Liz Glasgow, daughter of fashion illustrator Hilda Glasgow was admiring her mother’s illustrations one day. After her mothers passing at age 91, Liz kept the illustrations all together in a white cabinet which she had moved to her Long Island home. Her mother was one of the top fashion illustrators from 1940-1970 for the likes of everyone from Vogue to Glamour to Saks Fifth Avenue.
“The idea that people should enjoy Mom’s drawings again came to me out of the blue in June 2010. Her drawings had always been stored in the white cabinet in our (Manhattan) apartment. She had sold a few of the originals and I didn’t want to part with any more. Then I realized, hey I’m a photographer. I can shoot these and sell reproductions.” says Liz.
Liz then worked on photographing her Mom’s illustrations and putting a website together for the next three months. In September of 2010 she launched her new business, The Hilda Glasgow Collection- The White Cabinet. Her second sale was to designer Michael Kors!
In the fall of that year Liz then approached Flavor Paper, a wallpaper company based in Brooklyn, NY. They teamed up and created “Tres Chic” since Liz thought the illustrations would look great on the walls.
Things really started to blossom when Liz decided to get a booth at the spring 2012 Stationery Show in New York. She and Flavor Paper featured gift wrap and note cards with her mother’s illustrations and she won first place for ‘best new products’. By July of that year a rep that had started to carry her line introduced her to another one of their clients, Kitchen Papers. What a perfect match! Now The Hilda Glasgow collection features paper placemats, invitations, napkins and notepads. Liz credits Angie Cook and her husband Robbie of Kitchen Papers for taking her line to the next level. Last year they were in about 20 stores and now they are in over 600.
Above: A sampling of the paper placemats, invitations and cocktail napkins.
I asked Liz what advice she had for others wanting to make a career change (Liz was an interiors photographer for years working for many national publications). Here’s Liz’s advice:
“Sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith. I’ve been a photographer for over 30 years and I have never quite felt the same satisfaction that i get from this new business. It takes a ton of work and you to totally believe in what you’re doing. I didn’t do any market research or test marketing or anything. I just did it. It was crazy looking back, but it’s working. I have never had doors open so easily as they have for this business, which I think is what happens when you’re on the right path. If I had played it safe and stayed on the same photo path I would have missed so many amazing things.”
Above: Liz and her mother Hilda Glasgow.
Growing up in Manhattan with models coming in and out of their apartment seemed normal to Liz. There was always something interesting going on. One of Liz’s fondest memories is when she was about 3. Her mother put a tiny table next to hers so they could draw the models together after Liz added on to an illustration her mother had been working on for days, thinking it “needed something extra”. At birthday parties when Liz was growing up her Mom would do sketches of each girl and give them as a presents.
Above: Hilda Glasgow at her drawing table. Below: Hilda and baby Liz.
“Mom inspires me everyday. I always knew she was a wonderful artist, but now looking at these drawings closely everyday, I realize she was quite amazing. I remember at the retirement community where she lived in later years, they had a show of her work. She turned to me and said, ‘You know I really was good.’, not in a smug way. I think she felt her work was ‘just commercial’ and didn’t have much life beyond the next ad. Having the drawings matted and framed and presented as the art that they were made her see them in a different light. And it made her feel really great when everyone came over and admired her drawings. I now am starting to fully appreciate that she was a groundbreaker in many ways. She was the breadwinner in my family until I came along. My dad was a painter. His work has been shown in museums across the country but she brought in the money. They were married for twenty years when I was born (and planned) and she was almost 45. That didn’t happen much in those days. Then after she stopped doing the illustrations, she had a needlepoint business with her sister and after that she designed jewelry. When she went to live in a retirement community she was in charge of the gift store and gave art lectures. She was unique.” exclaims Liz.
Above: Hilda Glasgow with her framed illustrations later in her life. Liz says, “She was a glass half full kind of person. She always saw the positive and didn’t dwell on the negative. I try to live my life the same way.”
Above: Liz sitting in front of “Cyd”, one of her favorite illustrations of her mothers. “I think of Cyd as the life of the party.”, Liz says.
Above: The Zoe Square Notepad.
Hilda’s favorite designers were Schaparelli, Givenchy, Chanel and especially clothes from the 20’s. She also loved shocking pink. Above, the Margot notecard. Below, the Sandy notecard.
To purchase anything from this line you can go directly to the site at www.thewhitecabinet.com or to find a store near you. I’m starting my shopping today, I’m thinking these are perfect for a girls’ luncheon. – Lynn Butler Beling
(I happily met Liz at this year’s National Stationery Show in New York City- below, Liz at her booth in front of the notecard collection.)