Two sisters start a homewares brand that focuses on slowing down

Sophie Weill and her sister Kiki are in their early 30s, but ready to slow down. Sophie, who has built up a communications career, has run her own PR agency for the past four years, and Kiki, who works in the healthcare sector as a speech therapist, takes an annual sister retreat. For Sophie’s 30th, they chose Italy’s Amalfi Coast. It is there that Piano Piano, their new home equipment company was born without a doubt. (Piano means “slow” in Italian, thus a fitting name for their new venture.)

“I had no plans to start a company, but when we were there, we did a cooking class and the lady who was instructing us just kept repeating the words piano piano– when she put the wine in the sauce, when she stirred it. It was just this effort to be present, in the moment, says Sophie.

This reminder to slow down came at a time when both sisters were feeling a little overwhelmed with their busy, career-driven lives. “PR is a fast-paced industry. There is a never-enough-ness factor where you can always do more. I have been trying to build an agency with my business partner [Megan Maguire] it’s more thoughtful. But often I ask myself, where are we going or running to?

While her younger sister Kiki works as a speech therapist, and not in PR, she echoed a similar sentiment of quality over quantity. “Even in health care, as much as I love working with my patients, I see that we’re just trying to treat as many patients as possible, and you don’t really give everyone the thoughtful time that they probably deserve. After the trip, I realized that I might not can do 12-hour days, but the time I give to each patient, I’m more invested in it.”

For both sisters, it was a pause button on what had been a go-go life. And the answer Sophie says was not enough of an Italian holiday. “I just realized that I didn’t want to spend my life waiting to go to such a destination to slow down, or waiting for the weekend to have a ‘slow’ moment.”

“The message goes beyond the product. Enjoy every day. Take time to enjoy your coffee, enjoy a few minutes of a meal,” adds Kiki.

Inspired by the ceramics they saw in shops in Italy, the duo decided to start a business that only celebrated the crafts of the artisans, who worked slowly to create the everyday plates, cups and saucers – all of which are hand painted, but also embodied this idea of ​​a slower , more beautiful life every day.

“I love my life in America and I wanted to bring this philosophy and beauty of the Amalfi Coast to my community here in New York,” says Sophie.

Forgoing a beach day on vacation, the sisters instead began working with potters and artisans in Vietri Sul Mare to bring a few select items to sell in the United States. On November 1, they launched their brand, named after the Italian phrase taught to them by their Italian instructor.

The sisters have been surprised by the response as they run a lean operation and continue to work their day jobs while growing the company. “Our plates have been a big hit with customers and we are surprised because they are a more expensive product. But they have resonated as a beautiful centerpiece for the table.”

The colorful collection, adds Sophie, is a reminder of what they saw in Italy. “None of our stuff is going to be minimal or monochrome. There are already companies doing it well. Instead, we’re asking the question, ‘Does this make you feel alive?'”

Since this is a self-funded business, they do everything themselves, including packing the orders and involving the family. “I want to understand the consumer journey. It is useful for me also for my PR business, so that I can consult clients better. But I’m not interested in the mentality of growing at any cost. I haven’t thought of an exit. That is not the intention of this brand. If someone sends me a picture of eating on the Piano Piano plates, I’m happy and satisfied with that. We are not doing this to compete with American consumerism, she says.

While the duo isn’t the first set of Americans to be inspired by the Amalfi Coast’s beauty and slower pace of life, it’s a nice reminder to pause and perhaps ask, “Does this make you feel alive?” If not, it may be time to pivot.

And that is the message Piano Piano hopes to evoke with its brand and storytelling.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *