmers, who always bring beautiful energy to the market along with their goods. I then go to my church and gather with the community there to worship and learn. Often, friends will come with me and we’ll spend time together afterwards over a cup of coffee, walking in the Shaw/Logan Circle neighborhood with no agenda in mind.

Another favorite ritual that I’m working on is a weekly early morning walk with a couple of friends (the lovely Sarah, founder of Kicheko, is one of them!). We meet at Wydown on 14th street for coffee at 7:30am and walk arm in arm (if it’s up to me), talking and enjoying each others’ company in the quiet early hours of the city.

 

When faced with a challenging situation, what is the first thing you do? What is the second thing? 

First, call a friend. Second, make a cup of hot tea. Third, write about it to work through it.

What are your favorite shapes, plants or materials currently?

I’m loving contrasting textures—rough linen, rich velvets and raw silks. Also in awe of all things nature gives us — these days, I’m having a love affair with trees, vine plants (like the pothos and wandering jew) and, always, my sweet fiddle leaf fig tree Dolly.
Shapes, Materials, Plants

You are a seeker of beauty. Where have you found beauty in DC?

Beauty is all around us. We just need to invite it into our days, into our eyes and hearts. I find it in the people I meet. In the flowers and tree-lined streets. In the hidden alleys painted with art and plant-filled balconies. In my church and the soulful music it creates. In the makers and brave entrepreneurs who serve us with their businesses. And most of all, I see it in the faces of every person walking down our streets, determined to make a difference, change the world and be a force for good. We live in a special place.
 
 
 

What do you love about yourself?

I love the people I choose to love and surround myself with.

I love my self-assuredness and faith in myself.

I love my random and strange sense of humor (and the laugh that comes with it).

I love the color of my skin and the beauty mark above my lips.

I love the way I listen.

 

OOTD: Her Own // Make-up: Her Own // Necklace: Marble Moon Bar (Dark, White)

Make sure you're following us on Instagram to see more posts and highlights from her story this week. 

Stay tuned for our next week's feature, spotlighting culture consultant and beloved human, Amira El-Gawly


Posted on December 12, 2017 .

Caryn Cramer

Force of Texture

A few words...[prologue]...

I'm fairly certain Caryn's designs are 1/10 of the imagination that she thumbs through in her mind. I'm also fairly certain she is a textile fairy. Deeply studied, highly playful and experimental, while rooted in practical functionality, Caryn's interior and textile designs evoke referential wonder. I met Caryn at a show a few years back in Union Market's Dock 5. It was hard not to want all of her luxurious pillows wrapped in her unique textile designs.

Unafraid of challenges and complexity, Caryn's curiosities have taken her around the world and also across disciplines. Not only is she an interior designer but she also holds a law degree, and is a dancer.

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Most recently, I visited DC Design House with a few friends. An annual design showcase for charity featuring a select set of local interior designers, Caryn's design of the guestroom was one of our favorites. Her bold uses of color, fabric covered walls, and hair-lined furniture pieces sang harmoniously in an ode to history, culture, color and motif. In addition, Caryn manufactures all of her products in a sustainable and ethical manner. 

I'm so happy to share her interview and images that we captured on a chilly fall day in downtown DC. I hope you enjoy learning more about her and find inspiration to dabble with texture, take on a lingering curiosity, or go on more tech-free walks/hike around your neighborhood.

xoxo, 

Sarah

 

What are your favorite shapes, colors, materials currently?

 

What is quote you come back to time and time again? 

Caryn's Quote

 

Tell us about your textile collection and your design/manufacturing process.

ON DESIGN.
Each collection I do has a strong identity behind both the patterns and the colorways. For the Egizio collection, the patterns are based on my sketches at the Egizio Museum in Turin, Italy. I found myself fascinated with shendyt kilts - I saw them in hieroglyphics, sculptures, everywhere!  So I just kept abstracting them in my sketchbook and then painted them into the patterns they’ve become in my fabric collection.  The Inca colorway is based on Peruvian weaving, Swiss is from the colors of mountain chalets and skiing villages, and Canyon is inspired by Lake Powell’s red earth and teal water.

