Many know Elaine Turner through her accessories brand, available online and at local boutiques across America, as well as her namesake boutiques in Texas and Nashville (and soon to open in NYC). Her style, her brand and her charitable reputation have won high praise, including being dubbed by Forbes magazine as one of the top 40 tastemakers to watch in 2013. We are lucky enough to know Elaine and find her to be charming, approachable and disarmingly funny. She’s the type of person you can easily talk to for hours, and we always wish we could do just that. Today, we are thrilled to extend our conversation with her as our FACE of the South!
Does being from the South influence your designs?
YES! Being from the South (and particularly from Texas) has shaped my design aesthetic tremendously. My brand embodies a Southern sensibility–always feminine, always glamorous and always FUN. I embrace these Southern ideals, and I make it a priority to try to never take myself too seriously, but always being true to remaining a lady.
Did the Elaine Turner brand launch with both shoes and handbags? If not, which came first?
Handbags came first. We launched shoes 4 years ago and it has been a very successful ride. However, handbags are our iconic category. The inspiration for our collection all starts and ends with our handbag collections. We will never forget or stray from our handbag roots!
Where do you get your inspiration?
I am inspired by so many things … my main inspiration comes from interior design, travel, color, nature and people. I am constantly observing different cultures and design styles. My jumping off point in the design process always start with color. One of my favorite quotes is, “Color is life, for a world without color seems dead.”–Johannes Itten, Swiss expressionist painter
At what age did you draw your first sketch?
I am not a technical sketch artist by trade. My design vision all starts in my head. I visualize a look and create a visual design narrative in my head. I then manifest those thoughts into tangible products. This is my process of creation. This has been my process for as long as I can remember.
What is new with the Elaine Turner brand?
We are in a very exciting place at ET! We are about to open our 6th store in New York city on Madison Avenue in November. And, we are launching a jewelry collection this holiday! With a lot of hard work and perseverance, we are seeing our dreams come true–pinching myself.
You are a mom and your husband works with you. How do you find time to carve our personal time that is not “work centric”?
It’s a work in progress … and it is something we work on every day. For us, our goal is staying mindful and dedicated to trying to attain that harmonious balance between work and our personal lives. We have date nights each week and we try to disconnect on the weekends. This is a constant challenge in my life, and I see it as one of my biggest learning lessons. My husband and I communicate all the time about this exact topic. Our marriage is not defined by this business; it is defined by love. I think that’s the key to making it all work.
What’s the best life advice you’ve ever been given?
To live wholeheartedly with compassion, courage and connection. This is my daily mantra as a mother, sister, daughter, wife, friend, business owner and mentor.
Do you have a mentor or someone who has inspired you along the way?
My parents have inspired me. They are both entrepreneurs and have a “can do” spirit that is contagious. They always told me I was capable of doing exactly what I wanted to do. Their “outside of the box” thinking and unconditional love and support inspire me each and every day.
With fall at hand, what are craving to add to your wardrobe?
Right now, I’m very into the color navy and pairing it with black. I want to invest in a sleek, over-sized navy overcoat or cape–perfect for the NYC opening! I also am attracted to the sexy, classic slit skirts that are trending right now paired with a classic, tailored jacket. The envelope, minimalist clutch is a must, and a refined taupe colored pump is high on my list. From the Elaine Tuner Fall 2013 collection, our sleek, sexy, heeled Shayne bootie and our Cheetah trapeze shape bag, Hattie Cheetah.
After a long day at work, how do you relax?
Well, right now it’s a football season and I love to watch football! I am a Texas girl after all! It’s a wonderful release and it’s something that our entire family does together. I also love a refreshing glass of sauvignon blanc and sitting with my family eating dinner discussing the day.
What’s your favorite luxury or indulgence?
Massages. I try to get a massage 2 times a month–it’s incredible for the mind/body connection and worth every penny.
What books are currently on your bedside table/Kindle?
I am obsessed with Brene Brown books right now. I am currently reading Daring Greatly. She has an incredible message of wholehearted living. It’s inspiring and food for the soul.
What Houston restaurants do you and your husband frequent for dinner dates?
We love Philippe. It’s French-cuisine-meets-Texas-down-home-comfort food. It’s very fun and they have a great bar too! We also love Mexican food, so that is a weekly outing– we love Sylvia’s and El Meson.
What things are always packed in your carry-on bag that make travel easier?
Cashmere throw, Fiji water, my Kindle and iPhone.
Name three things you can’t live without (excluding God, family and friends!)
Laughter, creativity and daily connection with the people I love.
Thank you, Elaine! For more information on Elaine Turner, be sure to visit her boutiques in Texas, Nashville, soon-to-be NYC, or online: www.elaineturner.com
And, StyleBlueprint is currently partnering with Elaine Turner boutiques and online for a fabulous $1000 giveaway to use on Elaine Turner products. To enter, click here.
Lastly, special thanks to Ashley Hylbert for the amazing photographs featured today. For more information on Ashley, click here.