An Interview: Gardenhead by Sabreen Wilkes

Gardenhead
Gardenhead at The Renegade Art Fair

 

The Trend:  Dainty….quirky….beautiful…floral headbands…..  I noticed it a few months ago and wondered what was going on.  I was apparently behind the trend. Every girl was wearing them on their wrists as bracelets or around their head as tiaras or headbands.  I wanted to find out more about them and when I asked I was told they were available at the nearest chain jewelry store.  Curious.  One day I might check them out further.  Then that ‘one day’ came at the Renegade Art Fair and I had the chance to meet Sabreen, owner of Gardenhead.  She made by hand

Gardenhead, owner, Sabreen.
Gardenhead, owner, Sabreen.

the very same floral bands I had seen, but hers were nicer and more interesting….they were custom made by her and so I took a moment to ask her about her designs.  I loved them AND she totally did a custom order for me using dried pink flowers.  So if you ever are interested in purchasing, don’t get bogged down by what you only see….take a chance and make a custom order request and see if she can help you out.

I asked her for an interview and here are her answers below.

…Sabreen, thanks so much for the cool interview!  Love the custom headband you made and can’t wait to catch you again.

Peeps I hope you enjoy the read and…until next time…travel Spritely.

 

1)  So you started in 2010?  Why did you decide to make headbands?  You mention a pixie haircut on your website.  Any other reasons?

The pixie cut inspired me to start wearing hair accessories in my hair as a way to diversify the look, and when I didn’t really see any headbands that I was crazy about, I decided to start experimenting and make some myself.  I’ve always been a bit crafty, and I love fashion and styling (I’ve had many retail jobs) so it came fairly easy to me. Whenever I would wear a piece I created, I got such positive reactions from friends expressing interest in having one for themselves which felt really nice. That prompted me to begin selling at the Melrose Trading Post.

I was primarily focused on pursuing acting at the time, and wanted/needed another source of income in addition to cocktail waitressing. So I thought why not give this a try?

2)  You’re inspired by Nature.  Are you also inspired by Faeries?  Are you hoping to bring people closer to Nature, etc. or something with your designs?

I am definitely inspired by Nature. And there is plenty of beauty here in southern California. I grew up near the beach in Playa del Rey and as I’ve gotten older I’ve grown even more appreciative of the ocean and various hike trails here. I’m also inspired by ethereal and mystical things, which would include faeries. I would also add mermaids, unicorns, and ancient Egypt and Greece to the list. I’m also inspired by music, the flower power vibe of the 60’s, bohemian living, yoga, Paris, New York, Bob Marley, Frida Kahlo and the colors of a sunset!

I never thought about bringing people closer to nature till now. I love that! Maybe subconsciously it was a hope of mine.

3) When I first saw your designs I thought ‘Great!’ because I’ve been noticing the trend of floral headbands and bracelets over the past few months.  Was it in style when you first started out?  How were your designs received then and how are they received now?

When I first started, flowercrown style headbands had definitely not made its way into everyday style yet (and maybe it still hasn’t). I’m aware people have been wearing them for decades, but when I first started selling them I was so shocked at how many flea market shoppers were very confused on what they were. They thought they were beautiful but had no idea what do with them. And then once they found out what they were, some would even say to me “why on earth would I ever wear one?!” They thought that they had to be getting married, or going to the Renaissance Fair or going to Coachella, or dressing as a flower child for Halloween. While all those are great reasons to wear one, I also think you can wear them at absolutely any time. It doesn’t have to be for a specific occasion on perfectly curled hair. Actually, the messier the hair, the better! I simply view them as a little blessing for the head. Kind of like when you paint your nails, it’s just kind of nice to glance down at your hand every once in a while and see a fun color there. It’s pretty and can maybe make you smile.

The merchandise....beautiful floral crowns...
The merchandise….beautiful floral crowns…

In 2012, Urban Outfitters had contacted me (my first big break), and we had some of the first flowercrowns on their website, which was very exciting.

Now that it is “trendy” people definitely know what I’m selling. And they sometimes think that it’s my first day of selling ☺

4) Do you have any ideas for other designs?  Are you interested in branching out into other areas with your designs?

I always feel overwhelmed with ideas. I try to create 15-20 pieces for each season as well as in between capsule collections. For example, last summer I created a sports team inspired line. If you’re a Laker fan, I have a flowercrown made of purple and yellow roses (I’m also inspired by sports! Grew up playing volleyball and basketball). There’s not very many cute accessories for female sports fans out there.  For EDC fans, I’ve created a glitter daisy flowercrown and now want to experiment making one with lights on it. Something for everybody is the route I’d like to go. I would also like to expand into making more jewelry, involving the welding of metals.

