Stefanie Gelinas is one ballsy lady.
|Part of Speech:||noun|
|Definition:||person who takes risks|
|Synonyms:||charlatan, daredevil, entrepreneur, explorer, fortune-hunter, gambler, globetrotter, hero, heroine, madcap, mercenary, opportunist, pioneer, pirate, romantic, speculator, stuntperson, swashbuckler, traveler, venturer, voyager, wanderer|
For years this Canadian-born and much respected TV exec hung her hat on an innovative talent for creating and producing television shows. Traversing the globe for the sake of making groundbreaking TV, Stefanie always found herself stealing a few hours during each trip to sneak off and explore the local city’s unique design shops.
(Vintage Design Shop in Amsterdam)
She loved nothing more than reveling in the morsels of goodness found on quaint European streets…
And little by little, this love of home design started bubbling further and further to the surface of her consciousness. It never wavered, and she started dreaming of turning this love, this passion for unique home design, into something more, well, tangible.
And guess what? She did it.
Enter SLEEK IDENTITY, the brain child of one Ms. Gelinas. Only three-months-old (!), this unique, cutting-edge web site showcases up-and-coming European designers’ goods and makes them totally available to people looking for innovative, unique pieces of design – all with the click of a button. Stefanie personally scours artist studios from Berlin to Amsterdam to Paris, bringing together new and independent designer’s wares.
Basically, Stefanie brings the incredible imagination that is European design and makes it completely accessible to anyone with a computer. Brilliant.
Without further adieu, I now introduce you to the mastermind behind this new venture!
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m French Canadian, from Montreal. I was a television development executive and lived in Europe for many years. I’m obsessed with great design and saw so many talented European designers who were not available in the US. I decided to leave television to launch Sleek Identity. It’s definitely a bold move; I’m learning every day but I love it and don’t mind working around the clock.
Tell us about Sleek Identity.
I launched Sleek Identity about 3 months ago. I’ve traveled to Europe many times to find the right designers. I search for objects that are original, intelligent and playful and I buy directly from designers or small manufacturers. My goal is to introduce some of the best up-and-coming European design talents to the US and promote them. It’s important to make sure their work gets recognized.
Who are some of your designers? How do you pick them and how do you pick the products on the site?
I love each designer on the site. They are all creative entrepreneurs, hard workers and really nice people. I choose my objects based on my instinct; it’s that simple. Would I want to live with it? Does it make me smile? Is it smart and practical at the same time? I’m my best customer because I try each product before selling them. And since I have two young kids, I make sure the products are not only beautiful but resistant as well. I also look for designs that are great storage/space savers. Europeans know about downsizing and they come up with really creative solutions.
What sets this site apart from anything else out there?
I have a very personal approach and I offer products that are not available in the US. I just exhibited at Dwell on Design last month. It was my first direct contact with customers and I received some incredible feedback. Now I need to keep spreading the words about the site. The biggest challenge of being an online store is to find creative ways to reach out to design lovers.
(Bendino Lamp, a two-dimensional desk lamp)
What are your goals for the site?
I have so many ideas…I’d like to open a special ‘Touch Me” pop up store so people can interact with the products and see them in reality. On the site, I’d like to include more information about the design process in the form of video interviews. Each product has a story to tell. I also want to encourage a dialogue about design. I have a section called ‘Inspiration’ where people can upload pictures of the product in their home, and I take submissions on the site.
Congratulations to Stefanie and THANK YOU for inspiring us all to take a giant LEAP!