As I reflect on the one year anniversary of the launch of bumbrella by CiCi Soleil, I do so with gratitude. I am often asked, “Who is CiCi Soleil?” CiCi is my carefree, adventurous, risk-taking side, a part of me I had never fully appreciated. Soleil is French for sun, our source of sustenance, light and life. Fortuitously, these two elements collided and ignited a path-changing idea. I had always been decidedly disciplined and at times felt burdened by my practical, logical and serious nature. At the time, I was recommitting myself to the medical profession after a lengthy hiatus as a stay-at-home mom. CiCi became this refreshing facet of my soul, re-energizing my life with imagination, hope and new beginnings.
This revelation occurred on a most unexpected day, to say the least. While attending a funeral, I realized my black dress was completely transparent in the sunlight. Standing there in my sheer dress, feeling mortified and naked, an idea struck me like a lightening bolt. I should have been wearing just a little something for coverage but not so much that it felt bulky and uncomfortable. I never wore shaping slips because they were cumbersome, hot and constricting. God knows, I wouldn't be caught dead in an outdated, frumpy "granny" slip. Essentially, what I needed and wanted didn't exist. In this most unusual circumstance, I had just the solution! I would design a modern, easy-to-wear, healthier undergarment to address this common, embarrassing wardrobe problem, and so my 2-in-1 pantyslip came to be. I laugh when I remember this comically outlandish moment because it seemed so bizarre in its time and place, but I guess you can't help when a lightbulb turns on.
I once read a description of yin and yang as the “sunlight playing over a mountain and a valley." Yin is the dark, overcast side of the mountain, while yang is the bright face illuminated by the sun. As the sun travels across the sky, yin and yang gradually exchange places with one another, unveiling what was obscured and concealing what was revealed. It's interesting, this notion of concealment and revelation. I think we all have treasures undiscovered within us, just waiting to be acknowledged. My "yang" was ironically revealed in that moment of mortifying overexposure.
I'm a true believer in the "things happen for a reason" concept, and it's fascinating how the universe guides us with signs, people and circumstances. On that day of loss and sorrow, something hopeful and new was born- the realization I can and should take a chance and change course, a sort of personal reinvention. As I witnessed a rare, resplendent rainbow encircling the sun that afternoon, I recognized it as a sign. To honor the untimely passing of Leslie Gorman Karlovec, an extraordinary woman with a courageous, fighting spirit, I would believe in myself and take a leap of faith. I would veer off my well-traveled road and venture into the unknown entrepreneurial world.
Ideas flow from necessity and experience but require that magical spark to come alive. I don't know what it was that day, but forces converged, and I followed a different path. Naming my business CiCi Soleil honors this radiant, inventive spirit, clearly illuminated on that sunny day. I think we all aspire to imagine and create so we can feel a sense of adventure and abundance in our lives. Through this endeavor, I have challenged and propelled myself up a steep learning curve, which most days feels like a mountain. I have celebrated exhilarating highs on the summit and trudged through humbling lows in the valley. I will continue to forge ahead with fierce determination and unwavering perseverance. As I wish CiCi a happy first birthday, I hope her little light continues to twinkle and shine and maybe even inspire others for many years to come. Happy birthday, CiCi...make a wish!
I’m so excited to share with you the story behind bumbrella’s new ad campaign! I’ll be talking today with bumbrella’s President, Tara Gallagher along with Herta Silva of HertaWorks, the NYC- based creative agency that has been handling all of bumbrella’s creative. So read on for some details about the shoot and inspiration!
Last month, Herta travelled from New York to Ohio for the first time, to meet up with Tara and shoot bumbrella’s grass-roots ad campaign. They had a great crew, hair by Kristen King, from Salon Lofts in Rocky River; make-up by Suzana at Sephora in Westlake and set & wardrobe co-styling by Tara and Herta. The shoot location was in Tara Gallagher's home & back yard in Bay Village, Ohio. Tara's daughter made her modeling debut in support of her mother's brand.
PART 1: Interview with the President, Tara Gallagher
CiCi: Hello Tara, shooting an ad campaign can be very challenging for a small company that is starting out, what was your focus when putting this shoot together?
