Welcome to the first installment of Fellow Philadelphians! As you know, a big portion of this blog is dedicated to life in Philadelphia. I think it's important to support local businesses wherever you are, and this new series of introductions is my part in supporting the local talent and creative artists in Philadelphia! So for this first edition of Fellow Philadelphians I'd like to introduce you to Sarah and Beth of SquidWhale Designs!
I first met Sarah and Beth at their studio (which they affectionately call The Sea Shanty) located in a charming brick warehouse (mostly filled with women artisans) laden with colorful layers of graffiti. They offered me a refreshing drink, some red cherries, and a little something to munch on as we chatted and got to know each other a bit.
Here's a few things you HAVE to know about these girls: One is that they met at college; Sarah was majoring in Fine Art and Beth in Textile Design (later these areas of studies would make them the perfect partners in business!). They began their professional relationship while working together at the Midwives Gallery, curating and collecting for that space. This collaboration would show them that they work well together and eventually it led to the opening of their shop SquidWhale Designs in 2010 selling handsome goods for the wayfaring way.
SquidWhale Designs stemmed from their love of nature, animals and science. In the shop you'll find nautical inspired goods that are carefully curated, as well as handmade pieces. Vintage fabrics are sewn into pouches and bags with a focus on functionality and aesthetics. "It's hitting that sweet spot between functionality and aesthetics," Beth says, that makes their shop so unique.
What is your curating process?
"We've developed a color palette at this point. It's a really particular palette and if we find something that fits in with the colors, then we know we have to buy it. The color is our background and the filter for what we buy. We also always try to channel that feeling of an old fisherman's shack. We also try to have a more unisex, even sometimes slanted towards a masculine feel in what we do and incorporate in the shop. We pictures this character, an Old Sea Captain, and ask ourselves 'What would he decorate his cabin with'. We also try to satisfy our own aesthetic desire. Would we want to own it, would we want to use it, these are all questions we ask ourselves."
Sarah is on the left and Beth is on the right.
What do you love about Philadelphia?
Beth: Philadelphia is going through a renaissance and it's a great opportunity for a new businesses. It's a great location, you're able to get outside a lot, and it's a great city for convenience and urban living.
Sarah: I love living in West Philly. It's a great neighborhood. Lots of flea markets, lots of farmers markets, and beautiful gardens and greenery.
Girls ... you're awesome. Thanks for inviting me into your space and sharing your work with us!
Keep your eye out for a sponsored giveaway from SquidWhale Designs later this week!