The Ladies Behind Gem+Elli
Happy Saturday! I’ve got something special for you today – a Q&A with Anna and Julie Reinberg, the lovely ladies behind the boho luxe brand, Gem+Elli!
Anna and Julie are twins, originally from Georgia and now living in Las Vegas, Nevada. Together, they create stunningly beautiful hand-woven wall hangings, tapestries, and other home goods. Their Etsy shop has a number of absolutely gorgeous woven wall hangings and pillows. I really love the neutral color palate throughout their creations – it really highlights the beauty of the weaving itself. It also makes it SO EASY to incorporate their pieces into any room.
Anna and Julie were kind enough to answer some questions for us about their brand, their career path, and weaving!
Liz: What is your background?
Gem+Elli: We were previously real estate agents in New York until we realized that our creative passion for design was missing in our lives and we needed to get back into it! We started Gem+Elli in August of 2015.
Liz: Where did you learn to weave?
Gem+Elli: We both graduated from Georgia State University with degrees in Textile Design in 2008.
Liz: Why weaving?
Gem+Elli: While studying textile design, we took various classes from screening printing to heat transfer to indigo dying… weaving was our favorite because the process of completing a piece is so time consuming that there is almost something therapeutic about it. Our weaving class was only offered during the summer semester because we would need to be in the studio for 8 hours a day!
Liz: How long does it take to make one of your wall hangings? How long to make a rug?
Gem+Elli: This is probably the toughest question to answer and one everyone wants to know! A small piece that is about 12″ x 24″ can take about 7 hours to complete. One time, we timed how long it would take to make a 3 foot piece… almost 24 hours. A rug would take forever!!
Liz: Wow – thats crazy! It really makes me appreciate all of the little details in the pieces you create. What sorts of materials do you use in your works?
Gem+Elli: Our wall hangings are made with exquisite fibers. Some of our favorites include Sari silk ribbons, Peruvian & Merino wool, cotton, and linen. We love the variety of textures that these materials create within the piece! We also incorporate gems & stones into our pieces because we have always had an interest in jewelry design. We love to use hematite, pyrite, and sunstone just to name a few.
Liz: I love the idea of incorporating stones and other types of media in your weavings! It makes them just that much more unique and beautiful. I do not know a ton about weaving – are there different kinds of weaving? Do you focus on one kind, or a number of different kinds? Do you always use a loom?
Gem+Elli: There are certainly different kinds of weaving in terms of the complexity of your loom. We always use a loom, yes. Ours are very simple. Since we work from home we don’t have industrial looms as those take up a lot of space. Industrial looms allow for larger pieces and it allows you to create repeat patterns, for instance, if you are making yardage for fabric.
Liz: Does it seem to you like weaving is making a revival in the United States?
Gem+Elli: Heck yes! Not just in the US but all around the world! Textile design in general has become so popular within the past year. We feel like the handmade & homewares industry is taking over right now!
Liz: I totally agree – I think there is a “back to basics” trend on the rise as people are interested in hand-made goods and starting to really appreciate true skill, talent, and beautiful details. As entrepreneurs, what did you find to be the most challenging aspect of starting a business?
Gem+Elli: What do we find not challenging?! The biggest is finding your signature style and not comparing yourself to others.
Liz: What has been the best or most rewarding aspect?
Gem+Elli: Being able to be creative everyday and when people respond and love your work! We also feel very honored when we have requests for custom orders and our customers trust us to create special pieces for their home.
Liz: Where does the name Gem+Elli come from?
Gem+Elli: This is our favorite question! Gem + Elli are our nicknames for each other because the Italian word for twins is “gemelli.” We took a trip to Italy a few years ago and everyone kept asking if we are gemelli’s so we started saying “Hey Gem” “Hey Elli” and it’s stuck ever since. Anna is Gem. Julie is Elli.
Liz: What can we expect to see from you in the future?
Gem+Elli: Eventually, we would love to have an entire handmade homewares collection. We are constantly thinking of new ideas and products that we would like to offer, like linen tea towels, rope vessel baskets, and table runners!
I am super stoked to see what these girls have in store for the future – and I’m especially excited to see their future rope vessel baskets! (I bet I could find a plant or five around the house to put in some baskets!)