Behind the name The Violet Orange, are two creative and active little kids, and their lovingly scatterbrained mother—that would be me, Erin. I am the brains and the vision behind The Violet Orange. I am the sole maker, sewist, artistic director, accountant, webmaster…the everything that a small business owner is. Like many of us, I couldn’t do what I do without my cheerleaders, fans, customers, and my amazing network of family and friends who have stood beside me, kept me on course, and provided feedback along the way. I hold so much gratitude for all of you, no matter how big or small your contribution has been. It means the world to this small business owner. And a huge thank you to my two littlest associates and playmates whom I dragged to the stores and who sat on my lap while I learned to sew and grew my business in heart and spirit; thank you to my daughters.
Before I started The Violet Orange, my husband and I had just switched family roles—I left my professional career to stay home with the kids and he left his role as a stay-at-home-dad to return to his studio and professorial status. Our son was starting kindergarten that year, one daughter began preschool, and the other was still scooting around in diapers. Since I’m the type of person who likes to keep busy even in my downtime, I took out the sewing machine my mom gave me when I moved back East and taught myself how to sew. To be perfectly honest, I didn’t totally teach myself. I also peeled back memories of junior high Home Ec class (yes, I am that old), and FaceTimed with my mom who would yell at me to be quiet and listen to her while I swore like a sailor trying to get my machine to do what I wanted it to do. It wasn’t long before I had the knack of it. I made a few items worthy enough to give away: kids’ capes became birthday presents, napkins became housewarming presents, table runners turned into great silent auction items for my daughters’ preschool, and a few sundresses were decent enough to wear in public. People I gave presents to began asking where they could find more to buy for their family and friends. One person asking became dozens, and led to the idea that I could actually do this for a job. And just like the Greek goddess Athena who was birthed from her father’s head, my business was born. While the idea was pretty clear in the beginning, the name was not. So, I looked where any stay-at-home-parent looks for answers: to my children.
I decided that my business would need to hold the whimsy of my products. It needed to be colorful, playful, and bold. I decided that since most of my products were reversible, but still held the unity of a single object, that I wanted the name of my business to hold the same story. If I could create a name out of at least two of my kids’ favorite colors that made a single object, that was what I wanted. It connected me to the origins of choosing to be home with them, to my products that (at that time) had two sides, and the whimsical designs of what I was making. My son’s favorite color has always been red. I love red. It is a powerful, elegant, and brave color. It is bold, but not necessarily in the sense that I was looking for. My daughters’ favorite colors (at the time) were orange and violet. Both of these colors are playful, happy, and strong. To add to that, each of them is a noun as well as an adjective. While an orange violet is beautiful, a violet orange seemed more whimsical. And so, it stuck. The Violet Orange.