Most do not know that Amélie’s has a workspace that we refer to as “The Factory”. In part, it is where much of the magic behind the Amélie’s brand happens. It is the brainchild of our designer and partner, Brenda Knight Ische. We sat down with Brenda and asked her to share a little history about The Factory and to describe it in her own works. Let us take you on a little tour of what we learned.
What is The Factory?
Five years ago in an effort and pressing need to consolidate several storage lockers and workspaces, the Amélie’s Factory was born. It is approximately 900 square feet of work space where Brenda find her inspiration and creates the mosaics, chandeliers, tables and many more items you see in our bakeries.
How did The Factor come by its name?
Its name, The Factory, is a homage to Andy Warhol, whose famous studio in NYC was named the same and whose art Brenda admires.
On any given day, what can be found in The Factory?
Copious items hang from the rafters and fill the shelves waiting to incubate and become a piece of Amelie’s decor. Brenda often purchases items unsure of what she will use them for. A second-hand piece that is overscaled, one of a kind, unusual or makes her smile will often come back to live at The Factory until inspiration hits her. To the casual observer, her studio would appear a cornucopia of chaos.
What is Brenda’s favorite part of The Factory?
Brenda shares that her favorite part of The Factory is difficult to nail down, “I love the building, which houses several artist friends. I love being in a space that inspires creativity with every turn of the head. I also love having most everything I need at my fingertips.”
What is the importance of The Factory to Amélie’s?
The Factory is an important slice of the delicious Amelie’s cake. Brenda explains, “Our food is handcrafted, unique and made with love. It is equally important that the decor represents a similar aesthetic with an old-world, hands-on approach.”
From where does Brenda draw inspiration from for her designs?
Her inspiration comes from seeing everything as something else. She often studies an item and contemplates its history and potential. One of her favorite mantras is, “A door is never just a door.”
What is the design aesthetic of Amélie’s?
Brenda’s decor goal at Amélie’s is to provide a comfortable and smile-inducing ambiance for our customers. Brenda responded, “Having six locations across three states, it is becoming more difficult to create original pieces in higher volume,” when asked what her greatest challenge is.
Where do the furniture and furnishings come from?
Amelie’s is a big supporter of Habitat for Humanity ReStores. Approximately 75% of all furnishings originate in some form from their stores. Shopping for treasures at ReStores in our community and across the country helps to eliminate landfill waste, inspires my creativity and most importantly, provides shelter for needy families in our area. Goodwill, Craigslist, and antique/second-hand stores are also on my list of hunting spots, as are Lowe’s and Home Depot.
Do you have any favorite pieces that you have created?
Brenda admitted that it is difficult to name a favorite piece, so she selected two. First, and in no specific order, is the Amélie’s signature pot and pan chandelier that greets guests in each bakery and second is the huge musical chandelier in Amélie’s Uptown.