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Jenn + Sarah Pearsall, Founders of Sefte

By Elizabeth Lane on 12/04/17

Jenn + Sarah Pearsall, Founders of Sefte

I am so honored to feature my conversation with Jenn and Sarah Pearsall, founders of the beautiful company Sefte and the curators of our current Aesthete 06 x Sefte collection. Jenn and Sarah are two of the most inspiring people I know and have built an exquisite company with sisterhood and sustainability at its core while revealing the healing power of turning a home into a sanctuary. The photos in this feature are their own.

QL: I discovered Sefte Living through your collaboration with Every Mother Counts for their debut Orange Rose Collection in 2016 and for me, it was love at first sight. Your products are exquisite and the mission behind them -- to celebrate the grounded connection with ourselves and with others, and the capacity for our homes and our spaces to nurture that connection. And the fact that supporting women artisans through your company -- everything is handmade by artisan women from Peru and Vietnam -- imbues everything that is Sefte with this feeling of sisterhood and connection. Would you share how Sefte came to be? That first glimmer of inspiration?

Jenn: Sarah and I were inseparable throughout our childhood, college and even into our experiences living and volunteering abroad in Latin America. It was when we came home and entered the working world, something changed. We found ourselves on different coasts. We lost a connection with each other and the work we had done to assist the incredible people of Central and South America. And, we saw the same all around us… people racing towards an invisible finish line and losing their connection with themselves and each other along the way.


Sarah: We wanted to slow down and reconnect. A father-daughters trip to Peru sparked our interest in handcrafted textiles and cemented the idea to do something together. And, we decided that the best place to start was in our home. So we started Sefte.

QL: Jenn and Sarah, you are twin sisters, and I know this closeness weaves through everything in Sefte, and what is so amazing is that it isn't only your sisterhood, but the global sisterhood that is so essential to your message -- can you speak personally to the importance of a global sisterhood, especially today?

Jenn: We are all up against so much these days whether it’s just getting through the day with our families and jobs, not to mention poverty, fear, health crises, geopolitical instability...the list goes on. And, there are so many expectations on us on top of all of this.  I think women do tend towards being nurturing and community-centric, but we’re often told to suppress this in the workplace. It’s really a superpower, and rallying around each other can have such a positive impact on our own lives, our communities, our businesses and the world.  No one wants to nor can go it alone.  

Sarah:  We deliberately set out to create a business that did more than just sell products, but support other women. It’s refreshing and very rewarding to work from a place of abundance versus scarcity. When you promote and support those around you, that abundance and success is returned in kind. We are about women supporting each other… believing in each other…helping each other. And, it’s not just with our artisans but the many women who have supported us all along - friends, family and other female entrepreneurs. It’s so important.

QL: I, too, am a big believer in rituals as self-care and the healing that quiet moments can bring -- for me these moments are often carried in moments spent with a story (curled up in one of your beautiful throws and a cup of tea). How do you rest and reset? What are your go-to tools for centering and grounding amidst the daily chaos?

Jenn: There is a moment in the evening, just after my daughters have been tucked into bed that is my moment. I escape to my bedroom for a moment of pure sanctuary, pure hedonism. I anoint myself with some essential oils, light a candle, curl up on my bed and open up a novel or design magazine. These few minutes of quiet reading are incredibly restorative for me.


Sarah: I have a daily meditation practice which begins my day, every day for 20 mins. I do it again in the afternoon to re-ground myself.  They say that meditation is 5x more restful than sleep.  I feel it.  It has changed me!

QL: Are there any favorite books to you turn to for comfort?

Jenn: My mother introduced me to poetry as a child. We’d read it together … she even wrote poetry for my sister and me. I still turn to poetry for comfort. Right now, Mary Oliver is on my night stand. She’s been there for about two years now. ;) Yes, I turn to her for comfort again and again.

Sarah:  I grew up with Anne of Green Gables and Pride and Prejudice.  I turn to these books, still, for comfort and enjoyment.  I’m a sucker for a good love story.

QL: Do you have a particular nighttime routine that helps you wind down?

 

Jenn: There is something about clean children in their jammies that allows me to move from ‘doing’ to ‘being’. I brush the girls’ hair and then they each select a book to read and ponder. It is how each evening ends for my little ladies… and how it begins for me. ;)

Sarah:  Curling up with my sons to read books, tea, and then a good book of my own before dozing off!  It’s the same; every night.

QL: What books are on your nightstand right now? And what is your favorite genre to read for pleasure?

Jenn: Mary Oliver… her poetry is my meditation. I was also very late to the game reading The Goldfinch. It is exquisitely written… a piece of art. I absolutely turn to poetry for sanctuary and fiction for pleasure.

Sarah: My husband took me to the Amalfi Coast in Italy for my birthday in September.  It inspired me to read a series of books by Italian author Elena Ferrante called “The Neapolitan Novels.”  It’s about two young girls growing up in Naples, Italy and their stories.  It’s fabulous.  I’m also reading “The Places that Scare You” by Pema Chodron.  Once I finish it I read it again. :)

QL: Any favorite bookstores you've come across?

Jenn: There is a new book store in Truckee, Ca… in Lake Tahoe where Sarah and I are from. It’s called ‘Word after Word Books… a beautiful place to find and read a book and wonderfully curated.

Sarah: Strand Books in NYC is a classic and a favorite of mine.  I can get lost in there for hours!

QL: A classic question — who are three authors, alive or deceased, with whom you’d love to share a meal — and which meal? (I tend to love a long and lingering lunch).

Jenn: There are soooo many…. I’d love to make Swedish pancakes for breakfast on an open fire at the top of a mountain with Yvon Chouinard. His passion and unrelenting, audacious idealism is unrivaled. This man has stories...stories that I would want to hear. I’d picnic with Mary Oliver. I’d ask her to paint one of her poems in a desperate attempt to study and see the details of the world the way she does. And I’d dine with Aung San Suu Kyi. She woman has incredible stories to tell. I would simply listen.

Sarah: Walt Whitman for his prose on Nature, Virginia Woolf for her thoughts on women, and my Dad who is on his third novel because it’s always good to have a meal with your dad.  I’d have a breakfast though...so we could talk all day long.

Thank you so much for spending this time with us, Jenn and Sarah!

 

By Elizabeth Lane on 12/04/17

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