Tara: I always try to keep an eye on the reality of the situation. You have to step back and evaluate your goals to find that balance between what you want to achieve and what you can realistically do. I know I have a great product and it helps when you have a great partnership with someone like Herta who can do so many things. I have had great confidence in Herta’s vision for the brand and knew under her direction, we would be able to create a fresh look and feel while being mindful of our budget. Keeping the shoot small not only allowed for a more hands-on approach, but also helped keep costs down. Most importantly, we had a great team and everyone worked really well together.
CiCi: How did you and Herta came to partner on this shoot?
Tara: Herta designed the bumbrella logo and identity, she knows this brand inside out and was a great problem solver when it came to the budget. She has art directed shoots for major brands with both very large and small budgets, and as an artist who does it all, she has a knack for photography as well. Therefore deciding to use Herta’s art direction and photography skills, as well as having the shoot at my house in Ohio featuring my daughter was a no-brainer.
CiCi: We love that this was your daughter’s modeling debut, tell us more about that.
Tara: Molly has always been very interested in fashion and has been a great supporter of my business. So while she is still just a teenager, she really took the shoot very seriously and performed really well under Herta’s direction. It felt quite wonderful to have her be part of this, I’m definitely very proud of her and think the images turned out fantastic! I would love to do this again with her. It’s extremely gratifying to have my own daughter as the face of my brand, which at times feels like my fourth child!.
CiCi: What was the inspiration behind the styling?
Tara: We are big fans of Brigitte Bardot and thought her look would translate well in Molly’s styling, from the heavily lined cat eyes to the luxuriously long textured hair, it seemed a match made in heaven! I took Molly to Sephora in Westlake, where Suzana did a fantastic job with the make-up, which lasted all day long by the way. And for hair, Kristen King, a long-time friend of mine from Salon Lofts in Rocky River; came over to do her magic with Molly’s hair. Kristen was even kind enough to bring her dog by later on the shoot, Norbit, a gorgeous Boston Terrier, who also made his modeling debut being part of the shoot! Most of the shots were taken outside on my backyard, we kept things simple using the textures of the flowers and trees. One of the shots that she is sitting in, we selected props that I had in my house to create the little indoors/outdoor vignette right outside on the patio. Romance and femininity were big themes in the set design and wardrobe.
PART 2: Interview with Creative Director Herta Silva of HertaWorks
CiCi: Hello Herta! What was the concept behind the creative?
Herta: We wanted to showcase bumbrella in an editorial light, as well as introduce an etherial romance to the images in this campaign. As you may know from our brand's history, sunlight was the catalyst for the brand's conception, so I wanted it to be visually present as the etherial element. We achieved the romance by bringing in a lot of the beautiful rich colors and textures through wardrobe and setting, conveying that while bumbrella is sleek and modern in design, it can also be feminine and sexy, that is one of the reasons why it’s the perfect base layer.
CiCi: Tell us a bit about the process and how it was to work on this shoot.
Herta: Before I put together concepts for a client, I find it’s important to have a realistic focused approach in relation to resources, knowing what you have to work with allows you to really be creative when imagining what the final picture will look like. So deciding on location was the first step. Once I saw pictures of Tara’s backyard, I knew that would be the ideal shooting situation not only because of logistics, like wardrobe changes, but because of the lushness of texture and potential variety of settings for our shots. Living in NYC, you get to appreciate all kinds of outdoor spaces, the potential I saw in hers was tremendous. I’ve worked on shoots that paid thousands to rent outdoor spaces like hers for a day. Once we came to that decision, I put together a plan, the shot list, the story board and did comps in photoshop using the pictures that Tara emailed me. From there, Tara and I then planned wardrobe and figured out what we were going to need prop-wise for some of the sets we wanted to create. Once I arrived on location, I was able to determine what worked and what didn’t and the rest is history. As everything came together, it made for a very fluid experience, we moved from shot to shot like clock work and ended up with an incredible selection of images.
Behind the scenes* image credit: Fallon Gallagher *All make-up & hair shots as well as 2 shots of Herta shooting Molly.
Keep a look out for more images from this shoot being released through out the year! Please visit out website for more about bumbrella by CiCi Soleil at http://www.wearbumbrella.com