Moonlit's In Bed With... Series is a collection of intimate interviews with tastemakers, core-shakers, and the people we love. We explore what keeps them up at night, in addition to their sleep secrets.
This week we have with us Emma Wingfield, co-founder of Five | Six Textiles - a startup that weaves together art and social entrepreneurship. Five | Six Textiles supports artistic freedom whilst preserving cultural tradition, producing unique products with a positive social impact. Emma shares with us her struggles and triumphs as an entrepreneur, and her personal tips on tiding through life as a busy woman.
Hi Emma! We’re so inspired by the way you blend the traditional and contemporary through your artisan crafted textiles. How did you first begin your journey with Five | Six Textiles?
Emma: Five | Six began with a conversation. At the time, I was working as a researcher at a museum (my background is in West African Art) and was offered the chance to travel with a group of curators to Côte d’Ivoire to visit and make connections with artisans all over the country. Upon meeting the weavers in Waraniéné, they expressed an interest in partnering with someone whom they could consult on product development and help them broaden their consumer outreach.
When I returned to the States, I told my friend Laine Henry about this conversation (her background is in design). She loved the idea, so we put our heads together and Five | Six was born.
We funded the first round of production on Kickstarter and have spent the last two years designing and building a partnership with this group of masterweavers.
Q: Can you tell us a little about the design philosophy behind your gorgeous pieces?
Emma: We believe that the most exceptional textiles come from the artisans who originated them.
By marrying timeless motifs with contemporary aesthetics, each piece celebrates the heritage of traditional woven textiles from this part of the globe while simultaneously incorporating them into the contemporary world of design.
Q: We’re excited to see an element of social entrepreneurship in Five | Six Textiles. Can you tell us a bit about how you developed this socially minded mission?
Emma: First - we wanted to share the weavers’ stories and the importance of supporting artisans who are still producing cloth that is quickly being forgotten. At some point throughout history, we lost touch with the importance of craft - such as weaving - in curating the visual culture of our homes. As such, we strive to create mindfully crafted, well-designed, and enduring home textiles that discourage a disposable attitude towards curating your home and instead encourage building a collection of functional art.
Second - we love that social consciousness is becoming an important part of conducting business. But, we also need to be careful not to assume the “we know best” attitude that often comes from American brands working with communities across the globe. Instead, we work diligently with the weavers and their communities to figure out how we can benefit their community the most.
From simple supplies to business development, when we listen to what people need (instead of assuming what we can provide), we can really start to make a difference and give back to the society. ✨
Q: What’s been one of the challenges of taking the entrepreneurial path?
Emma: It can be very solitary. We were lucky enough to find a few wonderful brands that started similar businesses before us. Hence, we were confident that this business model worked and that our weavers were creating something truly unique, but a lot of the time it can feel like you are screaming out into a vast void.
Q: What’s been one of the most rewarding parts of founding Five | Six Textiles?
Emma: Getting to work directly with the artisans. Graduating with an arts degree right before the recession in 2008, I was not sure that I would be able to turn my passion for working with artists (outside of a gallery setting) into a career. But now, I am working with an innovative community of master artisans that carry a deep rooted passion for their textiles, and we (Laine and I) get to share their story with the world. 🌎
Q: With your products being made in Waraniéné, Côte d’Ivoire, we’re sure you’re a woman on-the-go. Do you have any travel beauty trips?
Emma: Wear very minimal makeup and on long-haul flights, wash your face. I’ve almost completely stopped wearing makeup when I travel because there is something about plane air and makeup that makes me break out. On long-haul flights - especially overnight flights - I always wash my face before I fall asleep. I am not a huge fan of facial wipes because I feel like they always leave a film on top of my skin so I carry a small travel sized portion of No. 7 Beautiful Skin Foaming Cleanser (Muji makes refillable travel size foam dispensers which is one of the best travel accessory finds ever) and then I use a facial oil (Moonlit’s Midnight Shift is perfect for this) because I feel like it protects my face better than a cream.
On the ground, especially in Côte d’Ivoire, it’s very hot and humid so I like to continue to keep things minimal. The No. 7 cleanser, Thayers Rose Water Toner, Aesop Mandarin Facial Hydrating Facial Cream mixed with SPF 40 (it’s important to keep your face hydrated in humid climates) then for makeup just mascara (love Glossier’s Lash Slick), tinted lip balm/stain (Vaseline lip coco butter lip therapy), and I am good to go. At the moment, I am loving any sort of stain; Noto’s Ono Ono Multi-Bene Stains or RMS’s lip2cheek are my favorites. Basically anything I can use for multiple purposes.
Q: Best place you've woken up in?
Emma: Definitely in a Stormpod on the shores of Islay in Scotland. These pods were like hobbit houses and the entire hut overlooked a private bay. When we woke up, the skies were clear, the salt sea air was crisp, and an otter was hanging out on our porch. We visited the island in February, which is not high season, but meant we pretty much had the island (and the distilleries) to ourselves.
Q: What keeps you up at night?
Emma: Usually my cat. 🐱 Occasionally she likes to embrace her nocturnal nature and does laps around our apartment. She’ll do this for an hour then settle back down and go to sleep. It is very strange.
Q: What keeps you energized during the day?
Emma: Coffee and physical exercise. Living in LA means the outdoors are so accessible. From amazing lap pools, the beach, to hikes, or to yoga classes, I try and take an hour each day to do something. Physical exercise really makes a difference in my productivity levels and mental happiness. 🏃♀️
Q: Most important sleep advice you can give?
Emma: Make time for sleep. There is nothing cool about “I only got 3 hours of sleep last night”. I’ve also found that the key to feeling like you’ve had a good night’s sleep has a lot to do with how you wake up. I try to wake up when my body naturally does (for me, that’s around 6:30 am). I get up, make some coffee, read the news, and just enjoy some time to myself.
Q: I get the best sleep when…
Emma: I’ve been productive, exercised, and read something for myself that day.
Q: Nighttime beauty greatest hits?
Emma: Wash your face - I recommend the No. 7 Beautiful Skin Foaming Cleanser. I’ve been using it for years with no plans of ever stopping. After cleansing I usually use a facial oil, and I have been loving Moonlit’s Midnight Shift.
Q: Fun fact?
Emma: I can read/translate Egyptian Hieroglyphs. I took four years of courses in College and thought I would be an Egyptologist until my last year of undergrad.
My ideal # of hours of sleep is: 8
But in reality, I actually get: 8 (I am serious about sleep)
Sleep season for me is: all year round
How many pillows: 2
AM or PM?: AM (7-8am is the best part of the day)
Nightcap?: Absolutely. Usually red wine or gin martini with a twist.
Bad sleep habit: Keeping my phone by the bed.
Good sleep habit: I always wash my face before going to bed.
Can't sleep: Sitting up
Side/back/stomach sleeper: Side
Mantra: Be nice, be interested, and find something you love to do.