It's that time of year again, where spring heads into summer and we are thrilled to welcome a fabulous new summer intern to Mira Jean Designs: Allaira Bartlett.
Allaira first shared with me her passion for textiles about a year ago. Fast forward to February, when she reached out asking if she could be Mira Jean Designs' Summer 2017 Intern. The answer: Yes!
Allaira is a go-getter and I can't imagine a better fit for our Summer 2017 internship. She is a student at University of Iowa -- the state where many members of our family hail from (Go Hawks!) and my husband's alma mater. She, like me, loves coastal places and the water. She's studying communications and considering a career in textile design -- AND she's a marketer. (My favorite story of hers is when she showed up at U of Iowa's news station her first day on the job, there was a story breaking, they gave her a camera and said, "Go!" And she did -- and got the story. Pretty impressive).
But don't take it from me; "meet" her here for yourself: Welcome, Allaira!
Tell us a little bit about yourself: where do you currently live, what are you studying?
My name is Allaira Bartlett and I am a junior studying art and journalism at the University of Iowa. Originally from Portland, Oregon, I spent my childhood between my parents' homes in Portland, South Carolina and Guam. Because of this, I have a major case of the travel bug and am always looking to experience new places and cultures, learning about their artwork along the way.
Other things to know about me: I'm an avid cafe-goer, bubble tea enthusiast, future Daily Iowan Films Producer, diary-keeper, budding scuba diver, and of course, an avid painter.
Why are you interested in interning for Mira Jean Designs?
As an artist and art major, the idea of being able to turn my artwork into a profitable career is highly appealing. And while this is not an easy path to take, watching Kate grow Mira Jean Designs into success, has made me confident that she will be able to teach me the skills I need to know in order to pursue a successful creative career. I'm excited to learn about both the creative side of the process and ins-and-outs of running a small business, and believe that Mira Jean Designs is the perfect place to begin this professional journey.
What appeals to you about the textile design field?
I love the textile industry because it allows for tons of creativity in the workplace and the satisfaction of having a tangible, useful finished product. I have always had a passion for painting and think that to have the ability to make a living doing it in an industry such as this would be an absolute dream.
What do you love about design? Do you have any favorite interior spaces that have incorporated fabrics into the space? If so, tell us about it!
I love how design allows people to express themselves in practical ways. It's true that having a living space is a necessity of life, but how one chooses to decorate it is a direct expression of themselves and their values. One of my favorite spaces that shows this is the Biltmore House near Asheville, North Carolina. The space uses opulent fabrics throughout which showcases the wealth and tastes of the Vanderbilt family who lived there.
The beach! Especially the one in Astoria, Oregon. There is nothing like burrowing your toes in the sand, listening to the sound of the waves and relaxing with a good book.
Allaira on vacation in Guam, soaking up the coastal blues of the Pacific Ocean
A shot from Allaira's sorority photo shoot
Rifle Paper Company has beautifully designed stationary products and phone cases. For everything else, my go-to is always Target! (Local friends: shameless plug for one of our partners - you can find Rifle products at Red Barn Mercantile in Old Town, Alexandria -- and yes, they also carry our textiles!).
How fun is this mug designed by Rifle and Co.?! (Available via Anthropologie) --
Favorite color? Peacock blue. Check out these colorful stairs! Talk about color inspiration... (Source: via Pinterest & Real Simple Magazine) --
... And this seating area? Wallpaper, upholstery, pattern & color ... Galore! (Source: Architectural Digest)
Goals for the year ahead?
This year I will be heading the new Daily Iowan film team, creating both mini-documentaries and social media content. My goal is to grow this team, create quality work, and improve my leadership skills.
Favorite thing in your home?
Not things so much as moments, my favorite thing about home is sharing a cup of English Breakfast tea in our kitchen with my mom or watching saturday morning cartoons over breakfast with my little brother.
What makes a great business?
A great business is one with a vision that both its employees and clients believe in. Its employees would look forward to getting to work in the morning and leave each day with a feeling of satisfaction in their work. Mira Jean Designs is a great business because I know how passionate Kate is about her products. From hand-crafting each design to keeping her products made in America — Kate has a bright vision for her company which shows in every aspect of her work.
What makes a great design?
Great design is something that invokes an emotional response. Whether it's bold or understated, good design stands out as something that grabs the viewer and holds their attention.