Meet Gen—the Nashville-based style maven behind Pencil and Paper Co. Known for her expert use of color and pattern, we've long been fans of her work! We recently had the chance to sit down and chat about her career, style and newly launched Creative Camp. Check out our convo below!
Tell us a little bit about yourself and how Pencil + Paper came to fruition!
Pencil + Paper was created kind of by accident. My husband and I designed and built a home nearly 10 years ago, and literally people would knock on our door to ask questions and tell us how much they loved the home. Ultimately that gave us the courage to leave our corporate jobs and take the leap from working for others to launching P+P.
While we initially focused on residential, retail, and commercial development, the brand and our passions have continued to evolve along the way. Pencil and Paper now has two unique divisions ("development" led by my husband + "lifestyle " led by me) working under one umbrella. My favorite thing about what I do is that I get to be creative every single day and that the hard work we are investing in a "company" is now our own!
How did your time in the fashion industry shape your outlook on design?
I spent the first ten years of my career with Gap Brands in San Francisco during the Mickey Drexler years. I often describe that time as the Harvard MBA of retail....there is nothing quite like learning by working for a big brand. I am forever grateful for that experience and think it has completely shaped the way that I approach my own business.
You were recently named one of Southern Living’s 2020 Tastemakers! What does it mean to be recognized as a change maker of the South?
It is such an honor to be included in the company of an accomplished, passionate, hard working, and kind group of women. There is nothing quite as powerful as women working together.
As a small business, we understand the value of collaboration and connecting with other entrepreneurs. Tell us about the recent launch of your Creative Camp and what inspired you to organize this amazing event!
The launch of Creative Club really stems from the desire to connect passionate, creative women in order to learn from one another and cheer each other on. Over the years, I've been really fortunate to find a small group of smart, creative, "figure it out" kind of women here in Nashville that have become my closest circle of friends. We meet almost weekly, and in addition to catching up socially, we often brainstorm our businesses, ideate, offer advice to one another, and provide general moral support (because we all need someone cheering us on). I realized that without these women and this incredible sounding board, that I would not have followed the path that I have.
Over the years, we've had so many people reach out through Instagram wanting to meet in person and ideate about their businesses or career direction. We quickly discovered the incredible desire for in-person connection and launched our live P+P Creative Camp events in 2018.
These events were met with such an incredible level of enthusiasm, that we quickly realized there are so many women out there searching to find their own "creative community". While we will certainly be hosting many more in-person events and trips (hopefully in the very near future when it feels safe to gather and travel again), we realized that now more than ever, we need the connection and support of other creative and entrepreneurial women.
We consider you a pattern mixing pro! What’s your general approach to working with pattern/color?
The key to pattern mixing is using an assortment of different scales!
The dining bundle you created is the perfect balance of sophistication and fun! Any tips on how to style it for easy, breezy summer dining?
I love the versatility of these pretty patterns and its happy color palette! Keep your palette light and delicate with soft shades of pink for a chic dinner party or add pops of red and natural for a fun, casual brunch!
Paint or wallpaper?
Wallpaper...can’t resist an amazing pattern!
Placemats or tablecloths?
Both! You can never have enough pattern mixing!
Favorite project you’ve worked on?
P+P Creative Club...launched on August 10th!
Favorite IG account to follow for inspiration?
We are always adding new discoveries to the list, but I'm currently infatuated with Gene Meyer!
Dream dinner guest?
Favorite coffee table book?
Currently can't wait to get my hands on my dear friend Mark D. Sikes new book, "More Beautiful"!
Color crush of the moment?
Red and green
Favorite words to live by?
"Create the life you want!"