Clay Buddies: Taylor Renn
Hi, Taylor! Will you tell us what you do here at East Fork?
I am the retail buyer, I’ve only been here for about 4 months but it's so fun! I assort and curate everything that East Fork sells that’s not their pottery.
I divide my job into three categories: Storytelling - creating a collection that tells the story that marketing has created to the line with the glaze or season. Financial - very much sales analysis oriented. Logistical - making sure that everything gets here in time and for it to be photographed, communicated and transported to stores, etc.
It’s really fun because it employs both sides of my brain pretty equally, creative and organizational and analytical.
That’s awesome! It’s like a puzzle putting together these retail assortments.
It is! It's the puzzle of crafting a story but also the details of everything behind it too.
What do you like best about your job?
I feel really lucky to work at East Fork because it’s so aligned with my own aesthetic anyway so being able to create these little worlds every season with the third party items that also reflect East Fork’s values and the general spirit of East Fork is really fun. And that it can be both creative and analytical fuels the things that I need to be creatively and professionally fulfilled so it’s perfect.
What did you do before you came to work here?
So my background is mostly in fashion
I grew up in North Carolina but I moved to New York right after college and I worked on and off in merchandising and production for major American menswear brands - Ralph Lauren, J Crew, and Gap mostly. Most recently I made the switch to homegoods when I was the studio manager and general production manager for a small design studio that’s based out of Brooklyn called Sounds. That was a blast. I think that’s kind of when I decided to keep pursuing the home arena over fashion - which I still love a lot!
I enjoy the slower pace of homegoods over mainstream fashion although it was THE best place to learn financial acumen and just general business sense.
Where are you from originally?
I am from Eastern North Carolina, a small town that's about an hour and a half outside of Raleigh called Franklinton. It used to be a tobacco and textile town, not so much anymore but it's really beautiful and bucolic. I went to NC State, Jefferson and I were actually there at the same time and didn’t know each other!
That’s so funny!
Yeah, I had to learn when I moved to New York, people would ask where I went to school, I would say ‘state’ and they would be like ‘what state?’
I haven’t worked for a company based out of North Carolina since college so I was really excited to work for one close to home.
I currently live in Richmond, Virginia which I love so, so much. I really love being here (in Asheville) and working from the office and meeting everyone in person. I’m usually here once a month.
We hear you’ve had some interesting travels. Can you tell us about your sailing trip?
I definitely can, I married into a family that is a big travel family, it’s like what they do to bond every year as a family so I’m extremely grateful that I get to be a part of that because I didn’t get on a plane until I was maybe 18 but it’s been such a priority for me every year since then. I’ve been lucky to go to some really sick places. My husband grew up in Greece because his godparents live in Santorini. He grew up there and I had never been so last summer we did an 8 day sailing trip where we hung out in Athens for a few days and then we sailed south to Santorini to visit his family over there.
It was such a blast, now… what I did learn is that I’m not made for the seas. I’m not a seafaring lady which was mind blowing to me because I grew up about two hours from the Carolina coast so I’ve fished and been driving a boat since I was little. So I was like ‘I’ve got this, I know the ocean’. Sailing - very different. I was ill this whole trip but it was so assaultingly beautiful like so intensely beautiful that it was worth it.
Oh wow, the highs and the lows.
Yeah! But it was awesome, we sailed with a crew of 2 that were really great friends of Zanders godfather and the boat was called Daphne's smile which was the captain's daughters name and it was just - I forget exactly how long it was but I’ve got pictures! It was funny because it was the two crew members, me zander, his parents, his brother and his sister, so 7 of us and it was awesome.
Was there anything about being there and the lifestyle in Greece that stuck out to you?
Everything about it. What was so great about that trip was that we got to visit islands that you can only get to by boat and there life is pretty limited to that island, so its like old greece, a life that I’d never really seen lived in person - it’s basically my fantasy where you get everywhere by foot or by donkey. Gorgeous white concrete houses, the style that you kind of envision when you picture the movies - very sisterhood of the traveling pants. There’s livestock in the yard, beautiful fig trees - the smells are just intoxicating and amazing. Just a ‘no sense of time’ pace of life, it's so elemental and enjoyable.
What a great way to go on vacation - you’re really removed from the normal day to day that we are all used to.
Yeah! And you don’t have cell service so it's just so pure.
So you’re truly appreciating the place and what it has to offer.
Yes, and great food, of course!
What’s your favorite East Fork glaze?
Oh those would look great together.
Yeah! It’s a very calming combo.
What about a favorite form?
The Coupe - it’s so useful! Once you try it, you use it for everything.
It’s like the grown up version of the everyday bowl!
Yes, you know those french style cappuccinos that come in those big bowls? I did one of those in the ice cream bowl and it was excessive and I don’t have any regrets.
Taylor’s first collection, curated around our current seasonal glaze, Secret Beach, is shoppable online and in our Asheville and Atlanta stores on now. Check out a few of her favorites below!