What is your favorite AK item and why?
I love everything I own from AK....My Criss Cross Sandals were missing one day this summer and I was distraught. My daughter came home from a friend's house and I found them...on her feet. A young AK fan! I also have the Flip Flops in dark brown that I wear nonstop all summer.
My newest item is a dark brown alligator Zip Around Wallet...I get a compliment every time I pull it out of my bag to pay for something. I love to give the Credit Card Cases and Money Clips as gifts...I always get invited back.
I have a big birthday in 2015 and have registered for an AK bag...hope my husband reads this!
What are your top five prized possessions?
My Hunt Slonem painting..sale was brokered by my dear friend Angele Parlange and the best part was going to Hunt's cool studio to pick it out.
A bracelet given to me by my great aunt made from my grandfather's pocket watch chain and my father's key from Charity Hospital in NOLA.
An antique diamond ring given to me by my husband on my 35th birthday.
I have a few treasures from my great aunt and grandmother's travels. I think I love the story behind each item as much as I love the item itself.
A painting by my dear friend Holly Cunningham of an old beach house...it makes me happy every time I look at it.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
From my father...."Never worship at the temple of regret."
Do you have a personal mantra or quote that you tote around with you?
I was extra close to my great aunt who was always kind...to everyone. I try so hard to live like that.
But, my favorite quote came from a 40th birthday card...
"Life should be a journey to the grave not with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, wine in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming, 'WooHoo what a ride'!"
We only get one ride....
Tell us about how you started Josephine & Laurentina?
My dear partner, Cristina Cenci and I started Josephine&Laurentina 6+ years ago. We were both at a crossroads as my husband and I had separated (we re-married last May...a good story!) and Cristina was recovering from breast cancer. We were together in Italy because our sons were attending a soccer camp in Forte dei Marmi. We had both just quit our jobs, mine working for Chris Burch, hers working in journalism for RAI Italy.
I have worked since I was 14 (Baskin Robbins) and knew I had to do something...we toyed with so many ideas...opening a champagne bar on the Upper East Side, making swimsuits/cover ups...but decided luxury items sold privately fit our lifestyles best.
What are your most popular items?
Our cashmere wraps, cashmere hats and fur accessories are our best sellers. Our customers are quite sad, but we have actually decided to take a break. We say we've put out the "Gone Fishing" sign for now. However, we will continue to sell our cashmere travel wraps, hats and fur items as they are extra popular. People buy stacks of our wraps at a time.
How can people buy your things?
Our friends say this is the hardest part...But, now we have a Shopify site where you can buy items here....http://josephine-laurentina.myshopify.com.
What is your background?
I grew up in Tupelo, Mississippi and graduated from Ole Miss. I moved to New York right after graduation and with the exception of six months in Australia and six months in Florence, Italy I haven't left. Aside from Josephine&Laurentina I have always worked for Chris Burch in some capacity. I started out at Eagles Eye with him selling sweaters with pumpkins and Santas...I now help him with marketing at C.Wonder.
You wear many hats as well - tell us about what you do for C Wonder?
I love what I am doing at C.Wonder. I am the Managing Director of the Founder's Club (doesn't that make me sound super fancy?). This means I am responsible for gathering a group of women who will be "influencers" in the communities where we are opening stores. I host a lunch for these ladies and tell them all about C. Wonder and ask them to help spread the word about Chris' fabulous new concept store. I have met the most amazing and inspiring women over the last eight months.
Any advice for working mothers on how you juggle it all?
Keep your sense of humor in tact!
What do you see in the future for Leslie Johnson?
I have such a huge bucket list....I hope I can spend more time traveling, taking advantage of all NYC has to offer and spending time with friends and family.
What are two things that people would never know about you that you want to share?
I know how to Hambone.
I am proud to be a member of the Ole Miss Hall of Fame.
What are your favorite apps on your iPhone or iPad?
What is your favorite undiscovered place?
I love this little restaurant in the West Village called Buvette introduced to me by my friend Heidi. Even though I think it is quite discovered...it has a very undiscovered feel.
Where do you go to escape?
My bathroom for a hot bath!
What are your fashion staples for spring?
I have bought quite a few items from Trademark. A new company started by Pookie and Louisa Burch...two of my favorite girls. Their new collection is fresh and clean and well priced. I am also on the lookout for the perfect white shirtdress as I think that will be my staple for summer.
What are your beauty essentials?
A good sunscreen
Rose Lip Conditioner by AERIN
Blusher by Serge Lutens
Oh and my friend Louise just gave me a yummy new perfume called Rose 31 by Le Labo...it is fabulous.
What trips are on your bucket list?
Tell us about Sunday Suppers at your house.
Every Sunday we host "Sunday Supper" for our young friends/relatives who have recently moved to the city. I have two cousins with daughters here and dear friends with daughters here as well....They are all from the South (Atlanta, Birmingham and Nashville) and all went to different schools (UGA, UVA, W&L and Sewanne). They are super impressive young women.
I look forward to Sunday all week because I LOVE hearing what these cute gals are up to and what is going on in the city for that age group. My 17 year old son rolls his eyes at the questions I ask, but I need to stay current! We always serve a one dish dinner (made in my slow cooker) with a salad and of course dessert that is usually made by my daughter Josephine. We have had such a cold winter so I have tried to cook comfort food...here is my favorite chili recipe...love that it is from Jimmy Fallon.
I would just love to say how much I love my husband and two precious children...I do not know how I got so lucky.
Who is Leslie Johnson and why do we love her?
I first met Leslie when I went to The Ranch over four years ago. When you hear her fabulous Southern accent coming out of this chic New Yorker you are immediately envious! She has a wicked sense of humor and I find her way of life and style inspiring every day.
I wear her cashmere ponchos often and there is not one person who does not comment on how much they love them. In fact, I had a woman comment the other day when I told her that a friend made it, "You should do a Style File on her!".
Leslie is an amazing friend, authentic and genuine - she will never let you leave the house looking bad and will be the first to pick you up, dust you off and make you laugh when you are down. One of the many things I love about her is that she remarried her ex-husband last year and had a fabulous party called "The Sequel." She is a fantastic business woman, mother, wife and friend and I am thrilled to introduce you to her!
Leslie and her husband, Jim, currently reside in NYC where they raise their children, Colin and Josephine.