I was thrilled when Smitten Boutique reached out to me to offer an exclusive Q&A with both Gray Malin and Kirsten Martin, owner of Smitten Boutique. I was even more thrilled to see all that Kirsten and I had in common: one of her favorite books is Brave New World (my dog is named Huxley after this author), one of her favorite female entrepreneurs is Diane von Furstenburg (who wrote The Woman I Wanted to Be, one of my favorite memoirs!) Read my interview with Kirsten below:
What are your top 4 favorite books and why?
- Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
- Man's Search For Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl
- The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
- Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See by Eric Carle (my daughter Emerson's favorite - which automatically makes it one of my favorites!)
I love all of these books and I think the common thread between them is that they encourage people to think beyond the world in front of them, to what the world could be - and I think when we allow ourselves to dream or push our minds to overcome and see things in a different light - wonderful things can happen!
Which female business owners inspire you and what about them do you find inspirational?
Ooh - that's a toughie!! I love Diane von Furstenburg for being able to stay relevant in the ever-changing fashion world for over 40 years . I love Taylor Swift for being such a fierce business woman at such a young age. And I of course love Sarah Blakely, founder of Spanx, for all that her products do for my mid-section (kidding ;0) - oh yeah, and for starting an empire from the ground up and for always having a smile on her face!
What is the most rewarding part of owning a business?
I think the most rewarding part of owning a business if that it doesn't feel like work (which doesn't mean that there aren't bad days or tough times ;0). In my past jobs - I always felt like when I was working, my real life was paused and I couldn't wait to get out the door. At Smitten, I feel like I'm at home!
What are you smitten with right now?
I am currently obsessed with the Glassybaby line of handblown candle holders. We did a pop-up shop for them a few weeks ago to help raise money for the Northwestern Brain Cancer Institute and I can't get the beautiful colors out of my mind - I want one for every room in my house!!
Gray Malin has a section on his website called The Art of Having Fun, what does the art of having fun look like in your life?
Without question - fun in my world revolves around my three children (Jack - 9, Delaney - 5 & Emerson - 1.5). I didn't realize how much having children would allow me to relive the pure joy of being a child. I not only get to watch them experience the thrill of things first hand - I get to do much of it with them. We get to go to pumpkin farms, jump in piles of leaves, have backyard campouts, eat ice cream in our PJs, race bikes, roll down hills - and that's just the past two weeks - it's amazing!
Gray Malin is the guest of honor tonight at Smitten Boutique and a New York Times Bestselling Author. His second book, Escape, just came out on October 3 of this year. I am excited to feature two creatives this week on Hasty Book List (on Tuesday I wrote about Maureen Chiquet, former Global CEO of Chanel.) Continue reading below to learn more about Gray's book and where he goes for an escape.
Which artists inspire you and what about them do you find inspirational?
I am a huge admirer of Slim Aarons and consider it a compliment to hear comparisons. As for other influences, André Kertész was the first photographer whose work really moved me. I got to
see an exhibition of his in Paris a few years later and I remember thinking I just had to be a
professional photographer one day.
If you weren’t a photographer, what would you be?
I knew pretty early on that I wanted to be a photographer. I studied marketing in college, along with photography, so I think that if I wasn't a photographer, I would still work in a creative field, possibly as a Creative Director of a brand or as an Interior Designer.
Where is your favorite place to escape?
I escape to many different places as you will see in the book! For me personally, my favorite escape is to wherever my family is together.
In The Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin, Truman Capote says, "I think that’s
the epitome of living, to be able to create art out of your life." How have you created art out of your life?
When it comes to creating art out of my life, I find the more authentic I am to myself the better my artwork comes together creatively and the better it is perceived.
What are you looking forward to this year?
I am really looking forward to this holiday season! I know there’s only a few months of 2017 left, but I’m excited to be on my book tour as it’s so fun meeting everyone along the way. There’s also a lot of other exciting projects, products and collaborations launching. In regards to art keep an eye out for the release or my new ‘Far Far Away’ collection on October 11th. In regards to products, we worked for two years to develop a candle collection which debuts soon, as well as a very fun hand-blown holiday ornament, inspired by my photograph ‘Llamas Black & White Balloons’.