Two sisters launch a homeware brand focused on slowing down

Sophie Weill and her sister Kiki are in their thirties but ready to slow down. Sophie, who has built a career in communications, running her own PR agency for the past four years, and Kiki, who works in healthcare as a speech therapist, take an annual sister trip. For Sophie’s 30th birthday, they chose the Italian Amalfi Coast. This is where Piano Piano, their new housewares company was born by chance. (Piano means “slow” in Italian, and therefore, an appropriate name for their new venture.)

“I had no intention of starting a business, but when we were there we took a cooking class and the lady who was teaching us 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 bit overwhelmed by their busy, career-focused lives. “Public relations is a rapidly changing industry. There is a never enough factor where you can always do more. I tried to create an agency with my business partner [Megan Maguire] it’s more thoughtful. But often I wonder, where are we going or running?

While her younger sister Kiki works as a speech therapist and not in public relations, she echoes a similar sentiment of quality over quantity. “Even in healthcare, although I love working with my patients, I see that we’re just trying to treat as many patients as possible, and you’re not really giving everyone the thinking time they probably deserve. After the trip, I realized that maybe I couldn’t do 12-hour days, but the time I give to each patient invests me more.

For both sisters, it was a pause button on what had been go-go lives. And the answer Sophie said was no other Italian vacation. “I just realized that I didn’t want to spend my life waiting to travel to a destination like this to slow down, or waiting for the weekend to have a ‘slow’ moment.”

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

Inspired by the ceramics they saw in stores in Italy, the duo decided to start a business that only celebrated the craftsmanship of artisans, who worked slowly to make everyday plates, cups and dishes, all hand painted, but also embodied this idea of ​​a slower and more beautiful life every day.

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

Foregoing a day at the beach on their 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 teacher.

Running a lean operation and continuing to do their day jobs, while growing the business, the sisters were surprised by the response. “Our trays have been a big hit with customers, and we’re surprised because it’s a more expensive product. But they resonated as a beautiful centerpiece for the table.

The colorful collection, adds Sophie, is reminiscent of what they saw in Italy. “None of our designs will be minimal or monochromatic. There are already companies that do this well. Instead, we ask our question, ‘Does this make you feel alive?’

As it is a self-funded business, they do everything themselves, including packing orders and family participation. “I want to understand the consumer journey. It is also useful for me for my public relations activity, because I can better consult the customers. But I’m not interested in the mentality of growing up at all costs. I didn’t think of an exit. This 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. We’re not doing this to compete with American consumerism,” she says.

While the duo aren’t the first group of Americans to be inspired by the beauty of the Amalfi Coast and a slower pace of life, it’s a good reminder to take a break and maybe ask. : “Does it make you feel alive?” If not, it might be time to pivot.

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

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