June 2, 2009

In{her}view with Cassandra of coco+kelley

I'm so thrilled to have Cassandra LaValle of coco+kelley, queen of all inspirational style blogs, for a little In{her}view here at Plush Palate today!

Charming a loyal following with her incredible eye for style, beautiful images, and depth of knowledge for all things design and fashion, Cassandra is that cool older sister you always wished you had! This week she's celebrating her 2nd blog birthday and there is no stopping this stylish, business savvy gal anytime soon - Martha Stewart, House Beautiful, Lucky Magazine, The New York Times, and more have all taken notice! Her latest achievements? Being published in a book and a blog subscription available through Kindle! Yeah, I know, she sets the bar pretty high :) Let's get started!

Plush Palate: First things first, how’d you come up with the name coco+kelley? 
coco+kelley: There are a few different meanings behind the name coco+kelley, but basically, at the time I started the blog I knew I wanted to have a color theme that reflected my personality. In 2007 my favorite neutral for decorating was a rich chocolate brown, and my favorite color to wear was kelly green (still is!). Combining the two colors and concepts was a no-brainer! On top of that, the lovely Coco Chanel has always been an inspiration to me, as is one of my greatest design mentors and friend Kelley Moore (hence the extra "e" in Kelley!). It just popped into my head one day and there was no doubt in my mind that it was the perfect name.

PP: Which inspires which for you - fashion or design? 
c+k: There's absolutely no straightforward answer for me in that question! Just today at the design center I saw some fabric that reminded me of the Romance Was Born show last week - beautiful seaside inspired detail accented with pearls! It's kind of like a "which came first - the chicken or the egg?" type of question for me. They go hand in hand - inspiration finds its way into my head from MANY places!

PP: How would you describe your personal style? 
c+k: Comfortable glamour. Or, as Coco says, Expensive Simplicity. I need pieces to be wearable and liveable, but that doesn't mean that they can't be beautiful or that a touch of glamour can't find its way into that ensemble or room. I also need a little touch of California bohemia. It's just the beach girl  in me, I suppose!  

PP: Who is your pick for most stylish celeb? 
c+k: This is tough for me because I honestly don't really 
follow celebs. I've always really loved Rachel Bilson though. The Olsen twins have really grown on me as well. 

PP: Favorite fashion house? 
c+k: This changes with the seasons. I'm loving everything Chloe these days, but Balmain is really killing it out there - especially for fall. Chris Benz (yay for a Seattle designer!!) Bottega Venetta. L'Wren Scott. Zac Posen. Roksanda Ilincic. Elie Saab. Of course, there are the legends in their own right and the big houses will always inspire - Karl Lagerfeld is a genius. Love Galliano and McQueen... really I don't have a favorite. I find favorite pieces or collections, but not designers - I'm way too eclectic! 

PP: Favorite interior designer? 
c+k: I'll have to say the same answer as above - no true favorite - I'm still discovering so many designers every day! I will say that obviously Kelly Wearstler was a huge inspiration for a while. Love Celerie Kemble and a lot of the designers who were featured on the pages of Domino Mag because they understood that line between design and accessibility. And, I continuously find myself drawn to the styles of Jay Jeffers and Tom Scheerer. Also love Woodson & Rummerfield, m. design and COMMUNE (all out of Los Angeles).

PP: Current trend you love most?
c+k: Vintage. Never let a good piece die! 

PP: Current trend you wouldn’t touch?
c+k: I realized today that I'm officially over Ikat. But, never say never - it'll come back to bite you. I will say that those 'boyfriend' jeans?? Or pants with pleats? The ones that people keep high waisting or cuffing? No. Just... no. They do not work for me. But I've seen plenty of supermodels who can pull them off. 

PP: Last article of clothing or accessory you purchased?
c+k: I got a cute little gold tank at J. Crew the other day... I think that must have been it. 

PP: How was the idea of coco+kelley born?
c+k: I'm a nerd at heart and I decided that blogs were basically awesome for one reason - they provided a totally searchable place to file away ideas that were otherwise stacked up in magazines (many of which still are) in a lot less space. It basically started out of my love for design and the need for a place to file away inspiration. I didn't really even know if anyone would read it! I just blogged what I loved, and the rest is history. 

PP: You just celebrated your 2nd blog birthday (congratulations!). Where do you see coco+kelley in 5 years? 
c+k: This is a question I've been asking myself a lot lately - mostly because I wonder where all of these blogs will be in 5 years. There are so many now that I think the natural progression will be survival of the fittest - I hope I can keep up! I'd love to have coco+kelley turn into more than just a blog though. Obviously, I've started this idea with offering interior and event styling services through the blog, but I would really love to add more. Maybe an online magazine? A textiles line? Exclusive coco+kelley home accessories? Who knows! 

PP: When you’re not working, what can we find you doing? 
c+k: If it's sunny, I'm outside. Running, hiking, lounging by the pool. If it's raining, I'm usually rearranging something. I'm also a cleaning addict - I LOVE having a clean house. But honestly, I'm pretty much always working! Or redesigning. Or searching for new inspiration... lots of design mags, road trips, and thrift store shopping. 

PP: Any fun summer plans? 
c+k: Lots and lots of weddings. I'm not sure if that counts as fun, but it's a party and it's pretty much free, and I get to dress up, so yeah, I guess that's fun! 

PP: Favorite place to shop? 
c+k: Umm... wow. I have no idea! There are so many places and so little time. But, don't you just love Forever 21? It sure takes the guilt out of guilty pleasures like oversized cocktail rings and totally sequined dresses.  

PP: Your “go to” store for all things interior design? 
c+k: You know, before having a blog I think I might have actually been able to answer this, but now I have no idea! There are so many different shops and boutiques out there that fill all my little desires... my three favorite locals are Revival Home & Garden, Maison Luxe and Great Jones Home. 

PP: Coolest part about having your own business? 
c+k: Laying by the pool while everyone else is working :) Creative freedom is also pretty much awesome.

PP: Was it scary to the make the plunge and start it? 
c+k: Yes. And, I think it always will be - if the current state of the economy hasn't taught us that, I don't know what will! We have to consistently be innovative and think ahead, and when you're starting out that's a constant state of being. 

PP: Best tips for finding clients when first starting out? 
c+k: Networking!! You never know who knows somebody who knows somebody. And don't dismiss the little guys. They may not be paying your bills, but they appreciate you more than the big guys sometimes, and word of mouth is a powerful thing! 

PP: Best advice for new bloggers? 
c+k: Blog what you love. Find kick ass photos. Do it consistently, and give credit where it's due.

PP: How has blogging changed your life? 
c+k: The people I've met have absolutely been the best part of blogging. I have little 'friends' all over the world! And, I have to say being featured in a national magazine is also pretty darn cool. Mostly, it's given me the outlet to begin my own business, which is simply amazing.

Thank you Cassandra! We can't wait to watch coco + kelley continue to grow as you inspire us each day!


cassandra said...

that may have been the sweetest intro i've ever read! thank you so much crystal!!

suzannemarques said...

fab interview!!! THX!

Courtney said...

So insightful! Thanks to both of you great girls for sharing!

monica said...

great post, especially inspirational for new bloggers like me ;)

thnx crystal!

All Women Everywhere said...

Great interview! I actually know Cassie but learned a lot about her I didn't know, so kudos. And of course it didn't hurt that she threw in a plug for us....just the icing on the cake.

Crystal @ Plush Palate said...

Glad you enjoyed it as much as I did!

bridechic said...

Well done!

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