by Crista Grasso May 10, 2017

With so many of our jewelry designs inspired by Morocco, it seemed fitting to kick off our Summer Interview Series with Barefoot Boheme, a collection of curated Moroccan furnishings for the modern home.

I first discovered Barefoot Boheme on Instagram and immediately fell in love with their beautiful and colorful feed, showcasing a blend of their Moroccan rugs, pillows, and poufs, with behind the scenes photos of their founder's adventures in Morocco.  

I hope you enjoy learning more about their brand and their story.   XO, Crista

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An Interview with Irene Yoon, Founder of Barefoot Boheme

Criscara x Barefoot Boheme - Featured Interview Series

 

Tell us about Barefoot Boheme.   How did you come up with the name (which we absolutely love)?

Thank you! I am so lucky to have a name that perfectly encapsulates myself and my brand. Barefoot Boheme is really, just me. People close to me know that I hate wearing things on my feet! Growing up, we never wore shoes in the house and walking all over a rug with shoes on never made any sense to me. I like to feel the rug beneath my feet, it’s a tactile experience and shoes get in the way of that. The Boheme part comes from my love for travel and the desire to connect people around the world through the vintage and handmade pieces I sell.

Criscara x Barefoot Boheme - Featured Interview Series

   

Why Moroccan furnishings?

The first time I visited Morocco was over the Christmas holiday in 2011 and I was instantly hooked. The artisan culture is pervasive and there is such a strong appreciation for it among visitors and locals. I have always loved mixing modern design with more traditional elements and I found that Morocco as a country accomplishes this to perfection. All over you can see how the architecture and interiors have been shaped by strong cultural and religious traditions. At the same time, Morocco seamlessly integrates contemporary design elements without losing its deeply traditional influences. I also love how distinct Moroccan style is and how versatile it can be depending on which elements you choose to incorporate. The resulting vibe can range from super luxurious to more lived-in and earthy. I love it!

Morocco seamlessly integrates contemporary design elements without losing its deeply traditional influences

Criscara x Barefoot Boheme - Featured Interview Series

   

You must see so many beautiful pieces!  What do you look for when creating a curated collection?

Don’t get me wrong, the feeling I get when I find the perfect piece is amazing! It is one of the best and most satisfying parts of my job. In reality, sourcing rugs can be an overwhelming experience when you’re roaming the crowded souks and have access to endless rugs and vendors. It’s easy to get sucked in and want to buy everything in sight, but there is a lot of variation and there are a few things I tend to focus on. The top three things I pay attention to are quality, color palette, and style. This seems obvious, but you’d be surprised how many piles of rugs I have to dig through before I find one that captures my eye. Also, going back to Moroccan rugs being steeped in tradition, many tend to have tribal motifs and symbols woven in, which is another thing I look for.

Criscara x Barefoot Boheme - Featured Interview Series

   

Tell us about you.  What inspired you to start your own business?

I have always loved going to thrift stores and taking my time to sort through dusty piles of clothes, jewelry, and home goods. The process of digging and the excitement I felt once I discovered something that grabbed my attention made the whole experience feel like a treasure hunt to me. I reveled in the uniqueness of my find and wondered how the previous owner could give up something so special. It was oddly satisfying. It did not occur to me that others did not share my enthusiasm or patience for thrifting. After traveling to Morocco, I loved learning about the cultural and historical significance behind different styles of rugs and how they have transformed over time. Many of the rugs are handwoven using natural materials, or made using recycled fabrics from old clothes. Seeing all the waste that is created nowadays, I felt a strong connection to this idea of selling/buying goods that are eco-friendly, thoughtfully curated, and serve to build connections between people. So I decided to combine my love of treasure hunting with my desire to make the items that inspire me more accessible to others who share this view. The rest is history!

Seeing all the waste that is created nowadays, I felt a strong connection to this idea of selling/buying goods that are eco-friendly, thoughtfully curated, and serve to build connections between people

Criscara x Barefoot Boheme - Featured Interview Series

   

Where are your favorite places to travel to?

Morocco!! But that’s obvious. I studied in London, so I always love going back there to see my friends and visit familiar haunts.

Criscara x Barefoot Boheme - Featured Interview Series

   

Do you have any travel essentials you never leave home without?

My glasses and contacts! I’m blind as a bat and my greatest fear is losing my glasses or contacts while traveling, to the point where I have nightmares about this.

Criscara x Barefoot Boheme - Featured Interview Series

   

How about a jewelry essential you never travel without?

I am very minimal in my jewelry (I don’t even have my ears pierced!), but there are two things I never leave the house with: my jade ring and gold horseshoe necklace. In case you couldn’t tell by now, I’m a very sentimental person, so both these things carry a lot of meaning for me. The jade ring was my grandma’s and the necklace was a gift from my mother. I wear both so I can be reminded of them every day!

Criscara x Barefoot Boheme - Featured Interview Series

   

Do you have a favorite quote or mantra you live by?

One of my good friends said something to me which I repeat to myself whenever I’m having a rough day: “Nobody knows what they’re doing either”. This idea is a comforting reminder that even the most successful, seemingly put together people, did not know what they were doing. They believed in their idea and made up the rest along the way. I think it’s easy to be immobilized by self-doubt and fear of failure, especially when you think others have it all figured out. Now, I try not to compare myself to others and focus on loving what I do and using that passion to drive myself forward.

They believed in their idea and made up the rest along the way

Criscara x Barefoot Boheme - Featured Interview Series

   

So, what's coming up next for Barefoot Boheme that you are most excited about?

I’m currently working on a joint collaboration that I’m super excited about. I’ve partnered with an incredibly talented welder and furniture maker to create a collection featuring my Moroccan rugs repurposed into several furniture pieces. We’re currently in the process of finalizing all the designs and I’m so excited to see it come together.

Criscara x Barefoot Boheme - Featured Interview Series

   

Where can people find your products?

Criscara x Barefoot Boheme - Featured Interview Series

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Photo Credit: Barefoot Boheme


  ✧ ✧ ✧ Shop Moroccan Inspired Jewelry from Criscara ✧ ✧ ✧

Crista Grasso
Crista Grasso


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