Friday, February 22, 2008

shoppingsmycardio interviews: reform school

from my first visit to reform school's outstanding website, i knew i was going to be spending a lot of time there. the site boasts a truly unique mix of art, home decor, books, paper goods, fashion accessories...i could go on and on.

reform school started out as a brick & mortar store in the los angeles area, but owners billie and tootie quickly found there was such tremendous demand for their wares that they set up the website, and it's been uphill ever since.

one of my very favorite qualities about the site, in addition to the dozens of fabulous things i never knew i needed but suddenly can't live without, is their 'student of the month' series. the owners collaborate with well-known or up-and-coming artists to develop a limited-edition print that is only available through reform school, and is priced to make the work of these amazing artists affordable for anyone. i recently picked up this amazing print by jen garrido (her first print, actually), of whom i've been a longtime fan.

there are literally so many things i want to show you all that this post would be ridiculous if i wrote them all up. so, i'm just going to post pictures along with the interview. just click the pics, and enjoy what billie and tootie had to say - they're just fantastic people!

shoppingsmycardio: i would love to know how you and your partner came up with the concept for this store - i don't think there's anything else like it out there. can you tell me a little about how you decide what makes it onto the shelves, and what the overall concept/inspiration is?

reform school: Basically the concept came from our love of several different things...handmade contemporary crafts, sustainable design and independent art and artists. We thought they fused well together and they were all related on some level. Our focus is obviously one of reused or recycled materials. Simply, what makes it onto our shelves are items we find unique and that we would enjoy in our own homes or lives. As partners, we're always bouncing product ideas off one another and most of the time we're on the same page. However, if one feels really strongly about something and the other may not be so into it...we trust eachothers instinct to at least give it a shot. So far this has worked out really well for us.

SMC: do you buy one of everything you stock? i'm not sure i'd be able to stop myself!

RS: We've learned to control ourselves a bit on ordering but still have a way to go. It's definitely a huge perk.

SMC: what are your top 3 favorite items on the site right now?

RS: Always the Student of the Month. It's just very personal to us. It means alot to us that these artists are willing to create something exclusively for ReForm School. We both love the Ayumi Horie pottery, Yu-i Chen scarves, We Are So Good Together print, and of course the Treeblock Treehouse and building blocks for kids. Okay, okay, that more than three, but really...we could keep going on and on!

SMC: are there any areas of the site you'd like to expand on in the near future?

RS: Yes, we plan to add bigger items such furniture and it's always a thrill to discover up and coming artists whose work hasn't been seen anywhere else. (Such as Yu-i Chen.....she's unbelievable!) We're constantly working on more exclusives with different artists and companies.

SMC: i absolutely love the 'student of the month' series - can you tell us a little about how that came into being? any artists you're working with that you could give us a sneak preview of?

RS: Obviously when you open up a shop, you want to offer something different and origianal and we are always looking for ways to work more closely with our favorite artists. The Student of the Month is a great way to keep customers interested and it certainly keep us on our tippy toes constantly seeking new artists and product for each month. Look for new work by Alyson Fox, Hammerpress, K-Studio and many more in the coming months.

SMC: normally, i'd ask about your favorite, no-fail outfit. but i'd actually like to know about your favorite, no-fail home decor tips. any words of wisdom for those of us who are desperately trying to make our homes as cool as reform school?

RS: Personally we rely on flea markets, thrifting...and the best...curbside giveaways! Any product from ReForm School would fit well with any decor Just like clothing...always invest in quality pieces. We always ask this something we'll like 5-10 years from now. It's a great way to practice sustainability.
a huge, huge thank you to billie and tootie for taking the time to chat with us.

one big ordering tip: if something you love looks "out of stock," it's worth checking in with the store before you dispair. they get new stock in so often, it's entirely possible what you're looking for is in the shop and just not up on the site yet.

ooh, and....well, let's just say if you're not already a daily candy deals subscriber, but you saw something you liked at reform school...well, today would be a really good day to sign up.