A New Shop in Darien, The Trim Queen, and An Evening with ASID Connecticut

April 1, 2015

By Stacy Kunstel

Growing up and graduating college in this day and age—well, this is going to make me sound dated—but it’s simply not as simple as it was when I was in the same position. I did not have the possible pitfalls of Facebook, Twitter, Linked In or Instagram, which in my naïve hands could have treacherously weakened me in the eyes of potential employers.

That is if I didn’t have the opportunity to hear the likes of Kia Weatherspoon, who spoke to students and ASID Connecticut members last week at Fairfield University. Kia laid out to so many aspiring designers exactly how to connect and communicate with potential employers via social media and how she forged her own social media identity. These students are already steps ahead of their established competition because of the tips she shared.

Kia Weatherspoon

Stacy Kunstel and Kia Weatherspoon

Spring may not have arrived yet in New England, but it certainly feels as though it has when you walk into Kirby and Company. in Darien. The three-month-old store founded by Elaine Kirby bursts with color on the walls, furniture, on pillows, paintings and even in the colorful collection of macaroons in the café at the back of the store.

Elaine, who worked for Stamford-based Juliska for years before launching this venture, has a keen eye for presenting the preppy-cool items that also include great hostess gifts and vintage jewelry. The bakery items (there’s tea and coffee too) are recipes from her grandmother’s former bakery giving the store a two fold hit, satisfying your shopping and your appetite.

Kirby and Company

Kirby and Company

Kirby and Company

I went just a few miles outside of our New England borders this week to meet with Jana Platina Phipps, aka “Trim Queen,” to learn more about what she does as a trim designer. Jana works for Classical Elements, which supplies the home furnishings industry and produces private label trims for Pindler & Pindler, Robert Allen, Calico Corners as well as the fashion industry. She doesn’t just design the trim, but she also works with a design team to develop collection and even works in Italy with the manufacturers. She’ll be giving a talk at High Point April 19th (for CEU credit as well) about the evolution of passementerie. You can also catch her earlier in the day as she interviews Kelly Wearstler at the WithIt breakfast.

Jana Platina Phipps

Jana Platina Phipps

Jana Platina Phipps