During this new, not-so-normal normal, how does a business owner navigate creativity, deadlines, parenting and Zoom calls? Los Angeles-based design studio Bend Goods pressed those questions and more to A+R co-founder Rose (here with the brand's signature Lucy Chair and Cono Table and her and Andy's daughter Nina), in its most recent spotlight.
Bend Goods: What is your favorite part about being a mom?
Rose Apodaca: Watching my daughter express herself—whether it’s in conversation, writing, dance or creating a world. It may be inspired, or it may be silly, but the agency in that expression is a wondrous thing. Parenting requires consistent active engagement. What we do not only teaches but influences, so it’s critical to always lead by example. When your kiddo naturally navigates the world in ways thrilling and mundane that reflects that you’ve done your job, it makes being a mom, a parent, that much more worth weathering the not-so-pleasant moments (and those, too, are a part of life!).
BG: How do you inspire creativity and imagination in your home?
RA: By remaining engaged and nimble. Creativity is not just about sitting down with a bunch of art supplies. It’s also subtly getting your kid to answer “why,” to nudging them to be more articulate and independent—whether it’s the kind of blue they are describing or how they might customize lunch. Reading is central to Andy and my lives, and Nina spends hours a day reading everything from comics to novels. Giving her the space to do her thing, whatever craziness that might be from one day to the next, is also so vital—as is providing your full attention (as in put the screen aside!) when she wants to share something.
BG: What do you wish you could’ve told yourself at 25 years old?
RA: At 25 or any age, I could’ve told myself a load of insight. But would I have heeded the advice?
Life is too short and too rich to live with regrets.
BG: Which song always gets you motivated to work on a project?
RA: To get me going, I never tire of “Los Angeles” by X; “Spanish Flea” by Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass; and “Up For The Downstroke” by Parliament. Turn them up to 11.
BG: Any design trends you never want to see again? Both interior and fashion alike.
RA: In terms of residential interiors, the greige “minimalism” that suggests a hotel or hotel bathrooms. Who wants to live in such a bland hotel room? Fashion-wise, the list is too long. But I will say that I loathe any looks that don’t regard the circumstances, whether it’s arriving to work in ripped jeans and dirty sneakers; showing up to a party in a look better suited to cleaning the garage; or appearing on a Zoom call with bedhead and pajamas.
I’m busier than ever during this time—very hands on with A+R; writing and creative directing a fashion book; plugging in throughout the day with a fourth grader; and so on. I still manage the 90 seconds it takes to put on a pair of earrings and swipe on red lipstick before that Zoom or FaceTime call.
Rose and Dita Von Teese, at an event late last year, are hard at work on their second book together now.
BG: You’ve written a few books in the past. Do you have anything in the works? If not, what would you like to write about next?
RA: All my books are connected to my other career as a fashion-beauty journalist and editor, which might be why I’m such a maniac about not only writing but creative directing the book. I left my gig as west coast bureau chief for fashion industry bible WWD in Spring 2006, four months after starting A+R with my then-boyfriend Andy (we married in 2007). But I also left that gig because I’d already started my first book, a guide to style with Rachel Zoe. It was just before the celebrity stylist blew up, and the book hit number 13 on The New York Times Best Seller list.
An eight-pound bio on the godfather of Rodeo Drive, Fred Hayman, followed, which also is a history on red carpet style, the fragrance industry and Beverly Hills.
I made The NYT list again with my third book, Your Beauty Mark: The Ultimate Guide to Eccentric Glamour, with neo-burlesque and fashion icon Dita Von Teese. This time number 2 on that list!
Dita and I have been pals for 3 decades now, and based on that and the success of the last book, which is now in 5 languages including Mandarin, we are working on a companion book, Fashioning the Femme Totale. It’s all about fashion, a guide and history book like the last one, and choc-a-block with gorgeous portraits.
BG: What are you most proud of accomplishing in the last 20 years?
RA: I’ll be 52 on May 24, so the last 2 decades include reaching a career goal as bureau chief of the fashion world’s bible and all the landmark initiatives I achieved there; co-owning 3 bars in Hollywood and 1 in Vegas; teaching and mentoring hundreds of motivated college students in writing, fashion and design; staging museum shows showcasing some of the most talented designers anywhere; starting A+R on a shoestring with a partner that I would marry; writing and creative directing books I love working on; rebuilding a house, inside and out; cultivating rich friendships; and staying committed to the grueling adoption process for 5 long years to become a mother to the most incredible child.
So, ultimately, I’m most proud of sticking to my guns and not giving up on what I put mind to—no matter how risky, exhausting, frustrating or challenging.
BG: Do you have any advice for a young creative just getting started? How about for someone who's been in the game for a long time?
RA: Do your homework. Put the hours in. Welcome input, but don’t be disenchanted by it. Distinguish yourself with high standards—including ethical standards. Send thank-you notes. Always strive for quality, originality, beauty and FUN!