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Meet the Shopkeepers
meet the shopkeepers
Jennie & Andrew
Owners and Artists
Room Service est. 2009 in Ohio City, 2018 in Shaker Heights
Parents to Rune
What was the motivation behind what you do?
Our work is about connection and storytelling. So I think that our approach of creating a narrative within our spaces and between our beautiful goods is its defining feature. It's a place to get lost, to find meaning and beauty, and to remember what it's like to shop intimately in the real world. That it can feel like discovery, like joyfulness, like connection and intention.
What was a piece of advice given to you when starting out that you’ve clung to?
In all seriousness? Come in well-capitalized. No joke. This kind of work is expensive, and finding the support and funding to do it at its best, at its highest level, is keenly important. That being said there is so much resourcefulness and ingenuity in tight budgets. A lot of my work is generated from that need to think outside the box. But more intimately, a word of advice I hold close close is to find a team you trust and then, actually, truly trust it. Understand you can't do it all alone, that many beautiful minds make a more beautiful outcome.
Where/how do you pull inspiration for creating?
It. is. so. varied. If there was just one well from which we drew vision and direction it would be an easier question to answer, right? But to be honest, I think it rests in a constant curiosity- a desire to seek, to see materials and connections between them in new ways. Also in a comfort with each other that allows us to explore ideas and avenues. But, ultimately, we’re physical. For Andrew, it’s in the body, its movement, and sound. For me, it's texture and shape. Form and the way things take up space.
What lesson(s) have you learned since running this business together as a family?
That it's hard. And it's worth it. That what we will always have more than money is time- together. That doesn't mean it's all harmonious time, but it's what we can't get back. It is spent learning and growing and building. It has been spent raising a child in the world, with people we care for, in service of something we think is important. It's also, to try to be deeply respectful. We both (all three of us!) need different things to be successful, to be happy and creatively satisfied. Understanding and shaping the workaround that is wildly important.
What values or practices does Room Service have that you hold close, or that differentiates you?
Human-ness!! Being humans, with other humans! (Tough, right now, we know…which hurts our heart a bit) But it is really about sharing beautiful spaces with others and weaving our story, our inspirations, and ideas together with those of the designers and creators whose goods we bring together in the shop. It's a deep, deep heart commitment to watch people light up when they experience our shops. Our spaces are an art of their own, and that elevation of retail is what makes our spirits sing.
Share a maker/artist/business you are currently fascinated by.
Sibella Court: Her work has always been a touchstone- remarkable alchemy of whimsy & nature, immersion & transport. Adore it, always.
Albarran Cabrera: Photographers Anna & Angel (Cabrerra and Albaraan respectively) symbiosis as artists is a remarkable and beautiful partnership. Their discussions on creation, knowledge, reflection, and curiosity are important thoughts. We revel in the discovery they provoke, and the generosity with which they offer it.
What does 2021 look like for Room Service? Is there anything specific you’re looking forward to?
That's is a big question... there are a lot of plans germinating. Some really cool collaborations we've been dreaming of for a long time for private-label goods, some artistic offerings we are building on, and just a renewed confidence and passion for what we offer and how we go about it. We've built a lot of really special relationships this last year, even with all its strains, and we are really excited to see where they go in 2021...
Jennie and Andrew at a Glance…
As a child, what did you dream of being when you grew up:
J: Um, this is gonna be kinda funny, but... a pencil salesman?? I used to go door to door in my neighborhood selling pencils and erasers, and I thought it was pretty top-notch. Also, my sister and I would take the band-aids and silverware from the cabinets and "sell" them back to my mom at competing shops across the living room, so I guess... funnily enough...retail...
A: A meteorologist. I still love weather, but I really just wanted to be on TV. Turns out I found another way to do that...
Where would you go if you could magically live and run a shop in any city in the world:
J: Pt. Townsend, WA. Spent time growing up there, it's a very special place.
A: Either Les Baux de Provence or Honoka'a on the big island of Hawaii.
If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life, it would be:
J: Oysters. There are so so many types, flavor profiles, pairings. I find them fascinating. And delicious.
A: This is torture. One food? Fine, I'll stick with the Hawaiian vibe, and go with lilikoi (fresh Passion Fruit). Mostly because it seems pretty bad-a$% to eat nothing but lilikoi.
A favorite/memorable book you read in 2020:
J: The Twelve Wild Swans, by Starhawk and Hilary Valentine. A meditation on ritual, healing, and action. Really important work for me.
A: Kafka on the Shore, by Haruki Murakami. His work is all kinds of amazing.
If you were given an 8th day in a week, how would you spend your time (no work allowed!):
J: Just like we do on any other evening- garden, dinner, chasing a baby who is chasing chickens- although I might add more horseback riding. I was quite good at it at one time.
A: Getting actually good at playing the guitar.