Color us excited to have Gen Sohr as our Hype Girl. She’s the co-founder and creative behind Nashville-based Pencil and Paper Co., a celebrated and colorful design company and lifestyle brand. Her vibrant approach to decorating and dressing makes us want to paint the town (and our bathrooms!) every color of the rainbow.
Gen, tell us a little about yourself!
CliffsNotes version: I grew up in Coral Gables, Florida. At 21, I moved to San Francisco to help roll out the Old Navy concept for Gap brands, working in visual merchandising. Ultimately, I became VP of Creative Services and Visual Merchandising with Victoria Secret (lived in Columbus and NYC) before landing in Nashville with my husband Benjamin in 2003. We launched a brief retail business, which ultimately led to the creation of Pencil + Paper Co in 2012. I’m the lucky mom to Oden (super creative 14-year-old son) and wonderful stepdaughter Lucy (20).
Tell us more about the genesis of Pencil + Paper Co. How has it evolved since launch?
In 2012, we launched as a husband and wife design team that focused mainly on residential design and development, and have since grown into a full-blown company with two unique divisions under the parent company of P+P. I lead a team that is focused on creating a lifestyle brand through product design, brand collaborations (our Anthropologie collection launches this holiday season), and social connection (Creative Club launching in March of this year). Benjamin leads a separate team that helps create brand + retail experience and product programs for large spirit companies. And, there’s so much more to come!
From residential and commercial interior design to branding, content and physical product, Pencil + Paper Co. does it all, and so seamlessly! How do you manage it all with such a cohesive brand vision? What’s ahead in 2020?
As the brand has grown and evolved so has our team! I can't stress enough how important it is to have the right people place and strong leadership. We continue to try new things and evolve brand strategy based on long term goals. We have edited out more of the service-based offerings (residential interiors) to focus on our lifestyle brand goals. We continue to evolve, based on long term growth, what our audience wants, and what feels right for the brand. I think the visual thread that runs through everything that we do is our love of color and pattern and design that brings joy. We are always thinking about what connects our community of smart, passionate, and creative women.
Our Creative Director, Liz, so enjoyed her experience at Creative Camp and was so honored to be included as a panelist alongside so many inspiring women. Tell us more about your vision for the future of Creative Camp.
We were beyond thrilled to have Liz with us! Creative Camp has been such an exciting adventure and we could have never predicted the enthusiasm around our customer's desire to connect and be inspired by other female entrepreneurs and creatives. Drum roll please.... we are thrilled to announce the March launch of Creative Club, an online social and leadership platform.
We love the bold color combinations you selected for your Weezie towels (including P+P’s signature “howdy” in Periwinkle thread on tangerine, and a green starter pack!) What tips do you have for those looking to experiment with color?
We're subscribers to the "color makes you happy" theory! So if you love a color, you pretty much can't go wrong! But we also reference any wallpaper or art color combos to help guide towel color palette.
Though our wallets might tell us otherwise, we love all of your picks and round-ups on Instagram. You have us wondering...what’s top of your wish list at the moment?
I'm currently obsessed with Mainly Baskets and dreaming of tackling our garden folly renovation! We’re hoping to fill it with their beautiful new scalloped wicker collection and cover everything in one statement pattern fabric. Also, I always love to add a few vintage classics to the mix - currently hunting for the perfect Chanel bag (in a great color of course) and if I win the lottery, I'd treat myself to a gold Elsa Peretti cuff!
How do you make sure you are enjoying the stay on the daily?
We finally invested in a great professional coffee maker! We have the Breville Oracle Touch Espresso Machine and it’s been a total game changer!
And, I finally decided to stop saving our pretty tablecloths and linen napkins for special occasions - I just throw them in the wash and don't worry about using them wrinkled!
What's one piece of advice you would give your younger self?
Start your dream job or company ASAP. Time passes far too quickly!
What fun projects do you have coming up?
Collaboration with Anthropologie this holiday and the launch of the P+P Creative Club in the spring!
Choose 1 of each:
- Bubble bath or shower? Shower! (2020 GOAL IS MORE TIME FOR BATHS)
- Wallpaper or paint? Wallpaper
- Towel bar or hook? Hook
- Long or short robe? Long in winter, short in summer!
Your towel time is:
- Quick no-nonsense / long and lingering
- With music / in peaceful silence
- With cell phone / with a book (Always multitasking with phone or computer for work!!)
- Morning / evening
- Face mask / clean face
Towels: Green piped hand towels, Weezie Towels
embroidery selections: Prince with green thread
Wallpaper: Schumacher, Citrus Garden
Door paint color: Sherwin Williams, Tri-Corn Black
Garden stool: Vintage find!
Artwork: Another vintage find!
Ceiling lampshade: Trade form ADAC
Nail color: OPI Cajun Shrimp