From Santa Barbara Independent, Best of issue cover, October 20, 2022
I had the honor of writing the Santa Barbara Independent‘s Best of Santa Barbara winners once again in 2022. It’s always a fun project and it’s always a huge amount of work — but a little every time I do it. People are always so excited to hear they won, so that part is definitely fun. You can read the whole thing by clicking here, or on the images below.
Longtime Santa Barbara Wholesaler Takes a Voyage into Retail
Boho chic meets vintage flair at Tamara and JP Cajuste’s colorful new Indian Pink store (indianpinkpillows.com), a home furnishing haven stocked to the rafters with an inventive assortment of goods.
Pillows made from exotic textiles from around the world are the mothership that launched the couple’s wholesale enterprise in 2007, and there is certainly a vibrant collection of these one-of-a-kind creations. But with the new store (their first) comes a plethora of new merchandise, including tablecloths, napkins, upcycled lampshades, throw rugs, and a variety of vintage furniture covered in the same gorgeous fabrics that first inspired Tamara when she traveled the world as an American Airlines flight attendant.
“We take 19th-century old-fashioned chairs and couches from France and England, so they’re really well-made, and then have them reupholstered in a pretty fabric,” says Tamara. With supply chains still a mess from the pandemic, “the fact that you can get something that is repurposed and beautiful and available is a big asset,” she explains.
During lockdown, she even created a new line of super-comfortable yet still fashion-forward dresses (with pockets!), pajamas, and reversible robes — all of which are on colorful display at the store. “I wanted to have something cute to match my house to put on,” she laughs. “I had no idea they would be so popular.”
These days, Tamara sources her fabrics from four different vendors in Rajasthan and Shahpur, India. She relies primarily on instinct to make her selections. “I just fall in love with certain things when I see them,” she laughed. “I could never be an interior designer, because I can’t do modern things. I can only do what I do and what I like.”
Santa Barbara Independent, May 19-25, 2002. ON THE COVER: Madame Ganna Walska, taken c. 1958. Photo by J.R. Eyerman/Lotusland Archives. Design by Ava Talehakimi.
Gratui-Tees, originally published in the May 2021 issue of 805 Living Magazine.
Looking for a way to support Santa Barbara bars and restaurants, Beau Lawrence, owner of Ace Rivington (acerivington.com) clothing store, created the SB Monster Tour Tee, a
100 percent–cotton t-shirt with an illustration of a monster printed on the front and a list of the date-night hot spots in the city that Lawrence and his wife Yasmin have enjoyed on the back. For each t-shirt sold, Lawrence will donate $10 to what he considers a tip-sharing pool that will be divided among the establishments on the list.
“The idea is that the monster is waking up as things are opening up, and it’s time to have some fun and come alive again,” says Lawrence. “It’s also about wanting to come up with a creative way of supporting local bars and restaurants.”
Plays on the fashion company’s signature patterns—from toile de Jouy to the Dior oblique motif—embellish the line of women’s ready-to-wear garments, leather goods, shoes, and accessories in punchy chartreuse and raspberry, says resort manager Rick Fidel. “A parasol, a hammock, beach games, and fans,” are also available, he says, “alongside a series of decorative objects, stationery, cushions, and placemats.”
The pop-up runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day. “We are thrilled to partner with a like-minded and esteemed brand to bring this special experience to Montecito this summer,” says Fidel.
With time on her hands during the
pandemic stay-at-home orders, 12-year-old Santa Barbara tween Reese Large
launched Real Life (wearreallife.com), a
clothing company devoted to spotlighting
nonprofit groups that support activities
she cares about.
“When choosing nonprofits, I thought about things that I missed doing during the coronavirus pandemic,” says Large. “A lot of that had to do with outdoor activities.”
Her line of sustainable, sweatshop-free hoodies, sweatshirts, and tees supports outdoor-oriented organizations such as the National Park Foundation; the American Eagle Foundation, which protects various birds of prey; and Project Aware, which is dedicated to shark conservation and the elimination of marine litter.
From 805 Living Magazine’s Pulse section, winter 2021.
Launching a retail business during a global pandemic is surely an act of faith, which fits right in with Desert Rose Hat Co. (desertrosehats.com) owner Marlene Taylor’s mission to
make “quality goods for a higher purpose.” The cozy space in downtown Santa Barbara’s
historic La Arcada Plaza is tailor-made for her handcrafted hats—which are inspired by her father’s western wear and her own bohemian style and made using century old techniques—and her curated collection of clothes and accessories.
As for the higher purpose: 5 percent of hat sales benefit two Santa Barbara nonprofit organizations, Domestic Violence Solutions and CALM (Child Abuse Listening and Mediation).
“It was important to me that this brand be more than just a brand,” says Taylor. “My
hope for this company is to create ripples of change in my own community.”
“I had been playing around with the idea of Only Kid for some time,” Mitchell says. “When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, I had a lot of time on my hands, and that idea became a reality. Quarantine gave me the time I needed to develop designs and products.
“I wanted to make a difference in a way that personally relates to me,” she explains. “I have struggled with depression, and I wanted to showcase my art in a way that would raise awareness for suicide prevention, which is often a silent struggle.”
This story originally appeared in 805 Living Magazine, November 2020. Click here to see the section as it originally appeared in print.
From Santa Barbara Independent, Best Of Issue cover, October 15, 2020.
I had the honor of writing the Santa Barbara Independent‘s Best of Santa Barbara winners once again this year. It was a huge, fun project, and a little easier the second time around. Even (or maybe especially) in this weird year, people were so happy to hear from me and so excited to have won! You can read the whole thing by clicking here, or on the PDFs below.
805 Living Summer 2020, Mindful Millinery, story by Leslie Dinaberg.
Lovely, handcrafted works of art, the bespoke hats of Ojai-based Ninakuru (ninakuru.com) are also environmentally friendly.
“Felt hats are ethically sourced and hand shaped,” says founder and designer Jennifer Moray (left). “I source beautiful materials from around the world, such as vintage grosgrain and brocade ribbons, leather, turquoise, and other finishes, ensuring each hat is one-of-a-kind.”
Made of sustainable toquilla straw from Ecuadorean rainforests, the company’s authentic Panama hats are handwoven by master artisans in Ecuador before final touches are added in Ojai.
“The art of weaving an authentic Panama hat is such a cherished skill and so worthy of appreciation,” Moray says, “that in 2012 the handweaving of Panama hats was added to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list.
I’m honored and humbled to be able to create sustainably made products and do my part to preserve a precious cultural tradition.”
805 Living Summer 2020, cover art by John Galan.
This story was originally published in the summer 2020 issue of 805 Living. Click here to read it as it appeared in print.