LaDonna comment:  I think you’re really onto something here Sabreen with the sports accessories!  It’s a great idea…I’m sure you’ll really gain a big following in this market….

Gardenhead.  Gorgeous flowers.  Gorgeous style.
Gardenhead. Gorgeous flowers. Gorgeous style.

5) Where can people find your artwork?  And what are the prices?  I noticed you are in a few stores, but are you expanding?

Right now, people can find me at the Melrose Trading Post almost every Sunday. I also sell them on the website, www.gardenhead.co and on Etsy, www.etsy.com/shop/breenie.  There will be a few styles sold exclusively at Nasty Gal (www.nastygal.com) this Fall and Winter (yay!).

The price range is $8-55 for right now.

I am always open and looking to expand, organically.  So far, a lot of my contacts have come from the Melrose Trading Post, which I consider Gardenhead’s roots and something I am very grateful for.

6) Where do you see your work going over the next few years?  Do you think this is a trend that might fade over time?  Right now it looks like you’re part of the front runners inspiring people with your designs to bring something very pretty and feminine into their wardrobe.  I think that’s great.  Have you considered doing parties?  Like where girls come together and perhaps try on your designs or maybe even make-a-headband-party where they make one themselves and leave with something you’ve taught them how to make?

At times, I have felt worried that I will be out of work when this trend fades, but

More the merrier....many to choose from...
More the merrier….many to choose from…

truthfully I feel that flowers are timeless and will always be in. I’ve also never been big on trends, but for business, I understand it’s totally beneficial! And the trend is just getting started ☺  In the next few years, I’d love to expand the brand with perhaps more jewelry, and other accessories and/or clothing? I’m not so sure yet.

Headbands/flowercrowns was the first item I started crafting, and it wasn’t till very recently that I started making flower chokers, bracelets and now adding flowers to hoop earrings. It’s all happened at a great pace so far. I’d love to possibly be a vendor at some of the world’s largest music festivals, travel outside the country for work, perhaps some flea markets in Paris, and get into more stores.  I’d love to incorporate and focus on a lifestyle that’s tied into the Gardenhead brand, promoting self-love, inner peace and kindness.

I like the idea of parties, and bringing women together and teaching them how to make their own crowns (there are companies who do that with real flowers too), but that is not the direction I’d like to go in at this time.

7) I also noticed your stand is very economical in space and is very practical.  Was this intentional?  It’s a very cool setup.

Sometimes my display will be on wheels! That’s what I appreciate about the Renegade Craft Fair where I met you. They allow a roving set-up as an option which I think beautifully reflects Gardenhead. I get to keep it simple and to the point. The product itself is enough visually, AND it is more economical!

Gardenhead Mobile:  You can find her mobile at various fairs and weekend markets
Gardenhead Mobile: You can find her mobile at various fairs and weekend markets

8) Who’s wearing your designs?  Who’s your customer and where do you get your flowers from?  Do you do custom work?  I think your work is great and very eye-catching and I was so glad to see them.  Do you have anything you’d like to share about your designs or work?

I get some flowers from downtown LA in the flower district and there are also a couple of warehouses in the more southern parts of California that I go to.

I enjoy doing custom orders! It makes me so happy when a bride, for example, isn’t finding what she’s looking for and actually wants me to make something for her. And it’s an even greater feeling when she ends up loving it!

I’d say that confident women and girls who like pretty things tend to wear Gardenhead!  I’m inspired by women who have their own sense of personal style. Although these pieces are very feminine, you don’t have to be a girly girl to wear them. In fact I like it almost better when a woman with an edgier look has a little pop of flowers in the hair. However, it’s not for everyone and I get that too.

Get the look.  Quick.  Easy Bohemian grace and classic style.
Get the look. Quick. Easy Bohemian grace and classic style.

I never like to put an age limit on anything. I think if you’re 75 and feel like wearing flowers in your hair, then so be it. Often I will hear a shopper say, “I’m too old to wear this, it would definitely be for my daughter or granddaughter.” Sometimes I will hear girls younger than me say that they are too old to wear Gardenhead pieces. I think they look great on young girls and they look great on women…it’s about how you feel. I guess I like staying forever young ☺

 

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