Creativity – In the Studio With Emily Bargeron
In this series on The Southern C, meet some great Southern creative minds – the artists, designers, makers and doers – that are shaping our landscape with their vision and ingenuity. Go behind the scenes to see where they work, what they are working on, the path that led them to this moment and just what made them “take the leap” from idea to doing.
The subjects may vary but most share many of the paradoxical traits of creative individuals – they daydream, observe, ask big questions, people watch, seek new experiences, view life as an opportunity for self-expression, take risks and bounce back all while following their true passions. We hope you will be inspired as we spotlight the creativity that abounds in our region. According to Einstein, “Creativity is contagious” and this is one thing we are happy to spread!
This week we meet designer Emily Bargeron and learn more about her clothing line Mamie Ruth. With her uniquely Southern background, Emily’s take on Bohemian style is a clever mixutre of bold patterns, colors and materials. The Indie-Retro vibe gives a touch of wanderlust and has me wishing I could hop on a bus and head out to music festivals across the country!
Describe your brand or business:
Mamie Ruth is a free spirited clothing line that makes clothes that make you want to kick off your shoes and dance to the beat of your own drum. Each Mamie Ruth garment is designed and manufactured in good ole’ Georgia. (Whitney’s note – love their often seen tagline “All Handmade in the USA… DUH!”
There is never a “typical” day at Mamie HQ. We bounce from trade shows to music festivals, throw in some photo shoots and then design a new collection without stopping to figure out where HQ is that week. Our team consists of myself, our graphic designer, and four interns. If you walked into our studio on any given day we would have music jamming, girls spread out all over the floor in their “mess” for the day. We always have ten projects going at one time. I think that there is beauty in chaos.
My family is a huge part of my life and my brand. Mamie Ruth is named after my grandmother who taught me that I could do anything if I believed in myself. She was an entrepreneur when women primarily stayed at home with the kids. She had her own flower shop and worked non-stop while being a mother, a wife, and an amazing southern lady. She set the bar high and continues to inspire me to reach for the stars. (Whitney’s note: Mamie Ruth sounds like an incredible lady… I should interview her next!)
I love Disfunkshion Magazine and their website is full of inspirational stories, positive messages, and overloaded with cool chicks rocking the raddest clothes on the planet! The Miami based mag always inspires my passion for life and recharges my love for fashion design. It’s an amazing source of beauty and inspiration. Check them out and tell them Mamie sent ya!
I can’t say I ever “leaped” into this career. It was more like a wading process and I eventually found myself in the deep end. I started my own business as a high school kid making and selling jewelry at local craft shows and festivals and continued to do so throughout college. After graduation I began selling my wares to boutiques while working as a graphic designer at a local newspaper. I got an overwhelming response from stores who also wanted to carry the line. I eventually added clothing into the mix, making each garment by hand. It didn’t take long before I had to hire additional sewing help and then find local manufacturing to assist in the growth. It has been a very slow yet rewarding process of establishing the Mamie Ruth brand. Mamie Ruth is more than just clothing and jewelry, it’s the carefree feeling that you get when you are genuinely happy.
I grew up on a dirt road in South Georgia. We didn’t have cable or video games so we had to be creative to have fun. Creativity is the ability to manifest ideas into something tangible. As a kid I created games and toys and as an adult I am creating a career. Though there are many downfalls to being “creative” I wouldn’t change a thing. The ability to bring my ideas to life and watch people’s face light up when they try on a dress that makes them feel good is the most rewarding feeling.
Speed Round – Five Favorites
Alligators, Old Mink and New Money: One Woman’s Adventures in Vintage Clothing by Allison Houtte
Bing cherries and TMZ
Running is my escape. It is the only time of the day when I can think about anything I want with interruption. I don’t listen to music when I run, I just think. Sometimes I think about work, sometimes I think about donuts.
“Don’t be the traveler that dies of thirst when the waters of the oasis are in sight.” – Unknown
To read about more Southern creatives “In the Studio” click these links:
Whitney Wise Long, co-founder of The Southern C and contributing editor for Southern Living, loves to connect with Southern entrepreneurs and learn more about their creative endeavors. This series – “In the Studio With” – offers her the perfect opportunity to do so!