I’ve collaborated with Melea Seward on countless client projects over the years, but when it came time to help me with my own messaging, she conducted the following interview with me to get to know a little bit more about me.
Tell me about your Taking Care of Business Tattoo. Where’d you get it? Why is it meaningful?
I asked (the super-talented, goddess amongst us) Minka Sicklinger, who has done three of my five (so far) tattoos, to do her take on Elvis’s iconic TCB logo. Like Elvis, I am known for taking care of business (in a flash). This was a tattoo I had wanted to get since starting my own business. Once my son was born, it took on a whole new significance and it became all the more important to have a reminder of everything I can do!
Any other tattoos?
I have the words “rock” and “roll” tattooed on my hips. I have a palm tree, a nod to my warm weather wanderlust, on the back of my right arm, and a matching love tattoo with my husband, a skull with a hibiscus flower and the words “till death do us part is for quitters”, on my left forearm. I’m looking forward to adding to the collection soon!
Name an obsession.
Dr. Pepper LipSmackers lip balm. I keep two in my bag, a back-up in my car, and there’s at least one stashed somewhere in every room in my house. I look for deals and order them in bulk; I think I have about 100 unopened packages at home right now. In addition to perfectly glossing my lips with an ever-so-subtle red-ish hue, it tastes way better than any “grown up” balms.
Of all the Apps on your phone, which three would you really miss if they were absent?
VSCO for editing my photos, Instagram for sharing them, and GoogleMaps for leading the way. I use each of them multiple times a day.
What is a product with a very specific purpose that delights you?
As a New York City apartment dweller, I’ve been trained to loathe uni-use products. That said, I have a wick-trimmer and candle-snuffer set from Diptyque that makes me feel impossibly glamorous.
Which is the most important part of a vacation?
Settling in (unpacking, getting comfortable) as quickly as possible in order to maximize that “on vacation” feeling.
What was the first artistic experience that shape-shifted your life? You were not the same after.
I saw Sleater-Kinney at The Middle East in Cambridge when I was 15. It was my first solo rock show and I have been hooked on the euphoric rush of jumping crowds and loud, passionate, guitar-heavy performances ever since! In a round-about way, I try to get that excitement through in my work.
What does Loki Loki mean?
I design to get noticed; “Loki Loki” is an aural play on “lookie lookie” with the added twist that Loki is a norse god of mischief, which speaks to my Icelandic heritage, as well as the sense of humor and creativity that are central to my approach. And it’s fun to say!
What is your favorite thing about Iceland?
I would be impossible to pick just one favorite thing, but one of my favorite things about Iceland is the pool culture. Everybody swims, everybody soaks. It’s meditative, it’s social. From “Iceland’s Water Cure” in The New York Times: “Every Icelandic town, no matter how small, has its own pool. There are ramshackle cement rectangles squatting under rain clouds in the sheep-strewn boonies. There are fancy aquatic complexes with multilevel hot tubs and awesomely dangerous water slides of the sort that litigious American culture would never allow. All told, there are more than 120 public pools — usually geothermally heated, mostly outdoors, open all year long — in Iceland, a country with a population just slightly larger than that of Lexington, KY.”
Name an obscure (to many) visual artist, dancer, musician, writer, poet, aerialist, designer, etc. who amazes you.
Donald Robertson has been called a modern-day Andy Warhol. His work is bold, chic, fun, irreverent, fashiony but not fussy, and just ironic enough. I started following him on Instagram per the recommendation of a friend and have since been completely obsessed with his every move. He did an in-store event at Bergdorfs over the holidays and I dropped a hefty sum on a brand new Tom Ford bag just to hand it over to Donald to paint all over it. As a surprise initiated by my husband, he also painted a shopping bag with my portrait which now hangs framed on my wall.
Name a peak experience.
I met my husband in 2000 on a flight to Iceland. I was going to visit family in Reykjavik and he was traveling to Copenhagen. I’m an aisle person and he’s a window person and no one was in the seat between us. We chatted and laughed our way to Iceland and that was it—no last names or numbers exchanged. Four days later it’s Valentine’s Day and we’re on the same flight back to New York together. He’s seated behind me and there’s no one else in my row. He moves up and we’ve been together (and flying every chance we get) ever since.
What does collaboration mean to you? (In 25 words or less).
Collaboration is the coming together of ideas and expertise in a synergistic way that greatly improves the end product. (Semi-antithesis: Compromise)
What is an object that has metaphoric significance to you?
Living in New York City is, in a lot of ways, a nomadic experience. We have the best of everything, and so much of it, but it’s a big place and a six-mile commute can easily take an hour. Entire days are often planned around one event and forget “running home to change” before whatever’s happening tonight.
My 18 years in New York have found me cultivating quite the bag collection. There’s no dainty clutch to be found. They’re all big enough to hold everything I might need plus all the in-case-of-emergency necessities, like a backup charger, reading material that’s actually committed to paper, and of course bandaids for the blisters. When I see my bag collection, I see the milestones in my life when they were each procured (my 30th birthday, that fantastic trip, my first Mother’s Day, that big project), but cumulatively they represent my life as a content, nomadic New Yorker. And yes, before you ask, of course they’re all black.
What is your favorite question to ask people who you want to get to know?
If you were a superstar ballplayer, what song would they play when you took the field?
How would you answer your answer to number 20?
‘Reptilia’ by The Strokes
What brings you joy?
Sunshine. The beach. The moment when a client gets to the place where everything “clicks” and they suddenly see how huge this will be for them and their excitement is palpable. Laughter and smiles from my guys. Rock and roll. Convertibles.
How do you know when a project is “right”?
When I have a meeting with a business owner and by the end of it we’re feeling like old friends, it means the project’s right. It doesn’t matter if I’m speaking with a real estate firm, a handbag designer, or a psychotherapist, once there’s mutual trust, excitement for their future, and a few laughs, we’re good to go.
What do you wish every woman with a business idea knew?
If you invest in your business (and yourself) strategically, you will see massive returns. You don’t have to do it all. Actually, you shouldn’t do it all! Do what you do best and what you’re passionate about and build a team to help you with everything else. It takes a village! Get yours!