Fresh Perspective: 5 Questions with Anne Siegel, the owner and designer of Olive and Poppy
Posted: January 8th, 2020
Happy New Year and welcome back to Garden Society’s Fresh Perspective series. This week we had a chance to sit down with Anne Siegel, the owner and designer of Olive and Poppy; an artfully crafted line of mementos designed to capture a snapshot of a warm, fun-filled day wine tasting with friends. While Anne is a California native, her introduction into the wine country lifestyle started when she moved to San Francisco after attending college at UC San Diego. Every weekend, she would gather a group of city‐dwellers and head to Napa or Sonoma to explore new wineries and celebrate at release parties. A fortuitous job in the wine industry and a love for the farm‐to‐table food scene landed her in Napa, where, as a local she saw visitors looking for non-consumable souvenirs to take back home. When not creating the latest items for Olive and Poppy, you will find Anne entertaining friends in the backyard and taking her twins to Tomales Bay for fresh oysters with her husband Rudy. (She also happens to be our co-founder Karli’s former boss from the wine world—and her amazing leadership, creativity and kind heart are a BIG reason why we wanted to feature and introduce her to our wonderful community!)
Happy New Year Anne, and thanks for joining us. We’ve been admirers of Olive and Poppy since you founded the company and just featured one of your beautiful keychains in our holiday gift guide. It brings a smile to our faces every time we unlock our doors, but we’re curious about what brings you joy?
I’m feeling extra grateful with the beginning of the new year, so I’ll give this to you in list form and in no particular order: The specific buzz of my phone when Olive and Poppy receives an online order. My kids running over and giving me a hug when I get home from work. Someone telling me they follow Olive and Poppy on social media. Living in Napa Valley. My husband’s famous banh mi sandwiches. Owning a business that allows, and sometimes forces,me to learn something new every day. Drinking a glass of rosé with Nicole (co-founder of Olive and Poppy). Laughing so hard you cry with friends. Exploring hidden foodie spots in the bay area. Watching the vines in wine country come back to life every spring after a long winter.
It’s all those little things that make life so bright. We’ve never had the chance to try one of your husband’s banh mi’s but it sounds like we need to set up a picnic date. You bring sandwiches and we’ll chip in some pre-roll’s and rosé? As a business owner, what is it like to be a female leader in today’s climate?
As the ladies of Garden Society can probably relate to, when you’re at the helm of an all-female company, you sometimes forget that most of the world is dealing with much different issues. In the retail and design world, it is not unusual for women to lead…and truthfully, I’ve never really thought about gender in relation to my job. We are lucky to work with so many talented women and men whose main focus is to be professional and kind. I used to work with a winemaker that said she didn’t want to be thought of as a female winemaker, just a winemaker. I always thought was a very evolved way to state it…so I’ll call myself a leader!
We love the notion of seeing everyone as equal, no matter what their gender or ethnicity, but sometimes people need a reminder. We were always taught never to let gender determine what, or who we could become. What lessons did you learn from your mother, a mother-like figure, or notable woman in your life?
I have two…and ironically, they are both named Margaret and are both incredibly strong women! From my mother…perseverance and to never give up, even when things get rocky. She’s a fighter, an unofficial litigator and righter of wrongs. I received a strong sense of standing up for what you believe and working around sticky problems in a way that allows everyone to feel good about the outcome. When I worked in the wine industry, I had the honor to travel with and publish the memoir of Margrit Mondavi. The lessons I learned from her were almost endless, even down to the correct pronunciation of Sommelier (which I still don’t think I say perfectly). She taught me to live every day to the fullest…that each day that you woke up and got out of bed was a gift. She literally stopped to smell the roses and was delighted at the perfection of a summer peach. Margrit always expected the best…and therefore always got it. I was lucky to have spent so much time with her and hear her wonderful stories about love, art and helping to create a wine and food culture in the U.S. with Robert Mondavi.
They both sound like invaluable mentors. One could argue that every winemaker, and wine consumer, in America owes a debt of gratitude to the Mondavi family. Could you share a valuable lesson or gift from girlfriends or a girlfriend (it’s ok to shout her name out here!)?
I take a trip to Palm Springs every spring with my four best girlfriends. We have known each other for many years and consider this time together as mandatory and nonnegotiable. We began traveling together almost 15 years ago as a way to escape the foggy San Francisco summer and now our shared memories of who we all were in our 30’s and how our lives have changed is endless entertainment. It’s the one time of year we put down the roles of mother, wife, or businessperson, and are truly our most ridiculous selves decked out in Palm Springs modern gear with too many sparkly baubles we purchase at a place called Dazzles (naturally). Throughout the years, each of us has taken turns going through a rough spot, job shake up, major milestone, or a hurdle that seems insurmountable and we always walk away from the weekend feeling refreshed and ready to tackle what’s next. The lesson here…take time to renew your friendships and celebrate the little things over a glass of bubbles next to a pool at noon.
After all, our memories are the most valuable souvenir… and maybe an Olive and Poppy keychain. At the end of the day, what matters most to you?
Not to sound trite, but when I make a wish…it’s for my friends and family to be healthy and happy. There aren’t too many things that matter more.
Thank you so much for joining us today Anne, your inspiration and insight are such gifts, and so are your beautiful creations. At Garden Society we always look forward to picking up one of your works of art after a perfect day in wine country and we love to follow along with your latest designs. For those of you in our audience who’d like to follow along you can follow @oliveandpoppy on social media.