lorena siminovich | petit collage
There is something special about the petit collage aesthetic which is recognisable the moment you see it. The petit collage line of modern décor and playthings is influenced by mid century & Swiss design and we can’t get enough of it.
Lorena Siminovich is the creative powerhouse behind petit collage and we recently spent some time getting to know a bit more about her.
Lorena grew up in Buenos Aires and after living in New York for 6 years moved and settled in San Francisco. Described as an accomplished designer, artist and author, who has written and illustrated many children’s books we are seriously impressed at how Lorena has built petit collage into the business it is today, after nearly 10 years.
Please take us back to November 2006 when you launched petit collage – where did the idea come from?
One day in 2006 I was running out the door to see a friend who was expecting a child. I didn't have a gift, so I dug into my stash of vintage paper and made her an owl collage on a wood square. She loved it! I then made several more and took to stores in NYC and San Francisco.
When creating and designing a new product what is your process?
It is no a linear process I’m afraid! Sometimes I can get inspired by pretty random things, like a vintage illustration or toy, other times we build after the success of an existing product.
We are a team of three in my design department, we get together and try to make the best product, we see what makes it have our unique point of view, what’s different that what’s out there. Then when we are happy with a prototype we tested with kids of the right age group, we then gather to correct or re-evaluate the final prototype. Last but not least step is packaging.
Who or what inspires your designs the most?
Probably mid century design, vintage books, Scandinavian design, Japanese culture…Travel!
We understand that you have a mentor – how important do you think having mentor is?
I have had several mentors through the years. Entrepreneurship could be lonely, it is good to have someone unconditional to your side. Right now I have a business mentor from another industry right now who is really supportive and helps with the big picture.
As soon as I can get a wee more bandwidth I’m looking forward to becoming a mentor to another small business owner.
You currently have two websites – how important do you consider websites to be for emerging and established businesses?
Super important! We are re-launching our website November 1st after lots of work, to make sure is mobile friendly and is updated to reflect our brand values, look and feel.
What is the most rewarding aspect of what you do? And what is the most frustrating?
The most rewarding is my everyday life in the studio, doing what I love. Also when I see my books printed, my art in stores like Anthropologie, I get very excited. The most frustrating fluctuates, sometimes is cash flow, sometimes is legal worries, but mostly is lack of time.
Please share the biggest challenge you have faced as CEO of petit collage
The challenges may change on a daily basis: Could be a big customer going out of business, an issue with testing of a product, a product I love but is not thriving, the list is endless: The title is “growing pains” and it really has been the name of the game for a few years now! But you know the say: “No pain, No gain” so maybe is all for a reason.
What are your future plans for petit collage?
We are expanding several new categories: Back to school , Crafts, publishing, wood toys, it is an exciting time.
Words of advice for those pursuing their creative goals
Be original. Don’t procrastinate. Set goals. Make a website. Tell others. Ask for help. Truly believe in what you do, and don’t undersell yourself, even if you are just starting. Ah, and the most important one, which I’m still working on: Learn to say no.
We understand that travel is a big part of your life, could you please let us in on your favourite destinations and whether you are a ‘carry-on luggage is all I need’ or a ‘I packed everything just in case’ kind of traveler?
Ha ha! I’m a master carry on packer, but I put loads of thought ahead because I don’t like to caught by the wrong weather or occasion. Less is more! Plus there is always some shopping involved.
Favorite destination are NYC, Paris, Barcelona and Buenos Aires
We’ve read that the petit collage line is designed with the planet in mind. Could you please share why creating your product range in a sustainable way is important for you?
I truly think everything is interconnected. We are making goods for kids, it make sense we put thought and intention in the life of the product and how it will impact our natural world.
It is a difficult issue, it’s a moving target with new information arising all the time, and also a balance to ensure kids safety first. We spend countless hours working on this.
Lastly we’re excited to find out a bit about Lorena’s home in San Francisco.
The Siminovich family, consisting of Lorena, husband and daughter, live in Noe Valley which is sunnier and warmer than surrounding neighbourhoods because of two adjacent twin peaks. Known for its weekly farmer’s market and impressive cafe and shop scene, Noe Valley is a popular family neighbourhood.
When they purchased their home it was untouched since 1955 and had 5 levels, 1 bath and 3 bedrooms. After an intense three month renovation they now have an incredible light filled 4 bed, 2 bath home with open living and kitchen area.
Is your home as you want it or do you have plans for any future renovation/updates?
Good question! I’m in the mood to update the furnishings a bit, and I’m always moving things around, my daughter is quite the experienced remodel as well, her room changes all the time! But the structure of the house is great and don’t expect any major changes any time soon!
What is your favourite room in your home?
The living room has this fantastic windows to the garden that are very special, built in 1955 and untouched by us.
Any advice for someone tackling a renovation and taking on the role as co-ordinator of all the trades as you did?
Don’t do it! Ha ha! IF you had to just keep all super organized and have a plan B, go with the flow, you can’t control everything.
We understand that your daughter is an early riser, is it true that somedays you manage to sneak in some arts and craft time before heading off to school?
Oh yes, we do all sorts of things in the early hours, crafts, jewelery, blueberry muffins, I’m awaiting daylight saving time with the hope I get more sleep and change the activities to the weekend.