As someone who just returned from Montego Bay (for work, people, for work!), I'm reminded of the sartorial power of a great souvenir. Not only is it a lasting memory of a (hopefully) unforgettable trip, but there's also something supremely satisfying about answering, "Oh, just a little something I picked up in Jamaica," when asked about my ensemble. Translation? You can't buy it here in New York (cue sad trombone music).
But perhaps you can buy it online, now thanks to soon-to-launch site Parcel & Journey. P&J is a socially-conscious lifestyle brand that designs, markets and distributes hand-crafted goods produced by skilled artisans across the globe. Think authentic accessories, exquisite home goods and more exotic goodies from locales like Bali, Kenya and Nepal, each presented alongside background on its cultural heritage and craftsmanship.
So here's what you do: 1) Mark your gCals for the official launch in November, 2) Shop P&J’s online pop-up shop previewing the full site’s offerings and 3) Get excited by checking out my interview with CEO and Founder Joanna Steinberg for more travel tips and style inspiration.
Julie Bensman: What was the inspiration for creating Parcel & Journey?
Joanna Steinberg: P&J was born from my passion for exploration and travel, merged with a calling to weave altruism into my day-to-day work… I couldn't ignore my passion for sharing the history, traditions and crafts of undiscovered artisans around the word. In January 2013, I started working on Parcel & Journey with the goal to create a lifestyle brand that would connect skilled artisans in marginalized communities with an opportunity to sell their crafts online to an urban and fashion-forward audience.
JB: What do you look for when curating items for the site?
JS: Products that reflect the rich colors, patterns, scents, mediums and textures of cultural traditions, while adding a contemporary touch to provide a more classic and simple aesthetic…Each Journey (or product line) has its own authentic 'story' or 'character' inspired by a cross-section of current trends and traditional ethnic craft techniques.
JB: Which are some of your favorite items?
JS: Indonesian Clutches, Nepalese Cashmere Scarves, Beaded Cuffs from Guatemala and tribal beaded necklaces from Kenya.
JB: Why is it so compelling to have a connection with one's clothing?
JS: We are in the age of fast fashion, of high/low and everything in between. Personally, I'm looking for a shift to simplify my style and curate a look that reflects what I value as a person. P&J is offering products that are on trend, interesting and unique but also come with a meaningful story. Our collections are quality conversation pieces.
Part of what's compelling about "global style" is its innovative nature. There has and will continue to be growth as our generation becomes increasingly culturally aware with unlimited digital access to designs and trends. Online and digital mediums present unprecedented convenience and exposure to novelty, purposeful and artisanal products that brick-and-mortar stores or mass market product lines do not.
JB: Who is the Parcel & Journey customer?
JS: The P&J customer has an eclectic style. She is driven by all that life has to offer — from great food and travel, to the perfect cashmere throw. She seeks products that reflect her personality and lifestyle; fresh, classic with a modern twist, travel inspired and down-to-earth luxury. She invests in things that speak to her emotionally, but also represent sophistication. And, oh yeah, any guys looking to score some major points…