Give us a little background on how Cinder+Salt came to be. What inspired you to start this brand?
I've always wanted to be self employed, ever since I was a little kid. I have a strong background in the arts and come from a very DIY-spirited family. My dad taught me to screenprint when I was 10 years and it was a trade that really spoke to me. So, I've been printing ever since and cinder + salt just evolved from employing the skills I had and the life I wanted to lead.
You have a passion for eco friendly and sustainable products, which is awesome! What/When/How/Where/Why did this become something you strived for in your own business?
Being a good steward of the Earth has always been one of my top priorities. In fact, most of my earliest childhood memories revolve around the Earth- specifically a memory of walking around with my family at an Earth Day Festival; watching the animated cartoon of The Lorax by Dr. Seuss; and a visit to the Trash Museum on a school field trip in 4th grade when I learned the true importance and value of recycling. Its not a question of if we should be keeping the Earth in mind- it's a question of how much we can actually do. And I think, as one person with a small business, I can make a pretty big difference. I'm uncompromising in my values when it comes to running an eco-friendly business- I don't really even think about it. Its just a way of life.
You cover all the bases with Womens, Mens and Kids apparel (loving the ties BTW). As far as the creative element of your products, where does the inspiration come from?
Honestly, ideas just pop in my head. I don't know where they come from or why I decide to make any certain designs, but I often just envision a shirt with an image in a certain color- I sit down and draw a sketch and then stow it in my purse until I can make a prototype.
I do however get a lot of requests from my customers and for those I do research. Pinterest is helpful in building out my vision around an image. For example, I've had a lot of requests for elephants so I started pinning images of elephants in profile, in the wild, straight outlines or sketches. I looked at origami elephants and baby clothes with elephants. Ultimately it helped inform my drawing as to how I wanted the elephant to stand or move on the shirt and gave me an idea of the feeling I wanted to capture through my color choices. I ended up using a deep merlot ink on a burgundy tee because the red/purple color feels regal and important, but the tonal value of the print is humble and understated- just like elephants!
I'm also a huge fan of color. Each season I order new color cards from my distributors and samples of all the new colors they're carrying in shirts I like. I often just come up with ideas based on the color selections.
When you aren't running your business, what do you love to do in New England?
I love walking around small New England towns. I love the architecture and the old-timey feel of New England. I also like to be near the ocean or in the mountains- which New England has plenty of. Unfortunately, I'm almost always working so fun-time is rare these days.
It looks like you've got something good going here, Rachel! Where do you see Cinder + Salt headed in the future?
One of my biggest goals is one I don't talk much about, but I'd love for cinder + salt to have a vast, captive audience so that we can create a greater impact for the Earth. I'm a big fan of Jack Johnson's All At Once Campaign which is all about small steps multiplied by millions, creating great change for the environment. I'd love for cinder + salt to have a voice that loud and an impact that can reach that far.
I'm currently spending a great deal of time and energy figuring out how to grow the brand without compromising the things that are most important. Reading, researching, learning, growing, figuring it out, thinking big, networking, hustlin', making moves. I don't want to look back and think that I wasn't doing enough to accomplish my goals. I'm looking at creating more jobs this year and expanding our retail presence in other stores, which are pretty exciting steps in their own right.