MS: What was your pivotal moment in life that made you take this direction?
EM: It was more of a series of failures that led me to where I am. After college I started taking styled photos of food. I became
MS: What made you want to be what you are now?
EM: I always knew I was drawn to beauty and creating a beautiful life in all aspects. It felt important to me for it to have meaningful depth to it as well. I would see inspiring creative people making things - anything from painting, music, cooking, interior design, paper making, wood working, gardening, anything, and completely swooning over craftsmanship. I always appreciated people who transparently shared their realities of unglamorous parts of the job as well. Those people I looked up to sparked my passion and was what sent me the direction I’m in now.
obsessed with styling props, textures, layers, lighting, and the mood that is evoked with a certain combination of these elements. This experimentation of materials translated well with lifestyle photography including home decor, beauty products, clothing, and people. I took jobs or projects that were new to me and slowly figured out how I work best and where my work really stands out.
MS: How did you get started/where did you begin?
EM: After college I felt pressure to pursue illustration which is what I studied in college. I fell in love with the camera during my last year of school and I felt immense guilt that I wanted to do anything other than oil painting. I eventually shook that guilt over time and really dove into styling and photography. I felt that it was faster for me to create imagery with styling and a camera but I still wanted to incorporate the artfulness of painting with my work.
MS: What are your favorite parts about what you do?
EM: I love sourcing vintage items. It feels like a challenge to find vintage items, discover what it is, who made it, and in what time period of history. It saves a lot of resources buying second hand instead of buying manufactured new items, it feels like a win-win. I also love using these found items that are so full of character as tools to fulfill my bigger vision of creating a brand experience. It’s so fulfilling to see everything come together and “sing”. They can unexpectedly compliment each other and create such a unique vibe, they almost harmonize together if that makes sense.
MS: What are your short-term and/or long-term goals at the moment?
EM: Personally I am in the middle of a transition from Colorado to the east coast, so I am hoping to get settled into a new home that's essentially across the country from where I am now and then dive into my work. I’m looking to implement some changes to my business and hopefully find a working space to really ramp up!
MS: Do you have advice for people interested in the same field?
EM: You may not turn many peoples heads at first. Meaning you might not be the best and having others want to work with you right away. More people starting out might want the instant gratification, but really it can take years to find your style, study techniques, and start being noticed for your work. Also, resist the urge to copy and rip off other artists. It can be challenging to think up ideas at times but it’s not okay to flat out take someone else's idea. There’s a very big difference between being influenced and inspired by others versus copying someone's original work.
MS: What is something(s) you wish you knew in the beginning?
EM: There is no linear path, you really have to trust your intuition even when you have no idea where this road you’re going down is going to take you. One person's journey is going to look completely different from your own even if they’re in the same industry. You have to trust your gut and remain confident in your abilities.
MS: Who/what are your biggest inspirations and why?
EM: My mother is my first inspiration, she is an incredibly passionate and fiery person. She’s a spunky lady with a zest for life, she won’t admit it but she’ll put off a little responsibility to really indulge and enjoy her life. She’s the kind of person that will stay up into the small hours of the night if you need her. I don’t know too many other people who give so much of themselves and I wouldn’t be who I am without her.
Creatively I have a few favorites. I love Athena Calderone, Courtney Halverson, Christie Tyler, Alex Noiret, and Madeline Furlong to name a few. A lot of these women are influencers but I am in complete awe of their genuinity, creativity, and how articulate they are with their online presence. It’s so inspiring that they have a method for how they conduct business, but they don’t sacrifice any sincerity and artfulness in the process.
MS: What is your favorite food/drink-related memory?
EM: My best friend and I first really started hanging out in 2016 and I call it the summer of indulgence. We drank cocktails and devoured fresh caprese salads most days and laughed until our bellies ached and were full. It was a time of our lives where we stayed up late and reveled in the fresh summer foods with good company and live music. I won’t ever forget that community of people and sense of freedom we cultivated around food, drinks, and music.
MS: What is your favorite quote(s) and why?
EM: “There is nothing wrong with the love of beauty. But beauty - unless she is wed to something more meaningful - is alway superficial.” - Donna Tartt
This quote is my personal favorite right now. It allows me to feel validated with my deep love of aesthetically beautiful things without being connotated to something superficial or shallow. I personally look at beauty, design, fashion, art, and decor as an expression and a story. It has an energy that makes you feel something when you’re surrounded by it, and that’s important.
MS: What is your favorite meal and/or drink to share?
