This season in Nantucket, Artemis Design Co. has taken over a large corner in our store for their very own shop-in-shop. We sat down with founder and designer Milicent Armstrong to chat about her inspiration, her travels, and more!
How did you get started? / What is the inspiration behind your brand? The idea for Artemis Design Co. was born on a trip to Istanbul in 2007. I saw and fell in love with carpet bags, shoes and all of the other accessories that were repurposed from the beautiful flat-woven textile. Several years later, while attending Interior Design school, I made my way back to Istanbul, found a small artisan workshop that was willing to work with me, and began production on my first run of products. These first pieces took the concept of repurposing Kilims and coupled it with more modern, classic designs
The first collection, which was sold out of my South End apartment was an instant hit, and was quickly picked up by renowned retailer Steven Alan. Artemis has grown organically since then and has garnered the attention of the WSJ, Town & Country and Esquire magazine to name a few, and has also gained a following among interior designers and magazine editors for its unique, one of a kind, but also classic feel.
The first year that I was in business, I did a summer pop up in this very space! We have had loyal customers on the island ever since.
Tell us about your travels for sourcing, the highs and the lows? The best part of my job is traveling to exotic places for work! Everything about it is fun to me. The different cultures, food, new sites, and best of all, working on a new design and watching it come to life! This past spring I went to Turkey (my 9th or 10th trip!) and Morocco with my mother for work. Working on new designs and having that time with my mom was one of my all-time career highs.
Any favorite travel tips?
- Don’t overpack….it’s more fun to have an excuse to shop in a stylish new place and have items that will always remind you of your trip!
- Bring a comfortable pair of shoes for walking. I always bring our Classic Kilim Loafers, Kilim Slides, or Raffia Loafers.
- Bring and keep a journal of your trip. Jot down favorite restaurants, sites, and memories from the trip. Put labels from wines that you love in the pages, along with postcards, and local pretty stamps. I also love to bring a small watercolor set to jot down landscapes during idle moments. These mementos are so fun to look back on.
If we came to visit Boston, where must we go? My favorite restaurant in Boston is Coppa, it is right in the heart of my old neighborhood, the South End. We don’t even try to go to new places, because nothing comes close to Coppa! We always order plenty of the small plates, and a pasta dish. I also love the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum. The garden courtyard and artwork is just incredible.
Does Boston affect your designs? Not really, our products appeal to people all over the country, and world. Kilim Shoes can be worn in almost any climate, although I would avoid wearing them in deep snow, or monsoons!
How would you describe your own personal style? I would like to say preppy-exotic because that is how I would describe my brand’s style, but in reality I wear the same thing every single day- classic Levis, a sweater (or a gingham or linen top in the summer) and Artemis shoes.
What trend are you loving this season? I don’t really follow trends, I just wear what I like! I tend to stick with classic looks. I like natural fibers…cashmere, wool, linen, silk and cotton.
Give us a style tip for your brand? Wear our Raffia Loafers with a linen shift dress for the ultimate breezy summer look, and our Kilim shoes year round with jeans, white pants, or tights and skirts!
Who do you love on Instagram right now? I’m loving everything Luke Edward Hall (a British textile designer and artist) is putting out. His travel stories, artworks, and lifestyle images are so inspiring. He is truly an original.
Favorite Beach? The sunset at Madaket Beach, followed by dinner at Millie’s cannot be beat!
Favorite Food? I love the chic and not-so-chic aspects of Nantucket life. A delicious 3 course meal at CRU is wonderful, but I am also a sucker for a late night steak bomb from Stubby’s!
Favorite Quote? From Chuck Close, an artist who I love:
“The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you. If you’re sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction. Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that’s almost never the case.”