A Call to the Wild, the Indian Summer Experience.
We couldn’t be more excited to extend a view into the Indian Summer Experience. We collaborated with a fellow small business owner that is a true definition of female boss. Meet Alexandria Conn, owner of traveling pop up boutique Blonde and Blue. She not only specializes in all things for furnishing the Home but also is an extraordinary event planner. Ali, reached out to us after years of friendship to finally have our businesses co-create a vision. Ali staged, and meticulously set a Picturesque scene for 8 females to gather and enjoy endless wild freedom.
Below is a brief interview we did with Ali as she gives us a bit more perspective on what she has done, is up to, and getting in the works.
Why do you do what you do?
"Ive always known I wanted to be a designer. Really, I have my Mom to thank. She exposed me to HGTV and took me antiquing starting at a very young age, hooking me early on. My grand mother had a farm in Virginia that was decked out in all the coolest old stuff a kid could ever imagine. Indian and Native American relics, taxidermy, old grand father clocks, coral collections from all over the world, it was truly a magnificent sight. She had an old milk barn where she stored shelves upon shelves of antiques that she sold as a hobby. Poking around that old milk barn and picking out treasures to bring home is one of my fondest child hood memories. I guess you could say "picking" is in my blood."
When Did it start and How has it changed over time?
"When I was in college I moved into my first apartment in Philly. I absolutely could not wait to furnish it and make it fabulous, although my budget didn't live up to my expensive taste and illusions of grandeur. Like most college kids, I started out with hand me down furniture, lucky thrift store finds, and a few awesome things my mom would buy me for my birthday or Christmas. As I got older, I would remove and replace the less-than-fabulous pieces that were "holding me over" with new amazing finds. It didn't take me long to figure out that I could sell my old furniture for more than what I bought it for, and there would always be another poor college kid clambering to come pick it up! Thats about the time I became addicted. Once I realized how easy it was, I began buying furniture with intention to flip it, and started an LLC."
What design/ aesthetic do you enjoy doing the most?
"My personal style is very eclectic, and I think Blonde & Blue reflects that. In my living room you'll find Mid Century furniture, primitive wall art, middle eastern accessories, and Hollywood regency decor. Despite the contrast in cultures and periods, somehow they all play well together. I think thats why i like eclecticism so much, its something unexpected everywhere you look, and although you can't quite put your finger on it, you can just feel the Feng shui of everything swirling together like a symphony. "
What is your long term goal to have a Permanent location or travel like a true gypsy?
''My plan is to move to France and continue to curate, but on a much larger scale. corinthian columns, rococo mantels, stained glass windows, true architectural elements. I trust that my showroom will find me. When it does, when i fall head over heels with the perfect structure, i will fill it with beautiful things, and hire a beautiful person to man the fort while i continue to hunt down treasure all over the world."
Tell us the perks and downfall of the traveling boutique?
"The best part of the traveling boutique is just that, it travels. I am able to bring my store to festivals where people are coming specifically to shop for vintage finds. The idea of a brick and mortar store sort of reminds me of a spider that sits on its web all day hoping one or two fly's wander in, instead of going out and catching all the fly's. The biggest pitfall of the gypsy wagon is simply space. It does not, and never will, have enough space. "
What has been a sentimental experience? (A sale to customer)
"Last winter I was doing a show at the Phila Flea Market. I set out a new magazine rack that was for sale, and staged it with a few old books. It was still very early in the morning when two lady's approached my booth. Immediately one of the woman locked her eyes on the magazine rack and darted over, picking up the book that was on display in the front of the rack. As i approached her to ask if she had any questions i could tell her eyes were welling up with tears. She explained that this book was given to her by her mother when she was a young girl and it was one of her favorite childhood books that her mother would read to her time and time again. Despite her love for the children's book, somehow it had been lost over time. I began to congratulate her on her lucky find when she interrupted me - "No, you don't understand." She said. "My mother died last year and today is her birthday, the first birthday I've ever spent without her. When i woke up this morning i prayed to god, and asked my mom to give me a sign that she's still there, and watching over me."
What are your thoughts on the saying “another mans trash is another mans treasure”?
"Truer words have NEVER been spoken, its the premise my entire business is built on."
What was the best “score” piece you found and repurposed?
"My biggest score was ironically my first real flip. I purchased a Heywood Wakefield Dining table, 6 chairs, and matching credenza for $100.00, reupholstered the chairs in a crazy zebra print, then sold the entire set for $1,500.00! I was so excited, i threw myself a frickin' party."
In our latest shoot was it a dream design come true or do you another dream design in mind?
"The first Indian Summer Experience photoshoot was a dream design TO SAY THE LEAST. Since it was my first shoot, i really created it from the heart, meaning, it was a color story and vibe i would choose for myself if I were throwing a garden party or outdoor event. I have so many ideas, so much inspiration, as time goes on and i continue to create these beautiful spaces, I think it will become increasingly difficult to be able to pick a favorite."
In regards to Event Planning and Designs what themes do you normally pursue?
"Since my style is eclectic, I genuinely enjoy jumping from one look to another. Since my first theme was Marie Antoinette / Alice in Wonderland Tea Party inspired, I'd like to create a look completely out of left field next time. Im picturing a more masculine environment for the next shoot. Im excited to continue to showcase my range with each shoot, and my ability to really achieve any look you throw at me."