A group of girls that work in our two stores near Philly ( King of Prussia and Suburban Square) along with one store employee recently promoted to the home office (congrats!) all went to see the weepies this week. They heard of the singer songwriter team because the home office had sent them the CD to play in their stores! They ended up talking to Deb and Steve (from the weepies) after the show and the girls told them the story of how they all knew each other and how they discovered their music. Deb was excited because she said half of her closet is Free People! It’s funny how things get connected…
Meet Amy! She is a pioneer. Amy is the first Free People designer to take a full time position overseas. Most of our designers travel regularly to the factories to over see product development, develop relationships with our vendors, and learn about how to improve our products with the resources each factory has available. Amy is working for us in Hong Kong where she can work hand in hand with our factories on a day to day basis. Previous to her move, she was working in Philadelphia as our sweater designer.
In this photo, Amy sits where a woman that specializes in hand knitting usually sits. Amy works with her to experiment with new yarns and techniques.
Here Amy is fitting one of our hand knit sweater samples on Sally, a girl she works with at the factory.
Here is a photo of where Amy keeps all the FP yarns. It is right near the sample room, so she has easy access to choose yarns for knitdowns.
Here is one of the factory employees working on a swatch. This machine is a 12 gauge handflat knitting machine.
And here is Amy writing a spec in an office of one of the three factories she works with the most.
Hopefully Amy will continue to send us news from Hong Kong. I’m really excited to see pictures of where she lives, the culture and fashion! So stay tuned for more news from China!
First of all, I must say, Bob is becoming quite a celebrity on the FP blog. Here we have some Free People girls joining Bob at one of his famous Eagles tailgating parties. Bob hosts one each week, and whenever he can get free tickets, he invites some of the FP girls to join in the festivities. He says that tailgating is an opportunity to really bond with friends.
Here we have the lovely Amanda assisting with the grilling. Bob says he chooses foods that somehow relate to the visiting team. Like when the Eagles played Green Bay they did cheesesteaks since Green Bay are cheeseheads. See, the FP girls are an interesting bunch. Bob’s haircut compliments of our favorite Montgomery County barber shop. It’s not all about fashion and crafts…
Found these images on what you make it (see below entry) by artist Lisa Solomon. She makes these installations using hand crocheted doilies and detailed drawings. They look so intricate. Pretty amazing.
Lisa’s work reminded me of some pieces we used for our Free People store fall display. The display team hand crocheted these enormous doilies from enormous yarn balls (you can see the yarn balls on the floor in the photo). The picture above is in the lobby of the FP home office.
I have been thinking about posting some pictures of the lovely ladies that ride our FP bikes, like the one above of our Design Coordinator Assistant. We have a few of these office vintage bikes the Display Team decorated with pretty flowers. Anyone can use them to run errands around the Navy Yard (our new office in Philly) like pick up the mail or just to get some fresh air during lunchbreak.
And then I was sent this picture and decided it was defintely time to post. This is Bob, our customer service manager. Some of the girls sent me some commentary to post in appreciation of Bob…
Besides being the pretzel guy – he takes care of us here…..he’s the “go to” guy (and one of the few men in the office). He was the only one who had jumper cables (and knew how to work them) when Joey thought she might need a jump one day – it turned out she didn’t…He offered to help Elena move into her new home along with a few of his buddies from college. He even offers to bring paper over to our printer by the box loads – since we can only carry two or three packs at a time. All in all, Bob’s a great guy!
Those girls in the lunch club have cooked up some more delicious meatless-wheatless-mushroomless meals and would like to share their recipes! (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, see this entry.) Here are the best from the last 2 weeks…Above is the lentil dal. Find recipe here. The FP chef said she had a little trouble with the first step calling for “enough water”. She had to keep adding more. Another tip… she also forgot to seed the Serrano chiles and burned everyone’s little tongues. EEk
And here we have a veggie shepherds pie. Looks yummy. Find recipe here
We have a new addition to the Free People team, our Creative Assistant! One of her first projects was to create a big shared calendar to get everyone’s life a little more organized. She used the back side of old wallpaper rolls, old blank sheet music, and other found papers all stapled onto the wall. The grid is made from yarn spools we have decorating the building, and then the letters of the month are cut out with an x-acto blade. We wrote on the calendar with pastels and markers. Now everyone can know what’s going on in the different departments. We already feel more like a team!
See? Look how effective…
The Free People home office is a dog friendly environment. It is not uncommon to see dog beds in the corners or little food bowls under people’s desks. So here are some pictures of the pup’s that are the office companions… Above is Fritz. He’s on the buying team. Fritz buys our knit tops and all of our accessories.
This is Barley. Barley is the master of the Free People website.
And here is Josie. She works on the photoshoots for the web. Here she relaxes in the studio in some fake snow used in the latest shoot.
Every now and then, we receive an email from our customer service manager letting us know there are fresh steaming hot soft pretzels in our kitchen waiting to be eaten. He is nice enough to pick them up in the morning from Federal Pretzel, a small pretzel bakery in South Philly (on the corner of 7th and Federal). The bakery pulls them right out of the oven and into this lovely cardboard box. Bob (our customer service manager) recommends you add mustard to really get the full taste. Thanks Bob!
Some of the girls that work on our website have a serious passion for cooking. They started talking about all the recipes they were trying for entertaining friends and family, and decided to try cooking for each other. They take turns bringing lunch to the office every day and have a few rules in order to accomadate everyone in the group. Each meal must be meat free, wheat free and mushroom free! Today they made the lovely meal pictured, curried butternut squash soup with potato & onion cakes. I’m kind of jealous I’m not in the club. That potato onion cake looks real yummy. Check out the recipes here and here.
Since I was talking about interview projects (see below entry) I thought I should really show you this picture. One of our buyers was interested in moving into a design position, and wanted to show that her creativity went beyond numbers and dreaming up new accessories to sell. So she made one of her own paintings come to life using strips of fabrics and paper mache. The inspiration was based on a spring trend concept we’re working on called Landed Gentry (more on this later).
This is how she described her project…”Handmade, tangible structure and materials for the intangible concept. Pink horses, flying pigs, buyers going into design…” She’s awesome.
The lady on horseback has been decorating our hallway, and the artist calls the piece ” rosy equine hall ornament”. I just think it’s so great to see the different ways people can artistically express their enthusiasm and understanding of what it takes to create here at Free People.
In order to get a creative job at Free People, you are asked to do a project that expresses your creativity and understanding of the Free People aesthetic. It’s a really great way to show what you are capable of beyond a typical portfolio. So anyway, one of our accessories designers had hand made these super crafty luggage tags for her Free People interview. She tapped into how important travel is to the Free People girl, how inspiring it can be. Obvoiusly she was right on, got the job, and months later is seeing her creations sold in the Holiday Catalog! Check out the hand embellished tags for sale on freepeople.com