Rosanna Bowles has a passion for capturing the sweetness of life through food and traditions. She channels that inspiration to her company Rosanna, Inc. creating a fashion-forward yet functional line of dishware that sets the table for anyone to entertain with elegance and ease. She joins us today to share how she went from a little girl with big taste to beat the odds at starting her own company. And of course, she hasn’t come empty handed!
Tell us how Rosanna, Inc. came to be
When I graduated from college, young women from my generation had to struggle to find places for themselves in the business world. My educational background made the search trickier since I had spent most of my college years studying art history, literature and Romance language, getting my Masters in Italian Language and Literature. I soon realized I wasn’t going to find my “dream job;” I needed to create it. I started “Rosanna Imports, Inc,” a company that imported hand-painted ceramics to the US from Italy. Because I spoke fluent Italian, I was able to work directly with the artisans and factories, drawing on my knowledge of art history, foreign language and design.
In the beginning, Rosanna Imports operated out of my small bungalow in Seattle. I packed and shipped all the orders myself and didn’t take a salary for three years, investing every penny back into the company. It was hard, very hard, but my dream to produce beautiful dishes for the home was so strong that I did not, would not, give up, even in the thick of the most challenging situations. In the 1990’s, I almost lost the company due to overstock, but just in the nick of time received a large order from a well-known high-fashion home store. They placed an order for $400,000.00, which ensured the company stayed afloat.
I have learned so many valuable life lessons being president and founder, as well as designer, for Rosanna Inc. As trite as it sounds, the most important lesson I learned to believe in myself. I never stopped telling myself that I could accomplish anything, as long as I never gave up and always persevered. Today, I am proud of the example I have set for my daughters. They too are young women on the path to realizing their dreams.
How would you describe your personal style and how does it influence your designs?
My personal style has been influenced strongly by my life experiences and my education. I grew up in Portland, Oregon, and my mother was my muse. She was a self-made woman from the Midwest, Kansas born and bred, with a strong commitment to the importance of family and traditions that has inspired many of my collection ideas and designs. My studies in art history also had a great influence on my aesthetic, broadening my awareness of different visual movements that I frequently incorporate in our collections.
Truly though, my most important source of inspiration is my family. I try as often as possible to incorporate the values I want to teach my children and the legacy my mother left into my designs. My goal is to live well, live mindfully, and create a foundation of love, tradition and respect as I live each day. These are the fundamental values that influence my designs.
What trends are catching your eye and how will we see them incorporated in future Rosanna, Inc. products?
Home-based entertainment, home cooking, and potluck dinners are occurring with more and more frequency across the nation. Home is becoming a place to entertain, renew, refresh and nurture. During last twenty years, I believe we’ve lost sight of the importance of homemaking and connection to those we live with, family, those we live next to, neighbors, and those we see frequently, friends.
This renewed interest in nesting reinforces the philosophy of how we design. At Rosanna, we design products that encourage the celebration of life’s small pleasures; products that help people connect, whether that means celebrating birthdays together, having a pasta dinner, or inviting friends over for a bottle of wine and appetizers. Lastly, we design products meant to be passed down from generation to generation. We strive to make our products reflect this commitment.
Let’s get to know Rosanna a little better with a “quick-fire” round of questions:
- Blogs I check daily: Head of the Table, Décor Amor, Design in Mine, and Ju Bella.
- My first job was: hand painting rocks, which I sold to a local department store when I was 12.
- My favorite color is: black.
- I cannot live without: my children and family.
- My favorite guilty pleasure is: old-fashioned candy!
- The best advice I ever received is: “Don’t give up.”
- A cause I care deeply about is: children’s education.
It’s giveaway time:
Let them eat cake! Rosanna has generously offered one lucky winner a large Le Gateau Pedestal! To enter for a chance to win, leave a comment here or on our Facebook page telling us about the most delicious cake you ever ate. Contest ends Friday, October 29th at 6pm EDT. And be sure to check out our newest arrivals for holiday from Rosanna!