Interview with Grace Atwood, Founder of The Stripe

After just under 10 years working in the beauty industry, Grace Atwood needed an outlet for her creativity. Cue the beginning of her blog, The Stripe. Begun anonymously, the blog took off in 2010 and has been one of Pam's favorite reads since. The blog is really a compilation of all the things Grace loves most: good books, beauty products that actually work, designers that inspire her, travel, personal style, and more. 

Read on to learn more about the inspired professional and personal journey of Grace Atwood. She shares what's inspiring her right now, her favorite travel traditions, and just how she'll be styling her Pamela Munson bags this holiday season.

Tell us about your blog, The Stripe, and career trajectory. 

Ooh, buckle up - it’s a long one! I am 40, so I’ve had lots of past lives prior to starting my blogging/influencing career. I went to Bentley University where I was a finance major (!!). When I graduated in 2003, I went to work for Filene’s (now defunct), where I was the assistant buyer of women’s fragrances. After 3.5 years there, our parent company was acquired and so I made a career switch - going to work for one of my vendors (a fragrance company that had been acquired by Procter & Gamble). I spent another 5 years working in beauty marketing (first at P&G, then at Coty. I worked on several fragrance brands and then on Sally Hansen nail color. I loved the beauty industry and I loved marketing but I felt a bit unfulfilled and  needed a creative outlet.

Toward the end of my time in the beauty industry, I found myself feeling creatively unfulfilled and a little burnt out (this was 2010) and so I started my blog. At first I kept it anonymous - I was terrified of anyone at work finding out! The blog (even anonymously) was starting to gain traction and actually led me to a new role in 2011: BaubleBar (at the time a tiny startup) offered me a job, running their social media (and by default, influencer marketing as back then, influencer marketing wasn’t much of a thing just yet). I stayed there for four years and then in 2015 left to run my blog full time.

My blog is really a compilation of all the things I love most: good books, beauty products that actually WORK, designers (like Pam!) that inspire me, travel, personal style, and more. It’s constantly evolving based on whatever thing I am into at the time but I’d say the theme is books, beauty, and my favorite things!

What inspires you?  Many of Pam’s designs are inspired by childhood travel memories and time with her family, do you have a go-to source of inspiration?

There are so many things inspiring me. Art is really important to me. I would call myself a budding collector and there are a few artists I collect that inspire me in particular: Hunt Slonem, Sam Jablon, Michelle Armas, and Catherine Howe. Anytime I am back in New York I am museum/gallery hopping to take in as much as I can see, and Charleston actually has a really inspiring gallery scene.

I also take a lot of inspiration from being out in nature. The ocean, especially. I grew up on Cape Cod so the beach is definitely a favorite place and where I do some of my best thinking. Also: old movies (currently working my way through the AFI 100 list) and books. I am a big reader.

Lastly, just being out in the world and TRAVEL. I was just in Vienna and found so much inspiration just wandering the streets, seeing what the women there were wearing, doing a bit of site seeing (Schonbrunn Palace was just WHOA in terms of inspiration). I think inspiration is everywhere - you just have to be open to it.

Do you have any treasured travel memories with your family? Or destinations you keep going back to? Where do you go and what is one of your favorite memories?

To be honest, we did not travel a lot as a kid - growing up, my parents ran a restaurant on Cape Cod which kept them very busy… it was hard to get away! One  place we went to twice was St. John. We stayed in these amazing treehouse like tents at a place called Maho Bay. It was such a special place - really just tucked away from the world. I’d love to go back someday. That being said, my most treasured memories were from Cape Cod. And now we (including my parents) have all moved away so we try to go back every year.

Can you share with us one of your family travel traditions?  What puts you at ease and ready to relax?

I think it’s that annual trip home to Cape Cod. Being by the ocean brings me so much peace. There is nothing better than a long walk by the water… or sitting down and reading s good book with the sound of the waves in the background.

We have to ask: what’s in your bag?  Tell us about your everyday essentials in your Pamela Munson bag. 

There are three things I always have. Gum or mints, a hair tie, and lip balm. Right now my favorite lip balm is the Kosas Sport one. I also have my keys, my phone, my Airpods, a red quilted Chanel Wallet that I bought on The RealReal ages ago, and my favorite $15 sunglasses from Amazon as I cannot be trusted with sunglasses. I lose them all - but never the inexpensive ones! I also like to keep a bright lipstick (NARS Heat Wave is my tried & true favorite) and a pair of fun earrings on hand just in case the day gets away from me and I wind up at drinks. Lastly, a book! I am a total bookworm so like to carry a book with me to read in case I have to wait around. Better that than being on your phone!

How has your style changed over the years? Especially from living in NYC, to now being in Charleston?

I think it’s gotten simpler. I still love a statement accessory but I tend to keep things simple. I wear a lot of dresses, and love a good blazer and a great pair of jeans. I don’t think my style has changed too much since moving to Charleston but the weather is MUCH warmer here… this summer was so hot that I pretty much exclusively wore flowy smocked dresses and kaftans… learning to look put together in a hot, humid climate is a skill I’m still trying to master!

You have impeccable taste with the most refined eye.  What is your favorite style from our Resort '22 Collection? 

It’s so hard to say but I think it would have to be the lady bag in emerald green. The combination of my favorite color + wicker basket is just so good. It feels like the perfect mash up of city + beach (which is what I always say I love about Charleston - you can be downtown and get to the beach in 20 minutes. My runner up favorite is the La Fleur Fringe which is just the perfect little minaudiere! So elegant and CHIC! 

Straw isn’t solely reserved for summer or beach getaways – how will you be styling your Pamela Munson handbag for the holiday season

I’m actually going to take some  inspiration from Pam here. Just like she designed the lady bag with a rich jewel tone leather combined with wicker, it made me realize that straw can go great with jewel tones. I love my La Fleur with rich jewel tone hues (emerald green being my personal favorite) and cozy cashmere or velvet. And I was shocked how well my yellow gingham Gardner tote looked with this fun fall dress from La Double J. I think you just have to mix and match and see what happens. Sometimes you will surprise yourself!

If you could take your new Pamela Munson handbag anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?

Ooh I love this question. Right now I’m really craving a trip back to Europe… London and Paris, and then maybe somewhere new to me. I was just in Vienna for work (it was amazing) and would really love to get to Prague.

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