I first “met” Simone LeBlanc through her inspiring blog and our friendship has blossomed from there. Back track three years and you’d find us commenting back and forth on each others posts – we had a friendship even though we had never met in person. In January as I was planning my trip to LA, I reached out about shooting her workspace because I knew from her instagrams and sense of style that it had to be beautiful and inspiring. Let me say, as you walk up the stairs to Simone’s workspace you are transported into a lovely cabin that has inspiration in every nook and corner.
Simone’s company offers personal styling, gifts, and creative services. She is the creative director for her clients personal lives – it can range from simple day to day creative details, or projects of a much broader scope. When I was visiting her workspace she was putting together a leather-bound book for a fathers 60th birthday – his children were compiling memories, quotes and photos to give him. All of the details Simone was piecing together were amazing.
Now, sit back and enjoy this stunning workspace.
I love working out of my home – it has always been a dream of mine to have a studio that is conducive to quiet creativity. I am often out in the stores and with clients and for 3 months out of the year I rent a raw space for my Holiday production – so you can imagine how I relish in the calm of my home!
My best productivity-at-home tips are to schedule small breaks throughout the day, away from the computer. These can be 10 minute breaks even. I schedule a late morning break, lunch, and then one again in the afternoon. I’ll walk away from the computer, make tea, stretch my legs. Constant computer work can be a drain so this helps me stay refreshed and focused.
When did you decide to start your gifting service?
My official start date of my business was in the end of 2011. I had been working as a lifestyle/tastemaker consultant with private clients and the gifting needs kept increasing while at the same time inspiring me. It felt like the floodgates opened – as soon as I started focusing on gifting, the projects started coming at warp speed. So I can almost say my gifting service chose when to start on it’s own!
I look through my gifting inspiration library of ideas. I’m constantly collecting and gathering concepts – details that are waiting to become fully formed projects. For me, the real magic of my business is that although their may be similarities at the root of an idea, each project becomes unique because of the client and their recipient. Each idea takes on the personality of the people involved, which makes the creative possibilities endless. I have a library of ideas – each containing parts that are tweaked and shaped for each individual.
Plan for the unexpected – that is the golden rule of Holiday Season. I have a stellar team – we work as a stealth, focused, creative little workshop and schedule ourselves for intense work mixed with self – care. I (attempt) to plan and schedule every step of the production to the nth degree – which allows me to say yes to the unexpected projects. I schedule in morning hikes, yoga and a trip to the Korean Spa when possible. It’s a given that I’m going to be working on high speed for 3-4 months straight and it will get intense, so mixing in down time is absolutely essential. My fiance now knows to book something special for us starting on Dec 27th – I need silence and nature to unwind!
What’s the most creative gift you’ve had to create for a client?
The one that takes the cake these days is when I recreated a room from a client’s childhood home, photographed it and presented it as a piece of art. It was incredible and invoked so many emotions – memory, disbelief, nostalgia, gratitude. It was an extraordinary project and the unveiling was a truly personal moment between the couple.
I’m a romantic at heart who longs for era’s past. This keeps me endlessly inspired and searching for the ephemeral….fleeting moments of emotion and beauty.
How does travel influence your eye?
I love the open mindedness required when traveling. This instantly allow me see to see things differently – knowing that my surroundings, the creations & life around me were built from completely different reference points than my own is liberating. I never know what will surprise me next – the light is different so color combinations are fresh to the eye, the smells and sounds are unfamiliar so they mesh in a new and unexpected way. When I travel it is often for pleasure so I am in a mood to absorb.
The gesture of giving is the perfect gift. It’s much less about what you bring and more about the idea of bringing that shows gratitude.
Stay away from flowers that need tending to or food to be opened that evening – a gracious hostess will feel the need to include the food or prepare the flowers and that can disrupt her flow for the evening. A unique & specific wine from a different country in the spirit if the season is lovely; a prosecco or lambrusco that reminds you of travel and can set the stage for a future evening together is fun. A sampling from you favorite chocolatier or specialty salt is always a great idea. Keep it simple and in the realm of a gesture. Also – stock up on hostess gifts along the way. I have a small gifting closet of items that are inexpensive, but interesting and beautifully packaged. Olive oils from trips to Napa, incense from my favorite spot in Big Sur – something simple with a story is always appreciated.
A huge thank goes out to Simone for letting me visit her beautiful home and workspace. When I have a workspace of my own I’ll definitely be taking inspiration from this feature.
Photos by Caitlin Flemming