Kelly Vittengl of Frances Loom is a bit of an Instagram sensation and an overall design inspiration to me. I’ve personally been following and loving every one of her rugs since 2014. Here at W&D, we recently caught up with Kelly and chatted all things rugs, personal style, curation, starting an unexpected business and her upcoming and exciting move from Venice to London. Catch our in-depth interview with the talented and stylish rug-slinger here!
How did you decide to create Frances Loom?
K: To be totally honest, Frances Loom sort of happened out of the blue. It wasn’t something I planned at all. I had just quit my full-time job and was starting my interior design business. As I was collecting pieces from flea markets for clients, I couldn’t help myself and began over-buying, and then I would post the items to my personal Instagram account (this was prior to the whole Instagram shop phenomenon). Friends were tagging friends and then they tagged their friends and it was like wildfire. I soon realized that I needed a platform to professionally sell on, I created the website, and it was history from there. I stopped pursuing interior design clients and began building up the website and the brand.
What did you do for a living before Frances Loom?
K: For several years prior to Frances Loom, I was an in-house set designer for an online e-commerce shoe company. I left that job to pursue interior design but that only lasted for a few months before the website really took off.
What are your sources of inspiration when curating your assortment?
K: I’m mostly inspired by art, nature, and travel. I am moving to London soon and have been traveling there quite a bit over the past year, and I have realized how much the city has influenced my buying. However, it’s never one particular thing that inspires me, when I’m shopping it’s more of a feeling I get when sorting through the rugs. I innately know what I like and what I don’t.
Where do most of your rugs originate from?
K: A majority of the rugs I buy originate from Iran and Turkey, though I have yet to travel to either of these countries – I hope to at some point in the near future when things have settled down a bit.
Do you travel internationally to source your rugs or do you find them right in LA?
K: When I first started, I was sourcing almost all of my rugs in LA. However, I now source most of them overseas. Europe is absolutely amazing for antiquing and I can’t wait to explore more markets when I move there.
What are the main qualities you look for in a rug when purchasing?
K: As I stated earlier, it really is a gut feeling I have when I know I should buy a piece or not. However, color and design do play a large role when I’m shopping.
What are the biggest challenges to running your own business?
K: Staying organized!! I am a huge procrastinator, so running things on your own, from home can be extremely difficult at times. But, I have daily to-do lists in my planner and crossing things off the list is enough satisfaction to actually get me in moving.
How do you define success?
K: Success to me is being passionate and therefore fulfilled by what you’re doing. I have a karmic theory that if you’re doing what you love, success will naturally come to you. When you take important (often times frightening) steps in your life to fulfill your dreams, I believe that the universe will reward you for your bravery.
Your home design – what trends do you follow?
K: I think my favorite trend in recent years has been the gallery wall, and I don’t see that one going out of style anytime soon. Collecting art has become a real passion of mine, so I’m already scheming up a new arrangement for my future London flat.
How would you describe your personal style?
K: This is nearly impossible for me to answer because I take bits and pieces from just about every design style out there. As I mentioned earlier, I’m very inspired by cities that I visit and my surroundings. My style is already in the midst of shifting quite drastically from the bright white walls, clean lines, and nature-inspired Southern California to charcoal walls, chipped paint, and antiquities of London.
Where online do you pull design inspiration from?
K: Instagram and Pinterest are my two biggest. The Internet has just made it so easy for us to access beautiful design. However, in the print world, Architectural Digest will always be my bible.
Who are your favorite design inspirations to follow on IG?
K: The moodiness of Beth Kirby’s feed (@localmilk) is enough to make me weak in the knees. I find her aesthetic to be so warm and cozy. Another one of my favorites are Tara and Percy of @jerseyicecreamco – their interior design skills are out of this world.
What do you like most about living in Venice?
K: As previously mentioned, I just moved from Venice after living there for 5 years. I moved to Venice from the Lower East Side of NYC and knew that I needed a cultural, walkable neighborhood near the ocean. I had no idea that a neighborhood could bring me as much joy has Venice has brought me. The people, food, architecture, nature, shops, are incredible. I could go on for days. It will forever hold a huge place in my heart. I could easily see myself moving back at some point, but for now, I’m headed east to get my Europe fix!
Do you have any big plans or goals for Frances Loom this year?
K: I do indeed! A new website will be rolled out in the next month or so which I am extremely excited about. With the launch of the new site, comes the launch of something else… but it’s too soon to tell! You’ll have to wait and see for yourself!
BY Kate Arends - March 3, 2017
Thank you for being here. For being open to enjoying life’s simple pleasures and looking inward to understand yourself, your neighbors, and your fellow humans! I’m looking forward to chatting with you.