Molly Babineaux of Loomed Shares Her Favorite NOLA Makers
Photo by Jeremy & Christi Barnes of Woven Magazine
Taken by a strong case of wanderlust and the need for “some adventure before growing up too much,” former high school teacher Molly Babineaux packed up her life in New Orleans and headed to Istanbul. For Molly and travel buddy (hubby) Paul, that meant letting go of planning and worrying. Instead, they waited to see what the universe sent their way. Que sera, sera. “We weren’t looking for new careers necessarily, but I had this feeling that something would materialize, she explains. Just months later, while shopping for gifts to send home, she found that something: Turkish towels. “We discovered a shop that only sold hand-woven, organic textiles. One visit, and we were hooked! I knew I wanted to bring them to the US.”
A lot of hard work and learning later, she was back in New Orleans, selling traditional Turkish textiles under her company Loomed. Now, Molly and shop pup Alice can be found at the Loomed shop in the hip Garden District—a dreamy, airy space lined with stacks and stacks of colorful throws, hand towels, scarves and more. Here, she shares her thoughts on her NOLA as well as a few of her favorite local makers.
Photo courtesy of Loomed
You’re originally from Louisiana, right? Does that influence your design sensibility, or influence Loomed?
WelI, I’m from Louisiana by way of Mississippi. My family and I moved to New Orleans when I was 10, so I think I can claim being a New Orleanian now! Being the daughter of a craftsman and artist (my mother) probably influenced me more than geography. Clay, wax, paint, metal, rope, canvas, and fabric always littered our home, and I kind of fell in love with them. I liked the raw materials maybe even more than the final product. Today, I love pieces that are as close as possible to their natural state: concrete countertops, wooden tables, well made leather bag, hand-woven textiles. I like to see and smell and feel what the thing I’m holding is made of. The Turkish textiles spoke to me in that same way—you can feel how they’re made of cotton. You can see how the threads are woven together. Real cotton and silk even has a specific smell!
Photo by @loomednola
You’re part of a nice design community in New Orleans… How do you all work together to support each other?
Such a wonderful group! The amazing local collection of designers and entrepreneurs came as a welcome and unexpected bonus to starting Loomed in New Orleans. I have to give it up for Instagram: I found people and people found me, and I’ve really connected with folks I’ve met on it. It’s been Loomed’s greatest marketing tool. We live in a visual age, and it’s a simple but powerful way to connect with people through images.
As I mentioned earlier, starting a business can feel isolating, so when I found people that I liked and respected, I started asking for feedback and advice. From there, I built relationships with other designers and entrepreneurs, and when I feel invested in someone’s work, I want to see them succeed and I think the same is true for them. So when customers or writers ask for recommendations, I point them to people I know who are working hard and doing great things. Good people doing cool things will always be the backbone behind a community.
Krewe du Optic's NOLA flagship store, photo courtesy of Krewe du Optic
Are there any New Orleans-based designers that you’re really excited about?
Lilah Jurgens of Portico Aesthetics is making some really cool pieces from antique coins and porcelain reliefs. Her stuff is beautiful and modern and historical, and reflects how New Orleans can bring all those elements together.
Stirling Barrett of Krewe du Optic has done a great job making sunglasses fresh and exciting and reflective of New Orleans culture.
Frances Rodriguez is a painter and textile artist whose work I absolutely love! My husband and I recently commissioned a piece from her and I cannot wait to see how it turned out. Her use of color and texture continually blows my mind!