ARTIST INTERVIEW: CAP Beauty founders Kerrilynn Palmer and Cindy DiPrima Morisse
Company: CAP Beauty
Artists: Kerrilynn Pamer and Cindy DiPrima Morisse
CAP Beauty is a sponsor of the Holiday 2018 Echo Park Craft Fair and we are excited to welcome them as a first time artist! CAP Beauty lives by the philosophy that “Beauty is Wellness. Wellness is Beauty” and exists to share the products, practices and knowledge that create true radiance. They stock over 150 brands of products that are always 100% natural and teeming with nutrition and life force. At CAP Beauty the power of plants are at work to create change, both outside and in. We spoke to founders Kerrilyn and Cindy about the journey that led them to create CAP Beauty and what inspires them daily.
Describe the path that led you to the work you do now.
Kerrilynn: Like so many who have taken a deep dive into wellness, my path really started from a place of not feeling well. As a kid I was constantly at doctors with stomach pains and challenging skin. As an adult, this expanded into constantly feeling exhausted. I was always told that I was simply unlucky, getting older. Then, over a decade ago, I was diagnosed with Celiac. What could have come as bad news, was my invitation to getting well. I immediately made the connection between what I ate and how I looked and felt and then started diving deeper, into the products I used and both the physical and emotional worlds that surrounded me. I fell in love with natural beauty and began selling a few seminal lines (Tata Harper, May Lindstrom and Kjaer Weis among others) from my West Village store, Castor & Pollux. When I saw my customers embrace these products as well, I knew CAP Beauty had to happen.
Cindy: I’ve always been deeply connected to the idea of betterment, of health and well being. The idea that we can each choose to live in pursuit of radical health is profoundly exciting to me. It’s an option available to all, a choice anyone can make. In my younger years, I dabbled in health. As a stylist and young, single woman in New York, I would bounce between taking great care of myself and falling completely off the wagon. The worlds of fashion and photography are filled with others on a similar path. There are many seekers and minds are open wide, but the schedules and pressures can lead to some pretty bad habits. I love now being able to produce copy and images for CAP Beauty, and create campaigns that encourage health. I love stocking our shelves with products that bridge the gap between luxury and natural, between health and style. High health is a right we all share and CAP Beauty is here to open the doors to all.
What would you say is the driving force behind your creative work?
Kerrilynn: Everything we do at CAP is designed to deliver healthier products into the hands of as many people as possible. We love to share the information, the products and most of all, the lifestyle, of natural beauty. It’s about being our best and most vibrant selves and encouraging others to join the cult. Nothing makes me happier than seeing our friends and customers wake up to the power of high vibrational living.
How do you find a balance between practicality and beauty in your creations?
Kerrilynn: A great product checks off all the boxes. It looks, smells and feels great. But it also has to work. We are tireless editors, hunting down the products and ingredients that deliver in every way. We want to inspire and make this process as joyful as it is healthful. We want our CAP Beauty family to look and feel amazing. And we want them to enjoy the ride.
What are your most important artistic tools?
Cindy: As a creative director my best tools are a great team around me and a memory of images that inspire.
Do you have a favorite creation, artwork, or design of your own?
Kerrilynn: This fall we launched a collection of adaptogenic blends called The O’CLOCKS. They’re based on my own ritual of drinking tonic elixirs which has changed my life in more ways than I can count. The balance and calm the herbs deliver is profound, but in addition, the ritual of blending a gorgeous tonic drink and then sharing it with my husband, a friend or co-worker is one of the most important moments of my day (3 times a day!). My own practice led me to realize that I look to the herbs for different benefits at different times of the day. And that’s why each blend is named for a specific hour. The 8AM, The 4PM and The 10PM. For this collection, we collaborated with master herbalist Rehmannia Dean Thomas. They’re the blends I’ve always wanted and I couldn’t be more proud of what we’ve created.
Cindy: I’m incredibly proud of our book, High Vibrational Beauty: Recipes and Rituals for Radical Self Care. I never really understood the idea of two authors, but Kerrilynn and I sat side by side and wrote each and every sentence together. We conceived of each recipe, tasted and tweaked it all and talked through every ritual. It’s a true representation of how we live. When it came time to shoot the book, the pressure was really on. I’ve styled countless cookbooks for others but knew this had to feel magical. We put together a great team and it all fell into place.
How do you define success in your art or craft, or alternately, what does failure mean to you?
Cindy: Anytime I know I’ve inspired someone to choose health. Anytime I know these choices have helped them find vibrancy and life force, I know I’ve done my job. It’s what we live for at CAP. It’s what fuels us everyday.
What criteria do you use to evaluate your own work?
Cindy: Having worked on photo shoots for countless lifestyle, food and fashion brands, I learned to evaluate a great image through a simple question: “Do I want to be there?” I always question whether the images we make and the copy we write encourage our audience to climb on board. Can I inspire someone through a single picture or caption to adopt a new habit, to pick clean beauty and healthier choices? There’s magic in that. At the end of the day we want high health for all.
Do you have any objects you like to keep around you as inspiration? What are they?
