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.”
I asked Helen what was in the brown vial atop the espresso machine – “It’s my vial perfume I make from lavender, patchouli, and vetiver – I keep it in the kitchen to put it on and feel refreshed throughout the day.”
Personal touches: Painting of little cans by Johnny Tucker is a small painting she keeps in the kitchen by the architect they used on the house.
Over eggs, she confessed that Josh is generally the cook. “It’s how he relaxes,” she said while eating some of his leftover potatoes.
“Josh is the greatest person I’ve ever met. He has so much energy and we just have the best time together. We met in French class in Macalester College. We listened to Bright Eyes a lot when we first met and smoked cloves by the window of his dorm room while it snowed outside. It’s pretty fun thinking back on all of the experiences we’ve had together. Things got pretty nerdy sometimes. We got married on December 3, 2010 in our backyard.”
“I’m the gardener. Josh loves being outside and can get really into planning and planting and weeding but when the bugs are out, which is a good stretch of the summer, he’s inside. I’ve really developed a love for growing flowers. We’ve had vegetable gardens several times since we’ve lived here but this year, we’re getting a great CSA through our friend Jim Martin with Compost in My Shoe and so we planted a bunch of cosmos and roses in the beds instead of edibles. “
Helen and Josh have planted flowers and fruits, including roses, sage, cosmos, pineapple, orange trees, tangerines, calamondin tree, lemons, limes, grapefruit, and a banana tree! Excess fruit goes to their friends or their CSA. There are some future plans for the garden as well…other than the chicken coop, they’re planning an outdoor bedroom and studio space for friends and clients to stay (and for themselves to get away from the cats on nights they keep them up!)
Wearing: shirt designed by Fuzzco to promote Coast Brewing Co‘s fundraiser to expand their operation (the owner, David, is the guy on the front!) / Black Crane pants / Converse shoes / Prosperity, Love, and Positivity charms by Pandora Jewelry
On their historic home renovations:
“Our Charleston Single house was built in 1852. The renovation took about 6 months and we’re still working on things here and there. It’s a project without an end but I’m OK with that. The slow changes keep things interesting. “
You can keep up with the renovations of their house and their office space on their site, Content & Candor!
“We have some really wonderful friends here. We went to an incredible dinner party last night at a friend’s house where they served french fare. Josh and I dressed up in a couple of my dad’s berets which was against the rules and we got bit repeatedly by their awesome cat Poncho on purpose.
We love to hang out at the house on the weekends. During the week we work a lot and if we hang out afterwards, we go out because the restaurants here are so fun and the food is so good.”
Above: Most of the rugs thoughtout the house are by FLOR
Creative Friends – One of the great things about Helen showing me around her home was all the little artifacts, art, gifts and hand-me-downs from a group of creative friends. Below, she smiles as she shows me one of Michelle Jewell’s Finklestein Toys which later we come across a cat the artist created after Helen’s own as an opening party gift.
Above: Black Crane top / Mociun pants / No.6 shoes / Wendy Nichol earrings / ring from Clermont / American Apparel gold sparkle nail polish / peace, strength, balance, prosperity, love, and positivity charms by Pandora Jewelry
Above & Below: Dining table and bench from a vintage shop on King Street, which is sadly no longer there / chairs from eBay are Paul McCobb / light over table Patrick Townsend for Areaware / map on wall her dad found in a garbage can (!love!) / vintage lamp belonged to her parents / chair from blu dot / blanket in the basket is from The National Trust, they got it while in Ireland for a design conference / framed wall print Camilla Engman
Above: Piano came from craigslist for $10
Above: Art over fireplace Tim Hussey
Below: Paintings on wood by Helen herself
Above: Vintage black T-shirt / pants by Won Hundred
Above: the art and a client, “Circa 1955” painting by Tim Liddy.
Above: Helen stands in front of the old Fuzzco clipboard wall left over from when their home was a live / work space. Now it holds a collection of found objects from walks around Charleston. The wood chair (which is “in the works”) is from the previous owner’s furniture shop where Fuzzco is now.
Below: Sitting on a blue couch they found on Craigslist with a coffee table built by her dad, on which sits a box he also built to hold a collection of found objects they have collected together (detail above)
Above: Sessun dress / American Apparel leggings / Dolce Vita shoes / Kathleen Whitaker earrings (Proud Mary will be carrying them at the Pretend Store this month!) / peace, strength, balance, prosperity, love, and positivity charms by Pandora Jewelry
Old art boxes from her dad that used to be in his studio. Her father is an architect and painter while Helen herself tends to use colored pencil and gauche in her artwork.
On top of the art boxes is a collection of Josh’s grandfather’s wooden figurines.
Helen has a large collection of perfumes, which you know I adore:
“They take me back to a place and I can choose a scent based on what mood I’m in.”
Miller et Bertaux (their green, green, green, and green smells SO GOOD).
Above: I loved the little ornaments hanging over their closet from Two Boroughs Larder.
Above & Below: Trap door goes to the sitting room downstairs which they built back when their home was a live / work space. They wanted to be able to get to the kitchen from their bedroom without having to walk through the working areas.
Helen on choosing her Pandora Essence Charms:
“Moonstones always intrigue me and that is what really drew me to balance and love. Prosperity is my favorite, I’m really drawn to green these days. This one makes me feel like someone is wishing me well and good luck. I also love each of the faceted ones. I ultimately chose for color and finish but the symbolism in each brings a meaningfulness to the bracelets that is nice. The concept is grounding which is something I can use as I find myself pulled so heavily into the depths of work and life.”
Above & Below: Trench is In God We Trust
“I grew up here, so there is a familiarity that I love and yet there are new things happening all the time…Lots of young talented people wanted to be in bigger cities like NY or Chicago…but it seems like there is a big movement right now toward smaller cities. There is an interesting opportunity in smaller places to make them your own, and there was a point several years ago when we realized the opportunity we had to influence Charleston and how people think about it.”
On the transition of Fuzzco from home, to Spring Street, and now Cannon Street:
We ran Fuzzco out of [our home] for about 2 years. We were four people in here at the end and people would work late into the night. We loved living at work in the beginning and there are still things I miss about it but the separation is everything these days.
Our new office on Cannon Street is a couple years in the making. We knew we were going to grow out of Spring Street pretty quickly and we were pretty packed in there at the end…I think where we ended up is perfect for us. It’s more than six times the size of our old place. And we like being tucked away – we work really hard so privacy for us is key.
We set out on foot to pay visit to Fuzzco’s new headquarters:
We worked with David Thompson Architect. David and Justin were great to work with and they really helped us make a space that we love. Our new place has several conference rooms, tons of little rooms for smaller meetings and the studio is bright and open. We designed standing desks that we had our friend Peyton Avrett fabricate. We also worked with another friend, Michael Moran, who built some furniture and prepared all of the burned wood for the exterior screen of the building. We have an observation bee hive which was made and installed by our client The Bee Cause.
You can see the process of all their renovations here.