hanging with erika schrieber & sophie blake
Have you snuck into the new Erika Schrieber & Sophie Blake Pop-Up shop yet?
First things first: it’s one of the coolest spaces we’ve ever been in. SoHo vibes and urban chic are near and dear to our hearts. Scatter in geometric-influenced designs, and we’re singing its praises all the way home.
But the second reason you should visit? The designers are there. In the shop. Hanging out. Waiting to talk you through their lines. Where else can you get that kind of experience? In fact, we personally witnessed Erika Schrieber fit a customer into one of her killer skirts – offering custom alternations on the spot. Yeah. They’re that good.
So we sat down with Erika & Sophie and chatted all things design, inspiration and Mosaic. Read on, enjoy the pictures of their beautiful lines – and then make a visit to their space ASAP.
Glass Alley: Tell us a little about the process of starting your own lines!
Erika Schrieber: My background is in PR and branding, so I’ve always worked with young, emerging brands. I got to the point where I found this void in the made-in-America, super chic, elevated clothing. I decided I would try to fill that void.
Sophie Blake: I started my brand in New York City, back in 2011. I started by creating my own pieces, and from there I built a strong passion for jewelry and women’s accessories. I thought that jewelry is one of those accessory pieces that you can just wear to elevate your style, elevate your wardrobe. So I kept designing and producing more and more pieces, until I realized I had a full line and decided to launch.
GA: Where do you get the inspiration for your designs?
ES: My inspiration comes from things that are missing in a jet-setting, elevated style. That women’s closet. My things are items you can wear to work, you can wear them day to night, you can wear them year-round, season to season, with just a few styling updates. My inspiration, though it comes a lot from architecture and fashion, it really comes from a void in the market.
SB: My biggest influences are definitely geometry and architecture. And I have the passion – I’ve always loved art deco style. So I’ve taken that and created the modern version of art deco. I thought reviving that with a modern twist would be the best way to go about it.
GA: What has the jump to opening a brick-and-mortar been like?
SB: I’ve always wanted to have a physical space for people to touch and feel the jewelry. I thought the best way to do it would be to have a pop-up. When Mosaic approached me, I decided to partner with another designer that I felt had a very strong sentiment and aesthetic. That’s why I turned to Erika. I think that our collections very much jive with one another and they speak to one another and they complement each other.
Our woman, who’s a modern woman, who’s a confident woman, loves good quality product and supporting the USA market. That’s the kind of women we want to be walking through our doors.
ES: As an emerging brand in a premium market, online just isn’t enough. You can put video, you can put all the detail you want, but there’s something about experiencing a brand. Being able to experience our brands is really invaluable, both to our business model and our customers.
SB: And you get to meet us in person. It’s valuable to our customers to get that human touch.
ES: The customer comes in here and they learn about the product. They get to sense what it feels like, they learn about the design process, what makes it special. You just can’t get that when you’re walking into a big box store.
GA: So what do you hope customers know and experience when they visit your pop-up?
ES: We’re really proud of the fact that our brands are modern and clean and edgy. We’re elevating American style. I think we’re pioneers.
SB: I think it’s an interesting time because Washington, DC, hasn’t been known for being the hub of fashion. But there are so many wonderful young brands that are emerging from DC. And other ones, like myself, that were in New York and decided to move to DC and make a flagship store here.
Mosaic, we think, is one of those places that gives you that urban feel and that urban atmosphere without having to be in the city center of New York, or any other big city. You really can get that experience right here in Mosaic. And you get to learn about unique new brands that you wouldn’t otherwise. I think that’s what makes it special.
GA: And Sophie, you live in Mosaic as well, right?
SB: I do. In fact, my husband and I were living in Arlington, close to DC thinking it was the epicenter of where we wanted to be. But we basically stumbled on this area by walking through, having lunch. We saw the ads for the townhomes, walked in, loved the structure of the townhomes, so we instantly decided to invest in the house. The next thing I knew, I was approached about opening a store! This was something I’d thought of but didn’t think it would happen so quickly. But when it did, as we say, the stars aligned.
GA: Any last messages or thoughts you want to pass along?
SB: If you haven’t come to our store, please do. We will be able to talk to you as a customer and really get to know you as a customer. I think Mosaic is very unique to the rest of Virginia, and we should continue to promote that.
ES: And visit all the other small businesses here! There are some really cool places. Lather is awesome, Take 5 is awesome. There’s so much to really experience here if you’re that type of customer that wants more of an emotional connection to that places that you’re shopping and spending your hard-earned dollars.
SB: And Mosaic has everything here. They have Swirl N’ Sip, which is a great wine shop. You’ve got great foods like Gypsy Soul and True Food. You’ve got Take 5, Anthom, us. You’ve got Dawn Price Baby. You get the feeling of shopping small and being part of that community and supporting the community of Virginia and Mosaic.