A day in the life of Liz Gardner is like…
I always stay up waaaay too late. So my day starts with a lot of coffee. Which Josef always makes because he is awesome. A few snuggles with Aggie, a few moments to acknowledge and be grateful for my life and then I’m up but probably not at ‘em. HA. Let’s be honest, the next few hours include a lot of screen time: Instagram, emails and general internet time. My most productive time during business hours is between 2pm-6pm so I tend to fall offline during those times and focus on whatever deliverables are on my to-do list. We love hosting and we tend to have people over to our place nearly everyday — sometimes it’s the construction crew who is working on our renovation or our neighbors who were walking their dog. Good conversations are such a part of our ethos at Bodega and the way that Josef and I live, we work really hard to foster them. There’s always a phase two to the work day for me, which usually means staying up and reading, researching, or collecting my thoughts. This has always been a late night activity. When the world is quiet, I can finally hear so I am just so happy that my life allows for me to follow those innate rhythms.
What is the best part of your job?
I watched an interview with Faye Toogood, an artist + designer that I really admire, and she talked about how she spent all of her childhood arranging and rearranging things in her bedroom. She was ecstatic as an adult when she realized that could be her job. I feel similarly — a lot of my job is creating visual direction, stories, tableaus, spaces which were all things I did for fun as a young person. I think that’s the best part of my job! It’s also a great insulation against questions like “How can you be a designer + a stylist + interior designer, etc. etc. etc.? Shouldn’t you just pick one?” My response tends to be “How can I choose? This isn’t what I do — this is who I am”.
What has been the biggest “aha” moment in your career so far?
Life is a lot like decorating a space, if you fill it with things you love, it will all make sense. (eventually).
Along the way, you’ve probably had many people impart bits of advice upon you. What insight has left a lasting impression on you?
I feel really grateful that I have some amazing people in my life. I had a professor, Patrick Faricy, who really encouraged me to lean into my point of view. The “nerdy-creative-from-a-rural-logging-family-who’s-obsessed-with-magazines” wasn’t really “a thing” but he listened to my vision for my career and life and encouraged me from day one to carve out something that didn’t necessarily exist. Dan Wallace has been someone who infuses my life with a connection between the intangible and the tangible. His ideas are so big. From working with him, I learned how to use conversation within a team in a productive way to move an idea forward. No meeting is a waste! Did you know that if you walk while you talk, parts of your brain are activated that increase the firing of your synapses and therefore create better ideas? Yeah, I didn’t either, until I met Dan. Lastly, my parents are entrepreneurs. They’ve run a successful business my whole life and work extremely hard. I think a key thing I learned from them is about what you do when you’re tired. It usually involves pushing a little bit more.
Who or what inspires you most?
I am inspired by people who are able to take their life experiences and turn them into a unique point of view. There’s a lot of derivative work that comes from looking outside of yourself for inspiration vs. going inward and synthesizing the collection of things you have seen, smelled, tasted and been moved by. A really good example of this is the designer Jacquemus. I am obsessed with his story and work. He says, “Everyone thinks that because you’re from a farmer family you don’t get fashion or beauty. Farmers are the most poetic people, obsessed with beauty. My father had a band and would dress up in the evenings, for his performances, wearing these amazing big boots and singing rock. My mother was into decoration, she was obsessed with doing everything by hand, from the curtains to the furniture, everything in our house was made by her.” I read that and was like “man, he just said what I have been feeling my entire life”.
Do you have any words of wisdom for those who aspire to be a future #32under32 winner?
I think I will stick with my original quote from when I won a few years ago: “You have the same number of hours in a day as Beyonce”!
We hope you’ll join Liz at the #32under32 Awards at the Varsity Theater on May 17, 2018.