Starting as a copywriter in an industry of which I held average knowledge – about furniture, the difference between a pattern and a solid, that light bulbs have differing wattages, and perhaps a couple more – was a little intimidating, I’ll admit. Luckily, my co-workers hold much more than an average knowledge and are [still] willing to teach me and give me resources related to specific terms, period pieces, patterns, materials, and more (who knew that rugs can have varying piles and that velour and velvet are actually significantly different enough to warrant a differentiation, and that Pennsylvania Dutch Hex Signs are popular folk art symbols used on décor and not something to curse your enemies with). And luckily, I’m interested in learning about these characteristics and more – like how wool appliqued pillows can absolutely not be put in the washing machine. This is important to my copy primarily because most of this information is necessary in accurately describing the products, but also because I can be more creative when I know the history of cherished folk art traditions and how to describe certain textures and colors – especially since I am writing for a customer who most likely knows more about these things than I do.
Not knowing specific qualities of the things I surround myself with doesn’t mean I am into bland, colorless accents (although my favorite color to dress myself in is black). And yes, I like to surround myself with *things,* although as I think about it, significant, common accumulation is most apparent in three categories: books, coffee mugs, and blankets/throws. And writing about décor has pushed me further into knowing what styles I like (and dislike), which is appearing to me less like a mixed bag and more like complementary comforts in varieties of colors and patterns (and genres if we’re talking about books and literature).
What makes it easier for me to write about décor I wouldn’t necessarily put into my own apartment, is that somewhere someone is looking at a 60’s style chair in our catalog and when I specify it’s velour and not velvet and the pattern is a lover’s knot, that description triggers a memory of a childhood home, treasured family history, or some other heart-string-tugger; and that I can relate to. It’s not shallow to put such high value on inanimate objects, because we’re either comforting ourselves physically or seeking comfort in memories that hold mental and emotional value to us outside of said physical object.
I am definitely not a minimalist when it comes to objects and keeping things (the term is not “pack-rat,” it’s “collector”). Too many things hold too many memories and comforts for me to even think about getting rid of them, and really, why should I contribute to the garbage piles of the world by throwing things away (I know this is a little contradictory because of the potentially trashy processes carried out to create these things I love, but sometimes I like to hide behind the smoke cloud that is the fact I do keep all of these things)? I truly don’t believe I’m excessive; gold bathrooms are unnecessarily silly and…okay I have serious distaste with gold bathrooms and I just wanted to get that out. But don’t think for a second if I see or feel a beautifully made throw or a sassy, charming mug I won’t purchase it in a minute. They may cover every inch of my apartment and seem like they don’t coordinate, but through writing for items that comfort other people I’ve decided that I’m completely comfortable with holding these items close to me; and hey, even if you disagree with me you’ll always be warm, have something to read, and have something from which to drink when you visit me. Excellent memory making ingredients.