Written & photographed by Kamala Nahas
Photography has always been the way I explore the world. Whether it is a connection between people, a dance between light and water, or the grandeur of a sprawling landscape, I’m always looking for beautiful stories to tell. And I pretty much always have a camera or two attached to my hip, so it only made sense to take photos of my experience at the Minted office when I visited for a couple of days in October with a group of fellow Minted artists from around the U.S.
Here’s what I saw.
When we arrived outside the Minted headquarters on Front and Broadway, I was nervous. Incredibly. I’m accustomed to working at home with dogs at my feet and a computer screen that buffers me from the world. It was a bit surreal to think I’d be walking into the world that up until now had only existed online, in my mind.
This is the first thing you see, when you walk up a flight of stairs to the second floor: Minted’s reception area, with a striking copper wall. It is even more beautiful than the posts you see on Facebook—the light pouring through the windows is amazing.
I met Minted Engineer Gabriella Grandilli while she was coding in the comfort of one of Minted’s impromptu living rooms.
The Minted greeting card collection that’s currently carried in a number of Target stores is also on display in the Minted office. This was my first time seeing the Minted greeting cards upfront—they’re really beautiful, funny, and inspiring.
Megan Davis of Toast and Laurel, Lynn Knipe of Griffinbell Paper Co., and Amy Kross looked at a selection of Minted fabrics. I can’t emphasize enough how energizing it is to be able to touch, feel, and see the products that all of us Minted artists are designing. It really brings home that we are part of putting something real and beautiful into the world.
Amy Kross and Easter Kim, Minted’s Senior Manager of Artist Relations, took a break in between feedback sessions with Minted employees. I have to admit, I was intimidated by meeting the different teams at Minted, but everyone from the engineers to the merchandisers to the Artist Relations team was so gracious and genuinely interested in what we had to say. As artists and designers, it is easy to think of us as the creative forces at Minted, but I was impressed at how the creativity finds its way into every corner of the offices. The engineers are creatively solving problems, branding and product development are constantly coming up with fresh ideas, and even some members of the production teams find time to enter challenges.
We got into nitty-gritty details about merchandising over lunch with Francois Carrara, Minted’s Director of Merchandising Operations; Brady Wood, SVP of Artists and Partnerships; Jevan Soo, Mined’s Chief People Office; and Dan Garblik, Senior Director of Business Partnerships.
Artist Design Session with Minted Founder and CEO Mariam Naficy
Minted Founder and CEO Mariam Naficy invited me and the other Minted artists to participate in a special commissioned project to create designs for Minted’s collection of Hanging Bar Calendars, which launched just in time for the holidays. I took this photo of Mariam holding one of the calendars while she explained the details of the commission project and encouraged our creativity. Tonia Misvaer, a longtime consultant for development of Minted’s products, joined the conversation.
Many Minted artists are accustomed to working from home or individually, so it was fun for us all to get together in one room to think through ideas for the Hanging Calendar project. I took this shot of Amy Kross, Stacey Meacham, and Megan Davis of Toast & Laurel looking at Jessica Williams’ calendar design in progress. At first, it was a very quiet room as we all got to work. I don’t think any of us were comfortable sharing the beginning stages of our designs. But it didn’t last long—soon enough, we were conducting real-life polls, laughing, and generally being more productive than we would have been alone.
Mariam showed a sample design to Kelly Johnston, a painter who visited the Minted office from her hometown of Seattle, Washington. Can you imagine creating a design in an hour and then having the CEO critique your work—and I’m not even a designer! Seriously, though, Mariam was so down to earth and gave us meaningful feedback—always with a smile. Her lightness put us all at ease and assured us we had nothing to worry about.
Artist Meetup at The Minted Store in San Francisco
It was nice to unwind a bit and explore the Minted Store at 222 Grant Avenue in San Francisco, to see our Minted designs in the flesh, and to meet other artists whose work I know from the site. From left in the back row: Robert Deem, Carolyn MacLaren, Jill Ellis, Kelly Johnston, Liz Conley, Jessica Williams, Stacey Meacham, Amy Kross, and Megan Davis. Front row, from left: Lehan Veenker, Olivia Goree, and Lynn Knipe. I know it’s been said before, but this community is so talented, and the store represents us so well. Meeting the artists who attended the meetup was so much easier than I find meeting new people in general. I felt an instant connection that I don’t normally have. I’m definitely hoping for a Mintie Meetup in the Los Angeles area, so I can see more of the community in person.
Artist Photo Shoot at Minted’s Photo Studio
On the last day of our trip, we were invited to the Minted Photo Studio, located around the corner from the main headquarters. Minted artist Carolyn MacLaren drew in her sketchbook while video producer Felix Colon and Jessi Gilbert captured her creative process.
Simone Monrad, the Community Engagement Associate on the Artist Relations team, took this snap of me during the Minted photo shoot.
Exploring San Francisco
I managed to take an early morning walk and see the sun rise over the Bay Bridge. The sea lions had a lot to say that morning, and one even decided to photobomb this abstract water shot I was working on. I think he made it better!
The trip was a busy few days spent almost entirely outside my comfort zone, but I’m so glad I went. Intellectually, I knew that Minted was a real place with real people, but experiencing it first hand solidified how much heart and hard work the artists’ community and the Minted team share collectively. If you ever have a chance to visit the offices or attend a meet up, do it! I’m about as socially awkward as they come, and I can’t wait for the next meet up near me.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kamala Nahas is a portrait and fine art photographer based an hour north of Los Angeles. She can typically be found with her dogs in the mountains and beaches of coastal Southern California or if it’s a great day, curled up on the couch with her hubby and three teenage children binging on Netflix and her son’s homemade chocolate-chip cookie dough. Her work can be found exclusively at Minted, West Elm, and Pottery Barn Teen.
Published November 16, 20175 COMMENTS