Meet our Mother Daughter Dynamic Duo - Kerri & Ali! - Westport Moms
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 You two are an inspirational mother daughter duo! Tell us about your relationship, and how it has evolved since Ali’s childhood, and what it’s like now! Ali and I (in a way) grew up together. I had her at 28 and quickly became single after that. It was me and Ali learning how to navigate as a little team. We have always been very close, and after she graduated and got some experience working in the fashion industry, I asked to her come and work with me. We opened the first store together and when we decided to launch an apparel line, it was Ali by my side. Ali works with me designing the collections and ultimately has grown our wholesale division which she now heads up as National Sales Director.
 
AliWorking together with your mom can be both beautiful – and challenging=) Tell us a little bit about both. Working with my mom has been the greatest gift of my life. I’ve always been so inspired by her drive and creativity, and I knew at a very young age that I wanted to be by her side with whatever she did.That all being said- it was not immediately perfect. It took time and patience to find our groove together and now we are a dream team!
 
Kerri- tell us how you originally began doing art, and your journey to the place you are now. After working for Olilily, a Dutch lifestyle brand, and having 2 more children, I was getting the itch to go back to work. We were out to dinner in Greenwich and there was a painting on the wall that I could not take my eyes off of. The very next day I went to the art store, purchased supplies, and went down to my unfinished basement, and started to paint. It felt like forever in the very best way. I tapped into something within me that I did not know existed. I came up for air a year later with about 20 paintings that I hung all over my home. When friends came over they were kind of blown away. I decided to face a fear and have a pop up. We took the old, Waterworks location, traded art for the space for a weekend, and created a gallery. Everything sold and some local shops asked to carry my work. My art career took off. At the same time, I had clients coming to my home to see the artwork and discuss commissions. They loved my home. I was asked to help design their homes, but I was not an interior designer. I had a friend who at the time was studying to be an interior designer and we merged together and designed over 30 homes. In 2016, I decided to go off on my own and open my own shop with everything I had done in the past – Fashion, Art and Home. The Kerri Rosenthal Concept shop opened on Sept. 6, 2016 and we are now in our third space, the very same space I started in, the old Waterworks. 181 Main Street is now Kerri Rosenthal. I have come full circle! I have 24 employees and 4 business channels – Retail/ Ecomm, Trade, Wholesale and Interiors. We sell a full collection of Apparel to other retailers, including Shopbop, Anthropologie, Bloomingdales and many other smaller specialty stores. We are also distributing in Canada. We have plans to open additional Kerri Rosenthal shops in the coming years.
 
Kerri – what is your favorite type of art to create, and why? Where do you get your inspiration from? My inspiration can come from the most random places. It could be a color combo I see out of nowhere that gets a painting going. The colors come first, and then the design. So I might say – I am inspired by color. I can’t pick a favorite. I love everything I paint from my Drippy Hearts to my abstracts, and everything in-between. I love painting Super Duper’s because they are very customer specific. I get to know the people I am working with through these commissions and that has opened my world as an artist.·
 
Ali – when did you know you wanted to work with your mom, and get involved in the business? We used to fantasize about opening a store when we would walk around New York City shopping in my teens. Then 5 or 6 years ago my mom said that it was a good time to start working part time, scheduling commissions, meeting art clients, and washing her brushes. A month or so later she found an amazing location in Westport to open her first store and we just went for it. Starting out with a just few products, we watched our dream come to life and it organically grew from there. It quickly turned into the lifestyle brand you see today.
 
You guys have done so many amazing collaborations over the years- which has been the most fun, and why? We love all of our collabs. It is so hard to pick. It’s so much fun seeing my artwork applied to a category we have never done before but dreamed of doing. Our Roller Rabbit collab was one of those. To see my artwork on PJ’s was a blast and to see so many people be super excited about that collab was the icing on the cake. It sold out at Shopbop, Roller Rabbit and KR in under 1 hour! We have another collab launching on May 1 with Stripe & Stare, and it’s something out of the box and super exciting!
 
Westport has always been known as a community that places strong value on art – how has running a business like yours been in Westport, and how do you feel the community has helped you grow? Our little Westport Community has been our greatest supporter. We have customers who have been coming in since we opened our first store in 2016 and feel like they are part of our team, and they are in a way! They feel so much pride for the brand and are so kind to share their thoughts with me. I love to hear their ideas for what we should do next. I take that all in; it fuels me.
 
Additional thoughts from Kerri:
When you aren’t working/creating, what are your favorite things to do? Work and create, ha! Actually, being with my family and friends. I love just hanging out with my husband at our Westport home and with my kids when they are home. Big dinners with friends, now that we can, and being together, all of us, is my favorite thing to do.
 
What are each of your hidden talents – or something people would be surprised to know about you? Well, we can remove cooking from this list! That is one I cannot do… So maybe that is a surprise. Cleaning up after dinner parties in record time, is my super power. My friends and family call me roller derby Kerri, because it’s like I’m on roller skates. They even join in. We are considering forming a team with logo tee-shirts now!
 
Are you a morning person – or a night owl? Morning person! I am up at the crack of dawn. This is when I collect my thoughts for my business and do my most productive work.
 
What is the last book you’ve read and/or TV show you’ve binged? I just finished Drop Out (on Hulu). It was amazing!!!
 
What is next? What is your vision for the next 3-5 years? (if you are willing to share!) We plan on opening a few more shops around the country in the next few years. We are growing both our Apparel and Home collections, moving into different categories and we continue to do some amazing collaborations with other like-minded brands. I have a major collab coming in 2024, which I am super excited about but I can’t discuss It yet….Details to follow!
 
So many artists have been inspired by your art; who has been your main inspiration? I love so many.. Picasso, Wolf Kahn, Alex Katz, Willem De Kooning, Helen Frankenthaler, Calder. Artists that use color fearlessly.
 
Any advice you can share for other mothers and daughters out there? The foundation for us is respect. We both respect each other and we may disagree, but we hear each other out and always get through it. It takes some time to find a rhythm but you eventually do and then it’s just a beautiful thing.
 
QUICK THIS OR THAT:
At a movie: Candy or Popcorn?
KR: Popcorn | Ali: Popcorn
 
Cook or order in?
KR:
Order in | Ali: Cook
 
Cake or Ice Cream?
KR:
Cake | Ali: Cake

 
Iced Coffee or Hot Coffee?
KR:
Iced Coffee | Ali: Hot Coffee
 
Beach or Mountains?
KR:
Beach | Ali: Both!
 
Puzzle or Board Game?
KR:
Neither | Ali: Neither
 
Wine or a Cocktail (if cocktail, which one?)
KR: Cocktail – vodka dirty on ice with gorgonzola stuffed olives! | Ali: Cocktail — Extra dirty martini with olives
 
Reading or writing?
KR:
Writing | Ali: Reading
 
Before bed: Social media or book/TV?
KR:
TV | Ali: TV
 
Watch or play sports?
KR:
Neither | Ali: Skiing
 
Stay in or go out?
KR:
Stay in | Ali: A little bit of both
 
Comedy or Drama?
KR:
Drama | Ali: Comedy

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