10.23.2012

Q&A with Anona Studio


Do you remember the fab fall mood boards created by my friends at ANONA?  I thought it would be fun to get to know the talented women behind this boutique print design studio - Sarah Leaman 
and Renée Shortell.  Sarah and Renée have been kind enough to answer a few questions about themselves (including advice on starting your own business and where they find inspiration).  They also have a fantastic tumblr page that is worth bookmarking!

What are your backgrounds? Did you study textile design?
S: I received a BFA in Fibers from the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). Although I did not have traditional textile training, I learned what it really means to be creative and inventive while using a broad range of materials and practices.
R: I received a BFA in Painting and Printmaking from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). For me personally, not studying any of the the traditional "formulas" of design has probably made me a better designer.

What sets ANONA apart from other design studios?
Sarah & Renée: We call ourselves a "boutique" studio because we really try to cater to each of our clients in a very personal way. In addition to offering a curated collection of original prints and vintage items specific to the needs of each brand, we will find that perfect vintage piece on request, and also create original artwork for clients that need just the right piece to round out their season. 
Read the rest of the interview after the jump.

Where do you find inspiration?
S: Museums and libraries, I could get lost in a library for days.
R: Art, vintage storybooks, nature...one of my favorite places is Morris Arboretum outside Philadelphia.
What are your favorite foods?
S: I love to eat, so this is hard.  I have a weakness for black licorice.
R: Indian, and anything my husband cooks on his smoker.

What is the best part about your job?
S: Waking up excited about what the day will bring.  Our job is always changing and while we have a routine, we can also invent change. That is part of what makes it fun, there is no limit to what could happen next.
R: Creative freedom.

What advice would you give to someone starting their own business?
Sarah & Renée: Research and plan! We spent close to two years conceptualizing and revising what we wanted this business to be and how we were going to make it happen. Running your own business requires a tremendous amount of motivation, self-discipline, and hard work, but if that suits your personality, it is the most rewarding thing.
What book is on your nightstand right now? What is your favorite magazine? 
S: I am currently looking for a new book. I just finished "Everything matters!" by Ron Currie, Jr.  Lula is my favorite magazine.
R: Right now I'm into listening to audiobooks while I work because otherwise I try to read before bed and that always ends after 2 pages. I just finishedSwamplandia! by Karen Russell which was amazing, and just started The Red House by Mark Hadden - so far so good!

Finish this sentence: "I never leave home without my..."
S: Renee and I both share an addiction to Smith's lip balm, I have it in minted rose. I also always need my phone like everyone else of course, and usually I have a brightly colored moleskin with a black pen rolling around in my bag. I write down illegible notes and ideas that I never read.
R: 
Yes! Smith's lip balm is delightful. Unfortunately, I always leave without my phone and then I have to return home to get it. I try to never leave without peppermint lifesavers stolen from the studio - we buy them in bulk and I love them.

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