Helen’s Guide to Charleston

The best recommendation is by word of mouth…

So yesterday we chatted with Helen about her life, business, and home as part of a very special series on inspiring women across the United States in partnership with Pandora…but today she’s taking us on the town! She gave us a list of her Charleston favorites – “I’m listing a lot of food because it’s so good!” – and we headed out to see what Charleston, South Carolina was all about…


First I made her take me to her pop-up shop, Pretend Store, where we chatted with the current designer in house, Proud Mary’s Harper Poe.

“We used to have our office in the little building that is now Pretend Store. We bought the building and renovated it a few years ago and when it was time to move out we didn’t know what we wanted to do with it so Pretend Store happened. It started as a way to bide our time while we figured out then longer plan for the building and turned into a way for us to connect with people that we’ve kind of had design crushes on. We rent the building to each participant for the month and then they do with it whatever they want. It’s been really fun seeing the space transformed time and time again. “



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Meet Helen Rice

Just a few weeks ago, we were able to talk with our friend Courtney Klein out in San Francisco as part of our partnership and celebration of inspiring women with Pandora Jewelry.

This series has been both eye-opening and heartening: to hear about the personal and professional success of such wonderful women, to talk to them about how they’ve shaped their lives, and especially to learn about the beliefs they hold true, the foundations of their accomplishments. The new Pandora Essence Collection commemorates those beliefs – love, prosperity, positivity – with beautiful, stylish charms. It has been amazing to photograph these women and their lives, and we are honored to be a part of it.

We traveled back to the East Coast to find our next muse – Helen Rice of Charleston, South Carolina. Helen grew up in Charleston but moved away to go to college in Minnesota. After school, she and her husband Josh lived in Madison, Wisconsin, but eventually Helen convinced him to move back with her in 2004. After some time working odd jobs – Helen says she worked at a restaurant, as an artist’s assistant, and as a tutor, while Josh briefly ran a cab company and tutored math – they realized their similar passions in artful branding and design. They decided to work together, and thus their company was born.

“As a way to promote my art I’d design and code my own website and design postcards, etc. I was always updating my site and really enjoyed it. Josh was building websites too and at one point we decided that it’d be fun to work together. We had his old PC and we’d take turns working on it. We loved it and we were doing good work and we named it Fuzzco. There weren’t any plans beyond just trying to make some money by doing something we enjoyed doing together. 

 Charleston was a great place to start Fuzzco because there was an appetite for our services and our friends were really supportive of us. The business grew along with the creative scene here.”

I love old southern homes; I also love when people save them, continuing the life between the walls generations before started. And you know what they say about southern hospitality… so it should have come as no surprise to me when Helen started out the day offering to make me eggs. We talked about the chicken coop she dreams of building in the yard… “unless we get chickens at the office that is.

above: They keep their client Sweeteeth‘s caramel sauce on the counter next to a pair of acorn salt and pepper shakers that were a wedding gift from Santa Fe as well as the redwood root cutting board from Michael Moran

Michael Moran did the renovation – we really wanted something that was going to open up the space because people always want to hang out in the kitchen, and we also wanted something that spilled out on to the porch.”

Light bulbs from Schoolhouse Electric / Espresso machine Francis, Francis / Le Creuset glasses and pots and tea pot / brown bowls from Two Boroughs Larder in Charleston 

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