EM: Any and all pasta dishes, bread, salads, cheeses, paired with a lovely red wine is *chef’s kiss*.
MS: What is your ideal day in the work life?
EM: I’d go out sourcing for the morning and pick up some new vintage items. I’d ideally want to import and log all these new items, but you said ideal day so maybe I’d have someone else do that, ha! Same goes to order fulfillment for the shop. I’d get some new mood boards made up for future campaigns and get inspired. What I’d love to wrap up the day doing is shooting in a desert location with some new inventory. I style, shoot, and model all my own shoots right now so in an ideal situation I’d have a few other bodies on set to assist with the creation process. Hopefully in the near future!
MS: What is your ideal non-work day?
EM: Somewhat close to my ideal work day! I absolutely love sourcing so I’d probably go out hunting for my personal projects and my home. I’d definitely get outside for a hike with my dog and Alex and get some exercise in. A happy hour is a definite must on an ideal non-work day with a few friends. Some personal shoots are always welcomed on my days free of work as well, I just love when inspiration strikes and I have a vision that I need to create!
MS: What are some things that keep you going?
EM: Humor and finding ways to stay grounded. Lately with the way the world has been going my anxiety spikes a lot easier than it ever has so finding some lightheartedness is incredibly important. I have been trying to eat healthier to help regulate my body, stay healthy, and keep myself calm and cared for. Taking moments through the day to remind myself to breathe deep has been so helpful too.
MS: How do you approach a work life balance?
EM: I may not be the best person to ask, ha! I definitely integrate the two of these things since my hobbies are also what I work on building with my shop. While I do integrate the two of these things a lot, I will take time to only focus on what I need at that moment if something comes up. Which means if I have to step away from anything I’m working on to take a personal hour or even a day, I will do what I can to honor that need for space.
MS: What is something you wish people learned or knew more about in your industry?
EM: It takes a lot of time to create high quality work! It's many years of learning, building your collection of tools, finding your style, studying lighting, compositions, color theory, and then experimenting with all this knowledge.
MS: What does supporting local mean to you?
EM: It really means that you care about your community that you live in. You’re putting money back into your community and supporting the other people who call it home. It means we’re supporting character rather than the commercial world we live in, which often only cares about your money. Small business generally prioritize taking care of their customers and I think that’s something worth supporting.
MS: Do you have advice or encouragement for ways to support local?
EM: Visit your local farmers markets, stop by small businesses around town, if you can buy something locally instead of on Amazon, do that when you can. If you have a tight budget you can find ways to support them online for free. You can share their content, sales, and announcements and recommend their product or services to your community.
MS: Is there anything you wish to add?
EM: Be gentle toward yourself, I am such a big advocate of self-care and that goes beyond skincare routines you see online. Get rest, take breaks, eat some nutritious foods when you can, walk, call your family or friends who are essentially family, ask for help when you need it, and try to do at least one thing a day that makes you happy. It’s harder to take care of others until you take care of yourself first.
MS: What is your favorite song and why?
EM: This is the world's most difficult question so I will tell you my favorite album. Astral Weeks by Van Morison is such a timeless, beautiful work of poetry. His lyrics and dreamy instrumentals are heavenly to me. Every time Sweet Thing or Madame George comes on I feel myself getting swept away mentally to somewhere nostalgic and sweet.
MS: What is your favorite location and why?
EM: I’m so grateful to have a few happy places. My first love is actually Connecticut in the summertime. I love taking walks by the Farmington river, having picnics in tall grass fields full of wildflowers at sunset, and hiking through the lush woods of the east. It’s where I learned to love being alone and how to ground myself. My newest love is Gateway, Colorado. I have fallen in love with canyons since moving out west, they’re such impressive rock formations and hold so much beauty. They’re my favorite way to enjoy the desert since they almost always have rivers that flow through them. Having a body of water around is helpful when it’s hot and the sun is relentless. Really though I think my happy place is wherever there aren’t any people!
There is no linear path, you really have to trust your intuition even when you have no idea where this road you’re going down is going to take you. One person's journey is going to look completely different from your own even if they’re in the same industry. You have to trust your gut and remain confident in your abilities.
It takes a lot of time to create high quality work! It's many years of learning, building your collection of tools, finding your style, studying lighting, compositions, color theory, and then experimenting with all this knowledge.
(stunning imagery captured by erin, herself.)
to learn more about erin and her artwork or to visit her online vintage shop check out her instagram accounts: @erinlynnmiles / @cypresseyes or her website at: www.cypresseyes.com