>> Who: James Knudsen
Wife: Deborah Stein of Bonbon Oiseau
I met James at Deb's sample sale party back in December. He was such a gracious host making sure all her guests were taken care of -- coats hung, wine glasses filled, pictures taken... you name it, he was there. I knew he'd be a perfect candidate for The Other Half...
+ I'm from Iowa.
+ I love motorcycles.
+ I mix a mean drink.
+ I have a 6th degree black belt in karate.
+ I might be lying about the last one...
1. What would you say are the three most important things that you do to support your wife in her creative endeavors?
I would say the continual emotional support for Deb's design firm is first and foremost. Running a creative business in New York City is a very difficult assignment, and I try to be there for the trying times, as well the good. Deb is always bouncing ideas of of me, and we continually discuss ways to grow the business, while retaining her creative vision. She lets me participate in her creative process, but that is the easiest (and most fun) way to support her. Oh, and I've also been doing some of her fashion photography, so it's really cool to be able to work together during those times.
2. Supporting somebody in their passion can be both exciting, exhausting and time consuming? How do you squeeze everything in?
Deb has a very organized workflow, and her typical work day is very structured. I am a freelancer with a crazy schedule, so we approach time management very differently. In other words, she's much better at it than I... But this helps me to help her when she needs something. Like most, we need to schedule things like photo shoots, and the trade shows get a lot of planning in advance. We always try to make time for each other but sometimes it's a little hard. We love to cook together (and eat together) so it's always nice to try to plan something like that where we can leave our work stuff behind and just hang out with each other and enjoy ourselves at a table. We also love to travel so we try to plan a few good trips after the trade shows are over.
3. Working closely with somebody you love can be tough. Any tips on how to avoid throwing ornaments and other sharp objects at each other?
We aren't in the same creative discipline (I am a lighting designer) so our egos rarely clash. And we actually like each other! A lot.
4. What was the strangest thing you've done to support your wife in what she does?
The fashion world is pretty alien to me, so helping her with the European trade shows was pretty strange for me at first. Dealing with all of the international buyers has its own etiquette and protocol, so that has been an interesting experience. Her work kind of sells itself, but it's been cool to be behind the scenes and show her work off. I love the Paris trade show, and can't wait to go back in March. Besides all the interesting people I've met, it's just really nice to meet her in Paris, see her efforts pay off in such a beautiful way. Its kind of romantic really. And we eat and celebrate like crazy and always plan a little trip for after its all over somewhere in Europe. This time we might go to Budapest or just rent a car and drive around Brittany or the Loire Valley. We still haven't decided.
5. What's the easiest and hardest things about working with your wife?
It should be the hardest thing, but photographing the Bonbon Oiseau collections is the easiest and most enjoyable thing we do together. Deb always knows exactly what she wants from a photo, so she is great to work with on shoots. This is where we truly collaborate, and she is always brings out the best creative side of me. The hardest thing about working with Deb is getting her to stop working.
6. Finally, what are your current Bonbon Oiseau favorites?
These are all from the Spring 2009 Collection called "Le Cirque Aux Papillons" (Butterfly Circus). From top (clockwise) 1. "Le Miel des Bisous Necklace" or Kisses Made of Honey... a little romantic piece..., 2. "Les Cerises Pendant" and "Swing Chain", 3. "Riverstones" Necklace with "Anemone Charm" (all photos by James Knudsen)
Do you have an incredibly supportive partner that deserves a little attention?? If so, email me over at email@example.com