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February 28, 2020 #MINNAatHome

#MINNAatHome : People We Love — Leah D'Ambrosio

The next person in our #MINNAatHome journal series is Leah D'Ambrosio of MINNA favorite, Wol Hide. We love the way self described "homebody" Leah's personal aesthetic informs her work and personal spaces, and we're so happy to be a part of her home.

How would you describe your design process? 
I start with the materials and stitch development. Not necessarily, at the beginning of each season but it’s something I’m always researching and putting time into when there is time! I usually go through pictures I’ve taken over the past couple of months of random things, details in nature, travel if I’m lucky and find textures and colors I want to work with. Then I work on putting these into silhouettes, which I keep fairly consistent season to season. I want the pieces to be easy to wear and something that you’ll still be excited to put on years after you purchase it.

How did you get started with Wol Hide?
It took me a long time to get started. I always knew that I wanted to work for myself in some way or own a small business. I worked for a small handknit sweater brand which got me interested in knitting, I then went back to school for knit textile design. I worked a few jobs after this all while knitting on the side and slowly started the business. In the beginning, I was doing local markets, selling to a couple local boutiques and making everything myself! Then, I was able to find factories I liked, got the production set up and was able to start selling wholesale. I also teamed up with my sales rep, Ada and we did our first wholesale trade show for Fall 2016.

What are three words to describe your aesthetic?
Easy, natural, layered

At MINNA we believe in creating beautiful, ethically made products and using business to do good - how do these concepts relate to or inspire your business?
That basic idea is what inspired me to start Wol Hide. After college, I worked for a large company and was really discouraged by the way business was done, the waste that was created and the production practices. It took me a while after that but I knew that business could be successful and ethically run. I say that I run my business with a holistic approach. To me this means that I care about all aspects of the supply chain and the affect each element has on the planet, the workers involved and the wearer. It’s an idea that I’m always striving to improve and hoping that I can put more time and energy into this year.

What about your home makes it feel like home? What is a favorite memory of yours in your home?
My husband and I bought our house about 3 years ago and it was almost in foreclosure, it’s almost 100 years old and was a total mess but we saw the beauty in it. We spent about 4-6 months working on it non stop until we moved in (we’re still working on it, btw) but I think going through that process really makes it feel like it’s our home. We put a lot of blood sweat and tears into it. We’re pretty picky about what we buy and where our stuff comes from, so being able to have this space we love that’s filled with meaningful pieces that we’ve purchased over the years traveling or just searching for something - that truly makes it feel like home. Thinking about those months working on the house sometimes makes me cringe but it’s been long enough now that I think it’s also a favorite memory. Other favorite memories are just having big groups of family and friends over and cooking for everyone. 
What's the best piece of advice you've ever received?
It’s hard to think of just one. My dad gives me a lot of advice, usually to talk me through a tough time or complicated decision. It’s typically along the lines of staying true to myself, trusting my instincts, finding the lessons in my mistakes and understanding that life doesn’t always have to go the way you (or others) think it should go.