Sunday, April 22, 2007

Warrenton/Round Top {Part 3} Conversation

Chris Brown: So, here we are. How does it feel passing the torch of Clutter over after all these years?

D'Ette Cole: Actually it feels pretty good. It's been such a great transition; for the Clutter show, for Staci Schwantz (the new owner), for Shirley Schwantz (my Clutter business partner) and for me. After coming to the bittersweet decision back in January to leave the Clutter Show and the retail side of the antique/junk business, I was thrilled when Staci expressed interest in buying my part of the show and all of my remaining inventory. Thrilled because it made it easy to turn over something that I'd worked so hard to create and build over the past 13 years to someone that is so appreciative and completely 'gets' my style, my merchandise and my customer base. Staci has a great eye and sensibility and is a great addition to the show.

D'Ette Cole: It's funny because I think my friends gave me a broader perspective on my exit from the junk business after all of these years. What I was viewing as just a different turn on my career path they saw as a major 'unfettering' and as an occasion to marked with celebration and threw me a "Farewell to Junk" party on Valentine's Day. Do I miss being out here and working and selling my merchandise? Absolutely. I especially miss seeing all of the great people that I've gotten to know over the year's out here who relish junk like me. And, I can always come back to visit like I'm doing today.

Chris: By the way, the food here at SACK LUNCH is crazy good. What are you having there?

D'Ette: Sharon Bright (Sack Lunch owner) is the best and the food is super good and she's very inventive with her menu. She made me a tuna nicoise salad with extra tomatoes - yummy.

Chris: This goat cheese, balsamic marinaded tomatoes, greens sandwich is a breath of fresh air out here in the country.

D'Ette: I know, it's been such a luxury to have her set up here at Clutter during shows. It was pretty amazing to be out here in the middle of nowhere and get my iced single soy latte every morning.

Chris: So what have you been up to since the last time we got together?

D'Ette: Well, it's been quite a whirlwind in the last 6 months. In the first week of January I got offers to do design/decor for 3 different events which were all in March and April. They were all exciting and challenging and very enticing and two were such incredible opportunities that i just couldn't turn them down. So with the new jobs on top of my existing clients, I knew that Etta Industry (my design business) had taken off to the point that i couldn't focus on it and Clutter too. So that was a really big realization for me and what signaled a turning point in my career.

Chris: This sounds exciting what kind of projects are you working on?

D'Ette: Right now I'm working on such an interesting variety of design projects. I'm doing decor work for residential interiors, design and merchandising consultation for retail businesses, I'm working as a photographer, doing graphic design in web and print media, and I'm doing design/decor for events. And, I'm trying to set aside time to make art.

Chris: Wow, a lot of what I'm doing also with Urban Prairie. That sounds like you have your hands full!

D'Ette: Yea, and it feels very productive and very good. One of my most exciting projects is a wedding event for the end of April set on the grounds of a historic hotel in Kingsland, Texas. I was hired to design the invitation package, do the site design/decor for the ceremony and dinner reception for 250 including floral and do photography and formal portraiture for the event. It's one of my more comprehensive projects and it has been such a delight to work with such encouraging and appreciative clients. My theme is an unconventional yet sophisticated Texas-style garden party incorporating lots of natural elements. I think it's going to be beautiful and magical . . . unless it rains . . . then, it'll be tented beauty and magic. I know from doing Clutter for 13 years, that when planning events at outdoor venues you've always got to have a firmly plotted plan b.

Chris: Can you tell us about the direction etta industry is headed now?

D'Ette: Well, I want to overhaul and expand the Etta Industry website. I want it to be more like an online magazine - making it visually more juicy. And, I hope that the interesting and challenging assignments keep coming my way. Things feel good right now, really good.

Photos by D'Ette Cole


Garden_Antqs said...

I loved reading about D'Ette's new adventures. I've been a fan of Clutter for many years and always made it one of my first stops at the shows. I really hate to see her leave this business. But...I understand. Thanks for sharing.

kansasrose said...

D'Ette is one of my new favorites! ( besides you Chris) and one that will be fascinating and intriquing to read about. Her photography, style and website is beautiful. Very inspiring lady. Thanks also for sharing her story. kr

oldflowers4me said...

im a new girl on blogger and flickr- so reading about what your all up to is fantastic, thankyou.