Kerrilynn: I am a deep, deep lover of animals and find endless inspiration in the animal kingdom. The objects that inspire me most are those that represent this realm, from a photograph by my husband, John, of one of our rescue dogs to an icon or statue of a horse, all of these remind me of the vastness of life, of the importance of caring for others and the planet. I am also an avid reader and love to surround myself with books that inspire and inform me.
Cindy: Too many! A pair of Chinese porcelain horses from another century (one graces the cover of our book!), drawings and letters from friends, pottery, porcelain, crystals, shells, art by my children and books! Always books!
Do you have a daily working routine? Can you describe it?
Kerrilynn: I love a system and am always looking for ways to streamline and create consistency in my day. The calendar is my most important tool and I love to have everything from staff meetings and strategic planning sessions to workouts and meditations scheduled as recurring events. In theory this frees me up for more spontaneous, creative thought. Of course as CEO of a growing company, I’m often pulled away! It’s my job to be nimble too. But the base plan keeps me sane.
Cindy: As a stylist and creative director I thrive on change. I love that every day looks different. But I do have some working rituals that I try and uphold. On non-shooting days I start at my desk with an organic espresso from Jack’s. I do a “brain dump” or a handwritten list of everything I’d like to accomplish. The items I tackle first are the easiest to get done. The lists are so analogue and messy but it’s how I work best. I also make sure to fit in my self care non-negotiables: green juice, yoga or running and focused time with my family. Without these, I’m simply not my best.
How is your work inspired by or influenced by nature and your surroundings?
Kerrilynn: I was born and raised on the West Coast, in Portland, Oregon, and the West Coast light and air are a constant source of inspiration and drive. I love that CAP Beauty not only put down roots in LA, but is so embraced by the community there. In so many ways, it’s like coming home.
Cindy: I wish my surroundings included more nature! I live in New York City and there isn’t much nature, but there’s endless inspiration here. From street style to sniper ads to a gorgeous store window or perfectly plated meal, there’s always something to look at. I take it all in and I’m sure it affects me in ways I don’t even realize. I just started spending weekends outside the city in upstate New York. The quiet and the mountain air are so rejuvenating and are helping me find a different voice for sure. City and country. There’s beauty in the balance.
What do you do, or where do you go to seek fresh ideas or renewed creative energy?
Kerrilynn: Los Angeles! And to the high deserts of Oregon and Southern California.
Cindy: I have a handful of friends, all of them fine artists, who really get the wheels turning. And as busy as we all are, it’s so important to me to be in touch, to spend real, focused time together.
Do you see your work as part of an artistic tradition? Where does your work depart from artistic tradition and move into new territory?
Kerrilynn: Natural beauty is a constantly evolving landscape with so much emerging science and thought. I love seeing the collective conscience shift. Natural beauty is no longer the alternative, but the only choice for many these days. I like to think that companies like CAP have something to do with that.
Cindy: I’m so lucky to have been taught by some of the best photographers and designers of my time, and hope to express even a fraction of what they’ve given me, but the days of print and perfection are behind us. Social channels like Instagram Stories are challenging me to embrace the mess, the hapless and imperfect. Its challenging and exciting all at once.
Who are some current artists, creators, or people working in other fields whose work you admire? What is a new idea you have been working with recently?
Kerrilynn: I’m constantly looking to the work of others for stimulation and influence. It’s why I became a retailer and sharing the work of others is as important to me as creating my own. There are really too many to name but off the top of my head:
The ceramicist Simone Bodmer Turner, the jeweler Irene Neuwirth, the chef Greg Arnold, the geniuses behind Destroyer LA, the angel and dog rescuer Chrissy Beckles from The Sato Project and the Feng Shui High Priestess Meghan Wallace James.
Did you have any mentors or important creative influences?
Cindy: My dear friend, the painter and sculptor Storm Tharp, taught me more than I can express about how to look at the world, how to look at art. John von Pamer, Kerrilynn’s husband and our principal photographer, pushes me out of my safety zone to help me see photography in a new way. And longtime friends and collaborators, David Prince, Andrea Gentl and Marty Hyers (Gentl and Hyers) are constant sources of learning and inspiration.
Did you have any artists or creative people in your family? If so, how did they influence you?
Kerrilynn: My husband John is a brilliant photographer and our 20 years together have shaped the way I see the world. His eye is a fundamental part of how our brand has developed. (He shoots almost every picture we take for CAP!) He’s also a musician, a drummer and makes the best playlists on earth. We play the upbeat ones in the store at CAP and his more ethereal, psychedelic ones in the spa. Living amongst art is so important to me. So is living amongst an artist.
Cindy: My great grandfather, Otto Henry Bacher, was an American impressionist and his son, my grandfather, was a painter and potter. My mom made pottery too. I grew up surrounded by their work, oil paintings, etchings and ceramics, and my aesthetic is certainly informed by them, especially by my mom who interpreted this aesthetic into a sense of style and taste. Growing up with art also instilled in me the understanding that there’s power in visual language. My dad’s side of the family is deeply literary. His brother is a Shakespeare director and his sister a Beat poet. It’s no surprise that my work is so focused on pictures and words.