What motivated you to become a designer, and how did you start?
There’s a quote I love by artist Jessica Hische that goes, “The work you do while you procrastinate is probably the work you should be doing with the rest of your life.” That’s how I got started. I was motivated to become a designer for two reasons- it grieved me that people were dying from working in factories making the cheap stuff we consume every day, like clothing or home décor. Also, there was my passion for design. I often procrastinate by creating elaborate doodles on the corner of my notebooks at school and work. It took several years to discover that these two things could be tied together. I married my passion for design and my disdain for unethical production methods to create a company that offers great design and sustainable products.
What is your biggest inspiration when designing?
It’s usually the world around me. Keep in mind that the world around me can look very different depending on where I am on a given day. Whether I’m in the city or the most remote tropical destination, I can find inspiration.
Where do you feel most creative?
It’s not necessarily a specific location; it’s more like a state of mind. Basically, it's when I’m not thinking with my left brain. I have to step out of my day-to-day routine and allow my mind to wander freely. I’m a night owl, so I work really well when the sun goes down, and everything around me quiets down.
How does your brand practice sustainability?
From the beginning, sustainability has been a hallmark of my business. We use OEKO-TEX certified fabrics, BCI cotton, and eco-friendly dyes whenever possible. We ensure that our products are made in ethical factories worldwide. For the activewear side of the brand, we use a print-on-demand method, so nothing gets made until a customer orders it. That reduces the chances of the product ending up in a landfill or languishing in a warehouse. At the end of the day, I just want to design high quality products that are not readily disposable and last a long time.
What part of building your brand are you most proud of?
The fact that I’m still doing it! I started out with no formal design or business background. There has been obstacle after obstacle. Entrepreneurship is hard enough, even with experience, so I am most proud of the fact that I’ve remained passionate and tenacious about building my brand.
What are your three best styling tips?
- If you like it, you can make it work. Maybe there’s a boho lamp and a contemporary rug that you like. Conventional wisdom would say that these two items shouldn’t work together, but I find that it’s not difficult to create harmony with seemingly disparate items if you’re aesthetically drawn to both.
- Less is usually more. Focus on filling your space with items that bring you joy, and throw out the "professional" advice about what you should have. If you focus on pieces you love (and if you’re honest with yourself, you only truly love a few pieces), you’ll eliminate clutter, breathe easier and feel more comfortable and at peace in your space.
- I think it’s probably the same in fashion- mixing high and low. There are some pieces that you’ll want to pass down to your grandchildren, so you can splurge on those. And then there are pieces that are trendy, less expensive, or maybe easily convertible, like a pillow cover. You can swap these out seasonally or mix them with pieces you’ll have forever for more versatility.
Out of all of your pieces, which is your favorite to gift?
I’d say the throws just because of the versatility. They’re the most practical of all the pieces because they’re decorative and vibrant, they keep you warm, and you can use them throughout all four seasons. Even when you’re not using them for warmth, they still add a pop of whimsy to your couch or bed.
Can you give any advice on how to add color to your home?
Just do it! If you’re skittish about using color, start small. Think about the colors that elevate your mood the most– the ones you have a visceral, positive reaction to, and add pops of those everywhere. It can be an accessory like a throw or pillow. You don’t have to paint the walls or wallpaper the whole room in a particular color. You can start off small with those accent pieces.
Shop the Rochelle Porter collection here.