ARIANNA GETS HAPPY: Thrive Global founder Arianna Huffington threw a party Wednesday night in honor of her daughter Isabella’s new collaboration with shoe designer Sarah Flint.
The twentysomething Huffington’s art has been shown at Rebecca Minkoff’s Los Angeles gallery and in Ports 1961’s store. Through a collaboration with the travelwear company Summersalt, Huffington will help launch a swimsuit soon. Flint, meanwhile, is using a butterfly print from one of Huffington’s paintings for the new shoes.
Huffington said of her new kicks with Flint, “I love the idea of wearable art. If you make a painting, it’s just for one person. If you make a shoe, it has to be something that a lot of people will love.”
Her “reimagined” portraits of women from the 18th and 19th centuries were on display in the apartment’s study. Five years out of Yale, the younger Huffingon lives within walking distance of her mother’s SoHo pad, and asks her for advice from time to time. The Thrive founder’s most sound advice is, “A lot of times people think, ‘I’ll be happy if I get this or this, or if this happens or that happens.’ If you’re not happy now, you’re not going to be happy when that happens. You’ll want something else. It’s very much [about] being in the present moment. In doing it well and being type A, we’re always onto the next and the next, my mom really gets me to stop and appreciate, ‘OK, you just did this — that’s great. Or this just happened, that’s great. Be happy in the present instead of moving onto the next.”
Flint met her latest collaborator through Arianna Huffington, “a fan of the brand.” Meghan Markle is another loyalist, having first worn the direct-to-consumer label when she starred in “Suits.” Having teamed with TaskRabbit founder Leah Busque and Bare Escentuals’ Leslie Blodgett for content features, Flint said she recently met a NASA scientist who will also be featured wearing the shoes. Big on taking customer service calls to help her enhance the design process and shoppers’ experience, Flint recently spoke to a flight attendant who now plans to do a blog post for the company, photographing her Emma pumps in Lisbon, Paris and other places where she travels.
Initially, Flint took more of the “Undercover Boss” approach to manning the phones, but now she tells callers about her role as founder. “I found that people like it and they give me more feedback. It’s amazing. It’s really nice. It’s also a great way to get people to talk about the brand. They like that I actually pick up the phone,” Flint said. ”What I love about being direct-to-consumer is that I have so much more contact with my consumers, whether it’s through Instagram or on the phone. We use an app called ZenDesk that all our customer service tickets come into. I literally read through all the tickets every night. Sometimes it’s not the right thing to do before bed, but it’s good still.”