Carol, Sushin Pack, Carolyn Umberto discussed on Design Matters with Debbie Millman


Get a few hours sleep and don't worry. And he's equally exciting and reassuring at the same time. So he can kind of get you to do anything. And I would say that's kind of been the nature of our relationship. Since then, which I think is why, in a way, we still work together. We hang out together. I think this sense of having fun while we do whatever it is we're doing. Makes it always interesting. How chic were those pajamas? Oh, they were LL being black watch plaid, the navy. I know exactly what I was wearing. When you were both in school. Oh wait, before I go in, I want to actually, let's go back. Umberto, did you have that sense when you met Carol? She's my girl. You know, it's funny because when I meet new people, I end up kind of falling in love with people and I really kind of treat my relationships that way and I really give it my all. So I feel like I was excited to meet her and if I'm really comfortable with people, people get to see this really ridiculous side of me. So I feel like Carol definitely immediately saw this like crazy energetic side of me. I think that was the beginning of just our friendship. And my trust in her and allowing me to be me in that moment. The crowd you hung out with was described by journalist sushin pack as the following. Carolyn umberto hung out with this ripped stocking, heavy eye lined chain smoking, badass crew. I remember seeing the most days as I walked on campus standing around looking bad assy, even then they had their own sense of style northern Cali goth chic, a little Morrissey meets sunshine prep. So what is that aesthetic actually look like? It's so funny. It's hearing all this comeback. It's so funny. I mean, I will not deny that we took getting dressed and going to school really serious. And I will say that we all did hang around with a click that really cared about what vintage clothing we were wearing. And I think we were just we were all shopping at the Salvation army, so it wasn't like we were like spending a ton of money, maybe going to the outlets was like our biggest splurge, but it wasn't shocking to see Carol and I in full faux fur coats with black boots and chain smoking on the steps of sprawl. And we just hung out with everyone who did this. So we looked like a big group of people that ranged from 20 to 40 people and you would see John Cho the actor with us and you would see just all these kind of people that were really into dressing up to go to college. Leon, you graduated with a degree in art practice and American studies, Carol. You have a degree in economics. You began your career as an investment banker. In San Francisco, why? Well, actually, I started as a consultant during the days when management consulting was very big, so my first job was at Deloitte consulting in San Francisco. You know, they offered a very good analyst program where I thought that was what I should do. I studied economics, you know, I wanted to get a good job and it allowed travel. And so I learned a lot of, I would say, fundamental skills, office politics, I wore suits to my first job and pantyhose. I wore funky suits, you know, and I would go shopping. I'm like, I need something funky to wear. I don't want to just wear a normal and Taylor suit. And so everyone would always comment on they're like, wow, you have such an interesting style. And I would say that those were my path shaped, I think, where I ended up career wise, so I don't have any regrets and I enjoyed my time. I did consulting and then I did investment banking before I moved to New York. So it was a bit of an interesting beginning, but I think all skills that were helpful. Power exec. That's the sort of vision I get viewing your seats with your sort of blunt haircut and looking fierce. Leon, after graduation, you went back to the gap, you were still working there, and old navy, you worked on a designing interiors, then you were hired by burberry to run visual merchandising in New York. Carol, you followed umberto to New York and decided to try your hand in the fashion business as well. You applied for a position at ferragamo, where you were offered a job as an intern coming from the investment consulting field that must have felt like a real slap in the face. You turned it down and you got a job at bally in planning and merchandising. So talk a little bit about that transition. How did your parents feel about you going from investment banking and consulting to planning and merchandising in the fashion business? I think I sold them on the idea that I was going to take a year off, move to New York, study for the gmat, because the track that I was on, you know, would send me to business school. They didn't know my struggles and trying to find a job because yes, everyone's like mergers and acquisitions. They're like, we don't know what that is, but yes, you can be an intern. In fashion, you have to start from the bottom and work your way up. And I thought, how is this going to work if I'm going to try to live in New York and support myself? It didn't seem possible until the right opportunity found itself. And luckily, that opportunity was a block away from where I'm Bertha was working. And so it allowed us to at least call each other and meet and we would go talk about where we're going to have lunch, you know, that was the exciting thing. Where are we going to eat? And we would find all the Asian restaurants in midtown. It was great because here we were now back in the same city and seeing each other every day and going out every night. In April of 2000 you went on a vacation to Hong Kong together. And I believe at the time you went to shop, meet designers, eat, get massages, instead you had an epiphany that changed the trajectories of your lives. And I was wondering if you can talk a little bit about how the idea for your business first came to fruition. Yeah, Carolyn and I had worked these corporate jobs and. We really just kind of been really good employees never took a vacation. And so we were like, we deserve a vacation. And so we decided we're going to go visit our college friend who introduced us and Bill young, who is now living in Hong Kong as a journalist. And we said, we're going to come visit and I had been to Hong Kong a bunch, so I was like, Carol, I'm going to show you my version of Hong Kong and it's like shopping, eating massaging, like all the stuff that we love. And so when we went out there, we ended up meeting all these great young designers and all these cool people who are starting a magazine and just somebody making a bag or just all these great people. And we were buying it up. I mean, Karen, I was shopping. There was no tomorrow. And in that moment,.

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