Voila! Compliments of my very dear and talented friend Jane Lilly Warren, the Southern Proper cheat sheet! Thank you so much to Emmie for taking the time to respond to our questions. I don’t know about you, but I absolutely adore her picks (Kate, Tory and Milly—yes please)!
Morning loves! I’m so excited to be reigniting the Plucky Pioneer series today with the oh-so-charming Southern Proper. I have long admired the company’s selection of preppy chic aesthetic and their Town & Country inspired fall campaign (pictured above) left me weak in the knees. Founded by friends Emmie Henderson Howard and Reagan Howell, the company sells an array of southern-inspired clothing, bow ties, neckties and accessories. Without further ado, here’s Emmie!
Five words used to describe yourself.
Authentic, Grateful, Steadfast, Southern and Social
What inspires you creatively?
Guys in Ties, Alliteration, Old Dirt Roads, Vintage Books, Handwritten Notes, Plaids and Ginghams, Strolls through Southern University Campuses, Dear Friends, Soirees with Champagne, The Derby, Country Clubs, Creative Cocktails
Who were/are your design mentors?
Truly my design mentors come from all walks of life….from our Southern Proper designer and Chocolate Butterbean Entrepreneur, Joni Lay, to my mother, the librarian, who wins teacher of the year almost every year for her creativity and love for children! I also get a ton of design inspiration from icons such as Ralph Lauren, Chris Knott of Peter Millar, Kate Spade, J. Crew.
How would you describe your personal design aesthetic?
Tried and True. Crisp and Refreshing. Draped in New Fashion trends and blended with Old Fashioned Traditions.
What propelled you to found your own company?
Adoration for a well dressed guy in a brightly colored bowtie, bit loafers- no socks, and a seersucker suit!
Most glamourous part of owning your own company?
Brainstorming and Creating new collections every single day…along with the chance of knowing that I could possibly bump into someone wearing our product anywhere in the world at anytime!
Least glamourous part of owning your own company?
Piles of Paperwork and Boring Bookkeeping.
Best business advice you’ve been given?
You have to do business with people you trust….but it never hurts to keep their credit card on file!
Creative businesswoman you admire?
Mireille Guiliano and Kate Spade
What keeps you organized and on task?
A huge dry erase board with important dates, addresses, pricing formulas, etc. Along with personalized jotter cards that I carry with me everywhere I go for notes and to-do lists!
Moment you knew you’d “made it”?
Our first Southern Proper features in Southern Living and Garden & Gun magazines! It was in print for all the world to see!
Describe your typical work day…
At Southern Proper every day is anything but typical! We are always on the go with meetings, travel, product development and fun! But there’s one thing you can count on every single day, we are always dressed preppy whatever the occasion!
Your dream project?
Partnering with an iconic brand such a Ralph Lauren on a Specialized Southern Collection. Or developing our own reality TV show to help gentlemen every look and act their best!
What goals do you have for your business in the future?
Our long term goal for Southern Proper is to be the leading lifestyle brand in the southern region, dressing men from head to toe! We not only want our customers look the best in the world, but be the best for the world too by portraying to lifestyle and tradition of the South.
Advice to other budding creative entrepreneurs?
Don’t ever be afraid to ask for help, always utilize your resources, and lead with your heart!
Thank you Emmie! Be sure to check in tomorrow to see the Southern Proper Cheat Sheet—Emmie’s top picks for film, travel and more!
It’s almost that time—I fly out tomorrow for nine days in New York! While I’ll miss Alfred dearly, I’m beyond excited to be headed back to my old turf. I’ll be spending three days in Manhattan meeting some of my design idols (pray I don’t faint…) and then am headed to the Adirondacks with my beautiful friend Jane Lilly Warren of Lox Papers for her three-day-wedding-extravaganza! Scott and Jane are two of my favorite people in the entire world and I’m absolutely tickled to be a bridesmaid. I’ll be blogging intermittently next week, but for all the details you can follow my adventures via tweet-o-gram.
What are your weekend plans my loves? Anything I must see in New York? Miss you till Monday! xx
Ashlyn Lovejoy (traveling in Africa, above), 23, New York, NY
My cliff-note autobiography…
I was born swimming in the waters and skiing in the mountains of New York and Colorado with my two older brothers and two younger sisters. High school was fine, but college was amazing. There, I met the loves of my life: my girlfriends! Boys may come and go (and one may even stick around for the long haul, though I have yet to find him), but there’s no one to gossip, share every little secret, and drink margaritas with like your best girlfriends. Now, I work for the contemporary furniture and design company West Elm in Brooklyn, maintain my blog Plan The Day (www.plan-the-day.com), and freelance for designers.
Five things that make my heart flutter…
leopard print in any form, horses, Scrabble, the Adirondacks, and the perfect pair of blue jeans. And my cat Malcolm. And my four month-old nephew Stone.
My dream dinner party…
While there are so many famous people dead and alive, like the comedian Gilda Radnor or the novelist John Irving, that I could imagine sitting around my dining table, there is no one else in the world with whom I would rather spend my time than my closest friends and family. Everyone would be crammed around my small table with chairs, maybe even a stool or two, brought in from other rooms in order to seat them all. The meal would be simple, a delicious pasta bolognese perhaps, and the wine would flow. The focus of the meal would be each other; and the neighbors would have to bang on the door and ask us to keep it to a dull roar.
In ten years I will be…
living in a cozy home in my hometown outside of New York City, married to a wonderful man with a child or two running amok. By then, I will have marked off more than half of my dream destinations on my travel list and I will be planning on sharing more worldly adventures to China, Tanzania, Peru, and more with my children. I will stay at home with my munchkins in their younger years, baking cookies and creating pasta art, then freelance for designer friends and participate in charity work once they’re in school.
I am neo-traditional because…
I enjoy walking up and down each chilly aisle of the grocery store, carefully testing the ripeness of and selecting each food; because I was a Classical Studies major with a focus on Latin and a French minor; because I am passionate about proper grammar and spelling; because I keep a diary and send hand-written letters and notes; and because I spend my free time reading, imagining the interior of my future home (understated feminine elegance with masculine flairs and whimsical touches), and needle-pointing.
Thank you Ashlyn! I hope we’ll get to meet someday soon! xx katie