 

ON MANUFACTURING.
I manufacture in the most sustainable way possible. I import Belgian linen that is certified to have no chemical fertilizers or pesticides and also no water pollution in its processing.  I only print on linen for this reason, rather than cotton, as linen is amazingly resistant to insects naturally and is a fast-growing/easily replenishable species.  I print using the lowest-chemical digital printing technique available, it’s called pigment dye digital printing, and it uses water-soluable inks and, unlike silk screen printing, has no water washes to remove excess dye, so there’s no wasted water or any dyes or chemicals released into the water stream.
Caryn Cramer
Bordeaux Pom Threaders

Who is a force in your life (positive or negative) and why? 

Avital Ronell is one of the most inspiring professors, thinkers, and women I have ever known.  I studied under her while pursuing my first master's degree in critical theory at NYU. The mental gymnastics we did, and the way she helped me understand Mary Shelley's Frankenstein in ways that blew my mind - I will never forget and am forever grateful.
 

 

When faced with a challenging situation, what is the first thing you do? What is the second thing? 

The first thing that comes to mind here is a renovation situation - like there’s a stud in the wall right where I wanted to center some plumbing pipes.  Eek!  I find contractors like to just say “we can’t do it,” or they think of only one solution to the issue.  I am the exact opposite: I like to think of at least 3 solutions, preferably 5, and then weigh them based on time, cost, and aesthetics. My favorite solution is probably going to be the one with the best look to the design (admittedly) but I like to get the client’s priorities accounted for, and then we move forward. My dad always used to say to me, “there’s nothing more dangerous than an idea, when it’s the only one you’ve got.” Better to have three….
 

What rituals do you practice in your life?

Dog walking is my most important ritual - I do all my best thinking!  And it’s important to be present for little Chester and make him feel like the focus of that time, rather than pulling out my phone every 7 seconds… So it’s a pretty strict 'No-Technology-Time' for me too. Just dogs, nature, and movement!  The other ritual I practice is that I clean my whole house every morning before my employee, Marine, comes to work. I cannot stand having things out of place or dog hair lying around…  I like a clean home and office.  I’m a you-could-eat-off-the-kitchen-floor kind of clean person. But still, the piles on my desk persist somehow…. Nobody’s perfect.
Caryn's Way to Handle Challenges

When you are at your most alive/powerful, you __________________.

dance or hike. With dance, I like being in a studio, working at a piece with other dancers and a choreographer/instructor.  For many years I practiced West African dance - we rehearsed with live drummers in the studio!  Gosh that was powerful, the intensity of the sound and the pounding leg movements.  Both dance and hiking are about giving yourself up to something bigger - music, choreography, nature, landscape, earth... It is both empowering and restorative.

What do you love about yourself?

I love my silliness, playfulness, and my insatiable curiosity. I’m not sure clients get to see the silly side as much, but gosh you should see me with my brother. And we get some laughter in at the office too.

OOTD: Her Own // Make-up: Her Own // Earrings: Pom Threaders (Blush, Black, Bordeaux)

Make sure you're following us on Instagram to see more posts and highlights from her story this week. 

Stay tuned for our next week's feature, spotlighting culture consultant and beloved human, Amira El-Gawly


About Caryn

Visit her design site here // Shop textiles here

Caryn Cramer lives and designs with curiosity, depth, and passion for detail. A native of Washington D.C., Caryn holds an English literature degree from Carleton College, a law degree from Vanderbilt University, and a master’s of interior design from the Corcoran College of Art & Design. A trained painter and dancer, Caryn sharpened her visual-spatial ability from an early age and continues to create compositions in both 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional formats. Caryn’s interior design firm creates bespoke spaces with an infusion of history, art, concept, and complexity. In addition to interior design services, Caryn Cramer LLC produces printed products in the form of upholstery fabric and wood veneer wallcoverings. Her textile collections juxtapose memories, wanderings, and scholarly curiosities across bold patterns and colorways. Caryn enjoys mixing practicality with the visionary and welcomes any creative challenge.


Posted on December 5, 2017 .