7 Questions with WEL's Madelynn Furlong
Madelynn Furlong pictured with the WEL x Dust & Form Mobiles
Image courtesy Wide Eyed Legless
Madelynn Furlong, Art Director for Target's beauty and fashion social media and blogger of style blog Wide Eyed Legless, started her blog in 2010 for a relatively practical purpose: to build herself a simpler, more thoughtful wardrobe, home, and lifestyle. Since then, the 25-year-old stylist, art director, and designer has built her blog into national renown. Her thoughtfully arranged home has been the subject of more than one national blog post, and her minimal beauty routine was blogged by the likes of Urban Outfitters. Now, the designer has added another feather to her cap in the form of WEL (short for Wide Eyed Legless), her first online retail venture. The online shop is, accordingly, purposefully small and highly curated, featuring goods that represent the Wide Eyed Legless aesthetic and values, as well as limited–edition, exclusive products created in collaboration with Furlong's favorite designers and artists from Minnesota and beyond. As she described it in an introductory blog post, "I see WEL as a sort of 'communal well' to partake in art and beauty—a place to celebrate the creator, the curated and the space in between."
I chatted with Furlong about her latest venture to find out more.
Q: How did the idea of launching your own online shop come about? Is it something you always intended to do when you started your blog?
A: It actually was something that I never intended but I think I was always a bit interested in the idea. Last summer I came to this point where I realized that I was surrounded by so many talented people doing amazingly creative things and I just felt like blogging about what they were doing wasn't satisfying enough. I wanted to be able to create and collaborate alongside of them. My background is in fine arts (painting and drawing) and i worked as an apparel designer at Target so participating with other artists, designers, and craftspersons on specific pieces felt natural. I also want to help create a different avenue for artists to sell their work outside of the gallery system.
Q: How would you describe the shop’s aesthetic?
A: Minimal and thought–provoking with an emphasis on material combinations.
Q: What types of products do you look for when curating the shop?
A: I look more at artists and designers than I do products. When I see someone's work I admire I try to get to know them a bit as a person and figure out a way that we can work well together. The WEL shop is meant to be a place where artists and designers can explore, create, and push boundaries to allow themselves to make things that are sometimes a bit out of their comfort level.
Q: What products or designers currently in the shop are you most excited about?
A: Actually, all of them! That's the thing about the shop, I absolutely love every item and think they fit perfectly within the WEL aesthetic. Some highlights right now are the mobiles by Dust and Form, the WINSOME grid top, Jesse Draxler's piece, and the Carrier Pigeon arc earrings.
Q: What are some future designers or products you’re excited to bring to the shop?
A: There are too many! There is a Martha McQuade top coming in the next month that I absolutely love, one of my favorite bags by KUU Collections, as well as couple Lily Stan Studio pieces. My favorite project that I am working on is getting clothing designers and visual artists to collaborate together. I am working with some of my favorite local artists (like Jesse Draxler and Sarah Burns) to design prints and then pairing them with designers to make beautiful printed garments and accessories.
Q: Do you intend to grow the shop at all beyond its current size, or is the intention to keep it small, limited-edition, and finely edited?
A: At this point limited–edition and small. I love the idea of having items that are one of one—once they are sold they are gone! There is something truly intimate and special about that.
Q: Do you have any plans to create your own product line sometime in the future? If so, what kind of products could you see yourself creating?
A: At this point no. I may eventually offering some of my own paintings and drawings, but honestly who knows. That could all change within a day!
Check out some of the shop's offerings below, available exclusively at shopwideeyedlegless.com.
WEL x Jujumade Black Arch Clutch, $295 @ shopwideeyedlegless.com
WEL x Carrier Pigeon Cascade Earrings, $210 @ shopwideeyedlegless.com
WEL x WINSOME White Grid Top, $180 @ shopwideeyedlegless.com
WEL x Carrier Pigeon Black Arc Studs, $68 @ shopwideeyedlegless.com
WEL x Jesse Draxler "Not Close Enough" Print, $150 @ shopwideeyedlegless.com