Annie Selke is someone I’ve always admired, ever since I started One Kings Lane. She is a creative tour de force, jumping between her three different design companies, Pine Cone Hill, Dash & Albert, and The Annie Selke Companies, which you can shop at AnnieSelke.com . Recently, she even opened up a gorgeous inn, and is turning her attention next to our furry friends. Read all about her process and be inspired.
Name, Age, where do you live?
Annie Selke, 56, Lenox, MA
Give us an overview of your career.
I started Pine Cone Hill 25 years ago and launched Dash & Albert 15 years ago. Prior to that I was in New York where I worked for Ferragamo, went through the Saks Fifth Avenue training program, moved to Conrad’s as a PR assistant and copywriter and finally, I was a manager of Product Development for a licensing company.
Tell us about what you are doing now.
I am Founder and CEO of The Annie Selke Companies, the umbrella under which the Pine Cone Hill and Dash & Albert brands live. We are just now launching a new brand – Annie Selke’s Well Appointed Pet.
Have you always been interested in design and textiles?
Absolutely! I’ve collected fabrics for as long as I can remember and was steeped in design from an early age. My mother taught me about rugs, quilts, furniture, ceramics, silver, folk art, etc.
Annie Selke Companies is really three companies – Pine Cone Hill, Dash & Albert, and The Annie Selke Companies. What are the different brand identities for each? How do you think about them differently?
Pine Cone Hill has primarily been bedding, sleepwear and accessories whereas Dash & Albert is primarily rugs and accessories. The Annie Selke brand is our direct to consumer umbrella and the name under which we license, for example – Annie Selke for The Tile Shop.
How would you describe your design style?
Freshly conceived, quality-conscious classics seems to cover it…?
How has Instagram and social media influenced your business and the way you think about the design industry?
I love anything visual and most all design-oriented people are the same way, so the constant stream of beautifully styled and conceived social posts are a pleasure to behold and to share. It’s also a way to share the DNA of a brand in an organic, non-salesy way.
What are some of your favorite Instagram accounts?
I love @francespalmer, @nananikolaido, @deanthebasset, @bunnys_eye, @theoldhousebeautiful, @tortus, @aspoonfulofbenjamin, @markdsikes
You opened an inn, 33 Main. Design and hospitality go hand in hand, but what made you take the plunge into that new venture? Were there any parts of that process that surprised you?
It would be great if I had had a compelling business reason; however, it was really something I’d always wanted to do. I love great hospitality experiences and am so disappointed with a lackluster stay, so it seemed only right to take the plunge into hospitality to see if I could put all my experiences into a cohesive, brand-defining property. I am happily surprised that we have fans that come from quite a ways away to stay with us. And, I love that we have so many repeat guests. We now really need more rooms!
What are some of your favorite hotels?
Anything Firmdale (a.k.a. Kit Kemp). I’ve stayed in many of her properties and have never been disappointed! I also love the Imperial in Delhi and the Grand Hotel Convento di Amalfi.
What’s next for Annie Selke Companies?
The plan is to continue to bring happy home by creating great products with and for great people!
Culturally, aging is viewed as this sad thing. In reality, I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t feel bad or sad. I feel better than ever. What’s the key to changing the conversation about aging?
I agree wholeheartedly! I watch events like my daughter getting engaged, celebrating 25 years in business, etc., and am always a bit taken aback as I don’t feel like that much time (or age) has gone by. I feel as engaged in the game of life as I ever have and embrace each new challenge and experience. I am still silly and love to laugh. I love to travel. I’m on day 202 of practicing yoga in a row; and I’m in my favorite/happiest relationship of my life. Yay!
What’s the best thing you’ve read lately?
I enjoyed Joyful:The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness and A Gentleman in Moscow.
What’s your go-to hostess gift?
Robes with a custom designed monogram for our hosts for overnight stays or linen napkins and a fabulous bottle of wine if it’s a dinner invite.
Do you have any family traditions?
Yes, and we are always evolving new ones.
Do you have any seasonal traditions? Summer? Holidays?
Corn hole has definitely entered the summer family traditions, along with long and lovely lunches with friends on our boat, fireworks on the 4th…
For the holidays, tradition comes in the form of creating favorite foods, hanging handmade stockings, etc.
Who would play you in the movie of your life?
That’s a tough one…. I’ve never given it any thought, but I guess Charlize Theron would be my first choice ?
What’s the last thing you bought online?
Medicated ear wash for my dog IMPY… not very sexy.
What would you put on your menopause registry?
Pickle Ball racquets.
If you could have one superpower what would it be?
I would love to have a lovely singing voice, which I definitely don’t have. Does that count? And, on occasion, have wanted Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak.
If you had a warning label what would it say?
Beware of too good a time.