Back in April, I (Susanna) attended the BD West convention in downtown San Diego. This is where all the commercial lines come under one roof to showcase their products that are ideal for the boutique design world. After hours of walking up and down rows of product such as flooring, furnishings and lighting it all began to look the same. Not only was I starving but I was tired and ready to go home.
Then I turned the corner and saw a small booth with the most beautifully framed old world textiles. If any of you know us sisters and our love for textiles and the ethnic vibe you often see in our designs, you know then that I swooned that afternoon and it wasn’t from starvation or the uncomfortable shoes.
It was at this moment when and where our obsession with St. Frank and the sweet founder, Christina Bryant began. Since that afternoon we have been following these gals and their journey in creating some of the most beautiful items we have seen. Christina, the founder, has not only turned her love of travel and beautiful objects into a career but she has allowed it to become a true lifestyle and way of living.
Christina and her team travel the world and collect as well as create a line of textiles and home decor that are unique and inspiring. It’s because of her dedicated approach in providing a quality product and her love in supporting artisans from all over the world who hand make her collections, that we will forever be keeping her and her company on our radar.
It is with great pleasure that we introduce to you our current crush, Christina Bryant of St. Frank.
What inspires you? Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Because we create and curate products rooted in traditional crafts, for inspiration I educate myself about fabrics and other handwork with rich stories to offer (all from low and middle income countries). I do this mostly through reading, travel, & going to museums. I’m also inspired by our collectors – learning what they love about our work and hearing their feedback.
In a few sentences how would you describe your style?
I love unusual combinations because I find the element of surprise engaging. I want my space to tell my story. That story has many facets, translating into a layered look. I take classic staples, such as English antiques (upholstered in unexpected fabrics), and combine those with modern pieces that are sleek and industrial. I add in heritage pieces, such as passed down silver, and arrange them against graphic accents collected from my travels. The result is a mix of genres that creates a cohesive visual environment.
What does good design mean to you?
Timeless beauty and a good amount of intrigue. To me, good design should surprise and engage its viewer, proving a deeper interaction.
When and how did you first find your passion for the design/home decor/treasure hunting world?
My mom is my greatest influence in developing my passion for design and creating beautiful spaces. She has incredible style and creativity. She appreciates the details I often overlook. We have different aesthetics – she is very traditional English-antiques-meets-Southern-charm, where I mix modern and ethnic pieces with her hand-me-down antiques. But she encourages me to pave my own way and appreciates my approach. She has also traveled with me around the globe and kept her cool when I went even further off the beaten path out on my own: my travels being my other great influence.
What do you love most about your career/passion?
Many things! I love developing unique products that stand alone as beautiful objects and also offer deeper meaning to our collectors. I am excited that our work harnesses the power of business to create social change – both preserving traditional artisanal craft and supporting economic opportunity for artisans. Finally, I get excited to go to work because I love working with my team and our external partners. That’s what makes everything possible and the day-to-day fun.
Who is your dream client/customer?
I think it would be cool to outfit a luxury boutique hotel in one of the locations where we work – such as Senegal – with our pieces that are handmade there.
How do you typically start your day?
Coffee, avocado toast, and the news… I wish I could say meditation!
How do you typically end your day?
No matter how busy I am, I end my day with at least 8 hours of sleep – I swear by that as my secret sauce.
What do you love most about the city you live in?
I live in San Francisco, so I am seriously spoiled. I love the views, weather, the ability to enjoy stunning natural beauty within and around the city. I love that so many of my best friends live there, and there is great local food and wine to enjoy with them. I love the city’s culture of innovation and risk taking, and the spirit of social justice.
Where is your most favorite place to travel and why?
Havana, Cuba. It’s a magic step back in time.
What was the best piece of advice given to you when you were first getting started?
Have fun. Starting a company can be overwhelming and stressful. Almost everything I’ve had to do to start St. Frank, I’ve never done before. It’s easy to get distracted by fear and forget to enjoy the amazing experience that I’ve had and am having, building a company. It’s important to me that I not miss out on the joy and excitement of creating St. Frank.
What’s the best piece of advice would you give to someone starting off in design/mercantile industry?
What is your favorite go to product at the moment?
Our crowd pleaser product is our Baby Alpaca Throw. They are so soft and elegant. They are also versatile – the perfect throw blanket, wrap (upgrade from the pashmina!), or travel blanket. They make great gifts. The WOW item in our collection at the moment are our Juju Hats and Day of the Dead Skull – they are of the moment and eye catching if you want to snag one thing that will refresh your space. Our newly re-launched luxe prints are the best buy – getting the stunning look that you love from St. Frank for less.
What is your astrological sign?
I’m a pieces. I’m not sure if I’m a true fish, but I think they are supposed to be creative.
What are you most proud of?
I work with smart, grounded, and thoughtful people. What I’m most proud of, at least for St. Frank, is the team and culture. I respect my team members and we share a vision for the company and culture that we’re building.
What projects are you currently working on?
We are coming out with LOADS of new product categories before the end of 2015… stay tuned! Sign up for our Collectors’ Circle for early access to sales and events.
What’s next for St. Frank? What’s your future looking like?
In addition to the above, we are preparing to launch a flagship store in San Francisco. I think that will be such an amazing opportunity to meet our collectors in person and allow them to experience the St. Frank lifestyle in person.
You can shop the St. Frank collection and learn more about the girls here. Or Follow them on Instagram!