Red Chair Market definitely reflects my style; if you are going to go to the trouble of starting a business, you might as well make it something you love.
Anita Erickson has the design market by its collar stays. Her innovative new website, Red Chair Market, is revolutionizing the way locals shop for their home. But more than an entrepreneur, and bigger than a digital catalogue, Anita is scaling Mt. Bonnell to deliver one very important message: Austin can shop the area's best local merchandise - from home!
Austin Style sat with the woman behind Red Chair Market's curtain last month for a Women and Work interview. We had to ask the questions burning on every Austinite's lips:
How does your style represent you, your career, or your city?
...I love the mix of styles on the site; some antique, some handmade, some funky-vintage and modern. It also reflects my spending priorities; I believe in buying things you love, and buying good enough quality that pieces can be passed on to someone else when you’re done with it.
Anita's north central home is an accurate reflection of this style. The bungalow-turned-Hyde Park destination is two parts shabby, one part unique, and all parts Anita. This creative design-mind transformed an 800 square foot abode into a gorgeous and more-than-modest living space with high ceilings and hardwoods. She commented, "I had a huge yard in the back, so the extra living space was an easy addition. Now I just have a smaller yard."
If you were given an empty house and had to pick four key pieces to start the interior, what would they be?
The things you love. If the four things you love most in your home are a mirror, an antique rug, your bed, and a pair of hand towels - start with those. Put them all together and you’ll start to see how you could pull out a theme; take a couple of colors from the hand towels and rug and play with them a bit. If you love the antique rug, find a few other antique elements.
What draws your eye to a specific piece of furniture? What style of decor do you gravitate toward?
After a few years being more immersed in the design space I’ve found that I am very picky about proportion. To me, a gorgeous piece can be ruined by tottering on too-thin legs or by an overdone decoration. Because of that I’m often drawn to pretty classic styles; neoclassical, campaign, art deco and nouveau. I also have a few flourishes that I can’t resist; nailhead trim, faux-bamboo, anything with an X-leg.
An eye for uniqueness and a knack for pulling textiles together are just two of the many traits placing Anita in her own niche of the design world. Red Chair Market is an extension of this passion. RCM is a destination space of the Internet for locals to browse - locally.
Locally, where do you shop?
All over! I make an effort to shop local, although I’m not rabid about it. Sometimes you just have to go to Costco.
What do YOU think Austin Style is?
The juxtaposition of city and country, high and low. I’m relieved not to feel like I need to wear makeup everywhere, although I am one of the people who isn’t miffed at a dress code. You don’t need to wear flip-flops everywhere.
Anita is not just another Austinite - she has been transplanted by way of Colorado and Boston, MA and has picked up a few souvenirs along the way. While her personal style showcases a hint of each hometown, Anita has fully acclimated to Austin. "When I moved here from Boston (after Colorado where I grew up) I had forgotten how to chat with strangers. People who made small talk with me in the grocery line freaked me out! But I soon remembered how nice it was to exchange a few words with other human beings!"
It's Saturday and you are planning an afternoon with your husband. What is on the agenda?
When we don’t have the kids...our favorite thing to do is to pick an area of town and wander around; interspersing art galleries with a drink and a nibble at several different places so we can try lots of new things. I wish this happened more often, but right now a “free” weekend often means working on Red Chair Market and trying to finish up the 100 projects I’ve always got going.
From projects to business, and all of the spaces in the middle, Anita Erickson is a woman with motive: she designs, she contributes, and she is sharing this wealth of information with all of us. There is more than one way to skin a cat; but really, Anita's way is just better.
© Lindsay Watson