Face Time: Sonali Bloom

sonali

Think all fashion e-commerce originates from some warehouse in Brooklyn? Several curated D.C.-based webtiques have popped up lately, including Sonali Bloom’s Curio Road (curioroad.com), a souk of faux-gem earrings, tribal-print scarves and wedding accessories. With her co-founder, Michael Segal, she curates a selection of well-priced goods, most of them designed and made in the United States.

Are people surprised that a fashion company is D.C.-based?
Some people do ask, “Why D.C.?” But I think it’s an incredible city. There’s a huge market for creative young professionals.

What’s the philosophy behind Curio Road?
Everything is either made in the U.S. or designed in the U.S. and manufactured under fair-trade standards abroad. It’s important to me to support homegrown businesses. There’s just so much going overseas, that it’s exciting to tap into the market here in the U.S.

Why create an e-commerce site instead of a brick-and-mortar shop?
What’s great about e-commerce is it opens up a vast world. You can really find what you’re looking for. But a site like ours focuses on navigating that — we determine whether something is soft enough, sparkly enough or good quality — so then customers can be comfortable buying from us.

How do you find these jewelry-makers, scarf-weavers and other fashion-y crafters?
I spend a lot of time at trade shows and craft fairs. Plus, I scour Etsy and spend a lot of time on Pinterest trying to figure out if items are good for our customers.

Who is the woman Curio Road is aimed at?
A creative woman between 28 and 35, but we’re getting a demographic that is broader than that.

What do you wish all women would do with their wardrobes?
I hope they don’t follow trends. We’re trying to convey that style is really about having good taste and being who you are. That means finding pieces you love and incorporating them into your everyday style.

Curio Road also just launched a broad wedding accessories section. Why?
My group of close friends and family members was starting to get engaged and married. The thing that kept coming up was how hard it was to hunt down inspired wedding products — paper flower garlands, affordable jewelry. And many of our items can be customized, which makes them special.

You’re also a big DIYer. What kind of projects do you like to do?
I’ve dabbled in just about everything, but photography is my main thing. It sucks you in. And I’m a terrible cook, so I try to make things like scarves. I made my boyfriend one for Christmas, but it took forever.

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The Manolo · August 9, 2013