Saturday, December 22, 2012

A Shabby Chic Life: Lindsey Meehan (née Wickenheiser) Reveals the Beauty of Found Objects

Lindsey Meehan, creator of Shabby Chic Life, and her daughter Giuliana
I met Lindsey my junior year of high school through mutual friends, she went to the rival high school and we made fast friends. At the time this tall blonde, had all the makings of a high school "it girl". Lindsey stood about 5'8, was skinny as a rail, had shoulder length golden blonde hair, and had the animated personality to go along with all of it. Lindsey would come and pick me up from school in her silver BMW M3 convertible and we would head to Jamba Juice with music blasting and wind rushing through our hair. We thought we might just be the coolest sixteen year olds in the world, and thinking back, we probably were. 

Lindsey wore bohemian inspired looks- big leather belts rested on her little hipbones above her double zero Citizens of Humanity jeans. Lindsey had an infectious smile, killer confidence and an "up for anything" attitude that frequently led us to doing things that no one else would do. We spent afternoons in the pouring rain, the only two girls at the men's lacrosse games, we would have dance parties in the streets, and we would pick up lost dogs off of Wolfe Grade and take them home with us. Charming and effervescent she could get any boy to bend over backwards for her. 

I give you this background because Lindsey's newest venture "Shabby Chic Life" is an extension of the Lindsey I have just described. Her craftsmanship and artistry comes from the same girl that I think of as my sixteen year old best friend. Over the years Lindsey has moved away, gotten married and is raising her own beautiful baby girl.  A lot has changed since our high school days, but I am so proud of that young girl with a pension for fast cars and that infectious smile. 

So here is a little question answer with Lindsey Meehan of Shabby Chic Life.

Shabby Chic Frames hand-refurbished by Lindsey herself

Dressed and Educated: How would you describe yourself to someone who doesn't know you or your work?

Lindsey:  I am a California girl through and through…born and raised in the beautiful San Francisco Bay Area. I recently moved to Michigan with my amazing soldier, our gorgeous one year old daughter, and our hyper Yellow Lab puppy. 
While I miss my laid-back California lifestyle, beaches and wonderful weather, being in Michigan has allowed me to focus on what I love...Shabby Chic-ing! Recycling, re-purposing, and giving new life to what one person thought was junk is my passion. I strive to bring you quality decor so you can bring that beachy, distressed, and simple -yet -timeless look into your own home. 

I have been fortunate enough to have traveled all over the world; destinations including Greece, Africa, France, England, Mexico, Croatia, and Spain. I draw inspiration from my travels which you may see in the items I offer. I will always do my best to adequately describe every item so that your purchase arrives at your door exactly how you expected it to be (and more!)

Dressed and Educated: What are the biggest influences to your designs?

Lindsey: This sounds crazy, but when I was 12 or 13, I found this very old window in the backyard of one of my mother's listings (she's a real estate agent.) It had obviously been painted various shades of a blue-green numerous times over the years, the paint was chipping all over, and there were spider webs covering the entire thing. It was perfect..exactly what "Shabby Chic" is all about. I brought it home, cleaned it up, and hung it on my wall. Ever since then, I have always been on the hunt for more charming, romantic, beach-style decor. While going to high school in SF, I discovered Rachel Ashwell's store, Shabby Chic. Of course, I immediately fell in love. I decorated my entire room with Rachel Ashwell's items...several thousands of dollars later, my old window was still my favorite piece. My favorite part about the window was that the handle on it was worn, the paint was chipped, it was weathered, and it had lived a long life. So, I guess as unglamorous as it sounds, my window has been the biggest influence in my designs.

My personal set of Shabby Chic Life Frames

Dressed and Educated: How do you get materials, and produce the furnishing you make?

Lindsey: I find all of my items at thrift stores and garage sales. Because we're out here in the country, I have also been known to peek into old abandoned farm houses and barns to see if there are any hidden treasures. Most everything I find is in pretty rough shape, so I bring it home, clean it up, hand paint it, take some sandpaper to it to give it an extra distressed look, and then seal it so it lasts a long time! 

Dressed and Educated: What are you most proud of when it comes to your business?

Lindsey: Gosh, I'd have to say I am most proud of how successful it has been so far. I am doing what I love, I'm able to be at home with my beautiful daughter, and I have the privilege to make my own schedule. Really, is there anything else one could want? It is the most empowering feeling having a small business you created all on your own AND having it be successful.

Obsessed with these antiqued mini-mirrors!

Dressed and Educated: How do you see yourself expanding in the future?

Lindsey: My goal is to someday have a physical Shabby Chic Life store...and to be successful enough to have employees! Shabby Chic Life has started out very small but I fully intend on aiming for the stars.

Dressed and EducatedWhat is your personal style?

Lindsey: That is a hard question! I feel like I have so many different styles. For one, a good pair (or 10!) of designer jeans is always a must. I love a cute flat, a brown belt, and a black or white deep v-neck. That all sounds pretty boring, but pair it with a huge pair of earrings, a clunky watch or bracelet, and a fabulous bag, and you're set! My theory is that it's so easy to look great all the time if you've got some great jewelry on...and let's face it...who doesn't love jewelry?

Another cool find on Shabby Chic Life's website!

Lastly, I gave Lindsey a platform to share any information to her fans and customers. Here are three things you don't know about Lindsey and her business Shabby Chic Life. 

"I guess I'd have to say if I had to add anything it would be these three things...

1. I almost always ship things out the same day and if there is any wiggle room in my profit, I'll spend the extra couple dollars to get it to my customer quicker. I know that when I order something online I want it I just have to assume my customers are the same way.
2. I love shipping my items across the world. The thought that my items get to live a new life in another country makes me so happy! 
3. You can find items that look like mine at your local department store...but they're missing that authenticity of having a story behind them. Sure, they may be in better condition, but the beauty of "Shabby Chic" is that all those nicks and scratches add character -which you will never find in a department store!"

Be sure to check out Lindsey's merchandise on her Etsy Site 
and "like" her on her Facebook Fan Page

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