Plucky Pioneer Interview No.10



Morning lovelies!  I’ve gushed about this California girl before and am absolutely ecstatic to share her with you today, that’s right, today’s Plucky Pioneer is Dabney Lee!  The owner of her own eponymous home accessories and stationery companies Dabney Lee is the queen of preppy chic.  The girl literally does wedding invites, personalized ice buckets and everything in between!  I absolutely adore her home accessories products (just look at those monogrammed lucite trays—swoon!) and am certain you will too.  I also can’t help but mention that Dabney  just recently gave birth to triplets named Poppy Jane, Bennett Stewart and Elsie Clementine!  Can you even imagine???  Judging by their mama’s style, they’re sure to be the cutest trio in New York!  Below, the darling Dabney Lee in her studio.


Five words to describe yourself.

planner, new mother, energetic, dreamer, thankful

What inspires you creatively?

i love tearing out pages and pages of inspiration from fashion and decorating magazines. i plop down on my sofa and get lost in the pages for hours. i live in new york so inspiration is all around, from manhole covers to artwork on the sidewalk. it’s hard not to be inspired in this city!


Who are your design mentors?

i’d have to say my grandmother. she has always been classic americana from the way she dresses to the way she decorates. she taught me less is more and to always go with what you are drawn to, and for that i simply adore her.

How would you describe your personal design aesthetic?

in our studio we are all about clean lines and bright colors. we have a bright green statement wall and it’s my favorite thing in the studio. at home i am more beachy, comfy, classic. i hate clutter and try to keep things tidy and neat. with our triplets coming home soon, i am not sure how long that will last!


What propelled you to found your own company?

i have always loved paper and i started a fun little side business when we were living in atlanta. then when my then boyfriend (now hubby) proposed and said let’s move to new york. i said to him, if i do that i don’t want to work and i want to try my hand at this stationery thing. that was in 2004 and we did our 1st trade show in may of 2005 and haven’t stopped since. i love the freedom my business gives me to be creative and spend time with my family. what more could you ask for?

Most glamorous part of owning your own company?

being able to do what i love for a living. it seriously can’t get any better.

Least glamorous?

accounting + billing. i absolutely despise it. being a small business owner, you have to do most of that stuff yourself in the beginning and it’s just awful, especially for us creative types. most people would say the long hours, but i really don’t mind them. i get so much more accomplished in the wee hours of the morning and have been know to pull all nighters.


Best business advice you’ve been given?

one of my best friends, who also has her own fabulous business, once told me “don’t take it personally”. we pour our heart, soul, blood sweat and tears into our companies and if someone isn’t happy it’s hard not to take it personally. once i realize that i “can’t take it personally”, i am able to remove myself and really focus on improving our business and turn a negative into a positive.

Creative business women you admire?

lauren rauter, rock paper scissors (my bff). she is always inspiring me to challenge myself, to be better and think outside of the box!

jenna lyons, creative director at j.crew. she has turned j.crew into a style mecca! don’t get me wrong, i have always LOVED j.crew for it’s classic americana style, but she has given it a chic new spin on their classic style. i can’t get enough!


What keeps you organized and on task?

lists, lists and more lists. we have a fabulous super notepad that we sell and we go through a ton in our studio. we are also implementing a new internal system that should help us be organized and then some.

Moment you knew you’d “made it”?

i never really feel like i’ve “made it” personally. i know we’ve had some HUGE moments and for those i am incredibly thankful. i think having a staff that enjoys working, a family that is super supportive and customers that rave makes me feel like we’ve “made it” as a company, like we’re doing something right.


Describe your typical work day.

grab an iced tea on the way to work (unless i make it at home), check in with everyone at the studio, gossip session, check and answer emails, invoice {blah}, lunch, phone calls, design, go home.

What is your dream project?

a collaboration with j.crew or tory burch.


What goals do you have for your business in the future?

establishing + maintaining great relationships that will help us to get to the next level to do things we really love and can get behind. i would also LOVE to get even more organized if that is possible.

Advice to other budding creative entrepreneurs?

do what you love and hire a bookkeeper asap!

Be sure to check in tomorrow to see Dabney Lee’s Plucky Pioneer Cheat Sheet — her top picks for fashion, film and more!  Thank you Dabney Lee!

31 comments on “Plucky Pioneer Interview No.10

  1. The Zhush

    Love Dabney Lee so much! Recently saw those giant memo chevron pads in a local shop, high on my must have list. Looking forward to seeing this stylish lady’s picks tomorrow!

  2. Alaina at LiveCreatingYourself

    Hah couldn’t agree more about the finances and accounting. I’m so worried about dealing with taxes from my etsy shop come next March.

    Love her custom stationary!

    And Elsie Clementine?!? Is that real? That’s adorable! Sounds like a little heroine out of a children’s novel. “The Adventures of Elsie Clementine”

    Great post!


  3. rikshaw design

    such a huge fan of hers! we have did a charity show out here, and she is the NICEST person too! the chunky notepads are fantstic I have 2 on my desk right now! congrats on triplets!!!i am amazed and the names are the sweetest little names in the world!

  4. Shannon

    Can’t wait to see the cheat sheet tomorrow!

    I love all of Dabney Lee’s stuff. I gave her monogrammed salt and pepper shakers as hostess gifts for my bridal shower, and everyone loved them.

  5. Piper

    Another fantastic interview….boy, they’re inspiring!! I can’t believe how amazing Dabney is – her work is incredibly cool!! I love how she said not to take things personal. That’s something that’s always a hard thing to do whether you’re in biz for yourself, blogging or just working anywhere! That’s great advice…thanks :)

    btw…your triplet’s names are beautiful :)

  6. Haydee

    I absolutely love stationary and now Dabney Lee! Great interview and inspiration! Congrats on the business and your newest business of triplets!!!

  7. dabney lee woglom

    thank you kate for such a wonderful post! it was a pleasure working with a fellow cali girl!

    all of your wonderful reader’s comments are making me seriously blush… thank you thank you thank you! it’s the fans that make everything worth it!


  8. Amanda

    This was such a neat interview! Adorable kids’ names! I can’t wait to see the cheat sheet tomorrow! Happy Monday, Katie! xoxo

  9. Joanna

    If I were to strike out on my own and form a business, I think this is how I would want to do it (I adore paper). Very inspiring!

  10. Joanna K.

    I can vouch that her grandmother is a seriously stylish woman and also taught Dabney to be an amazing person and a great friend. I can also vouch that if you are within a mile of a J. Crew you must go in. I have no doubts that collaboration will be in the future. Love you Dab!!

  11. Paloma {La Dolce Vita}

    I adore Dabney and her style! I love that her aesthetic is so well-defined. She is truly a creative genius as evidenced by her gorgeous line of products and those sweet, sweet baby names.

    I love this series! Keep up the great work!

  12. Design Darling

    awesome feature — those are about the best baby names i’ve ever heard and the kids in my family are mackenzie elizabeth, reilly alexandra, grayson garfield, and camden oliver. i love our names but elsie clementine is just too cute!

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