Renown for the quality of their luxurious bedding, throws and pillows, Sefte is also known for taking organic linens and eco-friendly practices to the next level, utilizing the skills and abilities of Vietnamese artisans to bring their opulent hand embroidered collections to fruition. Twin sisters Jennifer and Sarah pooled their passions along with “soul sister” Michelle to form this unique company. We welcome Jennifer today, as she gives us the inside scoop on Sefte and her partners:
Tell us how Sefte came to be
Each of us brings something unique to Sefte.
Michelle is a graduate of Rhode Island School of Design, where she actually studied furniture design but secretly lusted after textiles. She spent many years heading up Product Development for Design Within Reach’s bedding collections as well as doing color and trend forecasting. In her spare time, she volunteers at various organizations (including MOMA SF) that help instill the value of the arts and architecture in local teenagers.
For Sarah, the seed that would eventually become Sefte was planted years ago when she served in the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic. There, she worked closely with artisans and business people financed by micro-loan initiatives, giving her invaluable insight into the nuances of business enterprise within developing nations. Upon returning to the states, Sarah translated her experience to New York’s financial market by working within the Latin American division of a Manhattan based mutual fund company.
For me (Jennifer), the launch of Sefte marks the ultimate culmination of passions and interests. I’d been devoted to the sales and national marketing of luxury textiles for many years. Before that, my passion for the culture and languages of developing nations took me on a two-year development project in Central America to promote bilingual, environmental education for rural Costa Rican children.
Sefte began with Sarah’s love of hand-made pieces, Michelle’s obsession with textile design and my penchant for vintage European linens. It developed into a commitment to the lifestyle that is needed to create all three. A lifestyle that nurtures time to imagine and create by hand, and then allows for the moments to enjoy these creations. A lifestyle in which you take time to read, reflect and dream. Time to whisper, to listen, to relish one another. It is this slower, more elegant way of living life that is inspirational to Sefte and to each piece we create.
Simply put, we want to inspire people to make time.
How did you come to name your company Sefte?
Sefte is the old English word for ‘soft’. Softness was and continues to be our tactile and philosophical inspiration. Each of our pieces is inspired by our desire for people to want to touch these items and layer them with other Sefte pieces. We want our customers to have an overwhelming desire to wrap themselves in Sefte.
We also want people to live more softly. We want to remind them to make time. We believe people should slow down and spend more time connecting with the people they love. We want to encourage togetherness by crafting beautiful, soft, touchable textiles—meant for reading stories, spooning, dreaming, talking and cuddling.
What attracted you to Vietnam and Peru, and how do you give back to those communities?
Our artisans in Peru and Vietnam give soul to our designs. Each piece they create is a work of art, woven or embroidered by hand, by a single artisan. Because they are hand-made, each piece is one-of-a-kind and has a luxuriously heirloom quality.
Our organization of women in Vietnam practices the lost art of intricate hand embroidery which is helping bring both social and financial independence to these women. In Peru we work with an organization called Mirasol Project which translates money from Fairtrade yarn sales into the building and financing of schools for the local alpaca shepherds’ children. We feel it is important to support the traditions that provide such beautiful yarns, and believe it is essential to educate our customers for its historical continuity and cultural development.
Let’s get to know the girls a little better with a “quick-fire” round of questions:
- Blogs I check daily: Sarah: The Sartorialist, Pink Wallpaper, Coco + Kelley
Jennifer: Remodelista, Greige Design, Sacramentost, Pretty Little Green Things
Michelle: Remodelista, Leatrice Eiseman color blog, RISD (have to see what my alum are up too!)
- My first job was: Sarah: Health volunteer with The Peace Corps.
Jennifer: Sarah’s lying. We both started our ‘careers’ lifeguarding on the beaches of northern Lake Tahoe, where we grew up. She was stronger, but I was fast. Nobody drowned during our watch.
Michelle: Helping my grandmother in her ceramic studio/ she taught ceramics and I was in charge of helping with the electric kilns and glazes.
- My favorite color is: Sarah: it changes; right now it’s lavender.
Michelle: today – soft hues of blues, either grayed blues or carribean water colors. Tranquil blues.
- I cannot live without: Sarah: Joshua, my 7-month old on my hip and my twin sis by my side.
Jennifer: my new cruiser bike. I’m dying to strap my new nephew, Joshua, to the back of it and cart him all over town.
Michelle: family and friends. They are an essential part of life.
- My favorite guilty pleasure is: Sarah: Spa treatments…I don’t’ care which one…any one will do.
Jennifer: 70% dark chocolate
Michelle: I’m with Jenn on this one… love my dark chocolate…
- The best advice I ever received is: Sarah: Do one thing a day that scares you.
Jennifer: “Dare greatly.” Courage is one of the qualities I respect and admire most in humanity. I search for it daily in everything I do.
Michelle: follow your dreams and passion. Sometimes the easiest road is not always the right choice, believe in yourself.
- A cause I care deeply about is: Sarah: The Nature Conservancy: Jenn and I grew up in Lake Tahoe and spent so much of our lives outside in the mountains. Sefte draws so much of its inspiration from nature. I want to protect it.
Jennifer: volunteerism. I believe everyone should find time to give, unconditionally without any expectation of receiving something in return.
Michelle: volunteering for programs with children.
Wrap yourself up in this giveaway:
Prepare to get cozy! Sefte is generously offering a Maya Boucle Throw Blanket in cream to one lucky reader at a value of $440. To enter for a chance to win, leave a comment here or on our Facebook page telling us about one special thing you always slow down to take time for. Contest ends Friday, November 26th at 6pm EST
Congrats to Stephanie Landis, winner of the Sefte giveaway!