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Beautiful design: a chat with elli’s Creative Director, Lia Griffiths

Nothing says “Happy Holidays” like sending a gorgeous card to a friend or family member. The creative team at elli knows this as well as anyone, and have spent years building a following that loves the timeless designs they produce. 

They’re on zulily today—you can find the event here—and elli’s ever-talented Creative Director, Lia Griffith was kind enough to answer a few of our questions. 

Below, Lia touches on the inspiration behind her creations, her favorite holiday to design for, and what makes elli’s offerings so perfect for zulily members. Enjoy the read, and make sure to take us up on today’s great deal here!

zulily: Thank you for joining us Lia! Will you tell us a little about your role at elli and how you arrived there?


I am the Creative Director at elli. I started with the parent company almost 4 years ago, leading creative development for the DIY wedding site. Though I do love designing for weddings, it is creating for kids and holidays that I find myself gravitating towards. The opportunity to combine the best of all in our new elli shop has been a dream come true for me.

z: What are the most important characteristics that elli’s design team share?

We love what we do! We are incredibly focused on creating really beautiful, clever and original designs. Each of us bring a different look and perspective to the site which rounds out our collection very nicely. What is the very first thing you do when starting the design process on a new project? Research. I always want to know what is trending in apparel, interior and print design.

z: Which holiday is the most fun to design for?

Christmas. I say that confidently despite the fact the team just spent the last 4 months with our heads in Christmasland. I love the traditional colors and themes for Christmas, and adding the unexpected non-traditional brings additional fun to designing for this season.

z: Do you follow the work of other designers? Who are your design role models?

I do follow the work of other designers. I have a long list of blogs that I follow and at least half of them are designer blogs. Most of my role models are people in the apparel and interior realm. I love Cynthia Rowley, Jonathan Adler and Alexander McQueen to name a few. Random, huh? 

z: elli is based in Portland, Oregon. Does working in the Pacific Northwest affect your design taste?

Other than putting a bird on it… just kidding… In some ways I think it does though, we intentionally look internationally for inspiration. One perfect example of our Northwest perspective is that we all designed “Happy Holiday” cards for the first two months of our current collection. We then realized the traditional “Merry Christmas” might be what some customers would be looking for, so we all jumped in and rounded out our designs to include Christmas.

z: The blog at ellinee.com features a variety of great DIY projects. Do you have a kid-friendly favorite that moms can do with their little ones?

We do have a lot of kid themed crafts, and though I am targeting the moms and teachers, I have had some wonderful reports of children being involved on many of my DIY projects. I aspire to create my tutorials so all levels of ability can craft. One of the favorites, and perfect for the season, is the paper snowflake. Gorgeous and easy to make!

z: Any easy DIY Halloween costume ideas you can share with our readers?

DIY Wolf Costume

I did do a post for a fun and simple DIY Halloween wolf hoodie. I made the pattern in adult, kids and baby size. This costume is super easy and oh so cute. I would love to make a whole series of animal hoodies… maybe next Halloween? So much of your work is paper based.

z: Where does Elli fit in as more people use digital devices to communicate.

I feel that printed invitations and photo card have become even more precious and a very impactful way to add that much needed personal touch in the era of digital white noise.

z: How can parents spark their little ones’ interest in art & design?

This I can speak to on a very personal level as I have a daughter who has recently bloomed as an artist. Here is my list: 1) Do art and crafts with your kids. Starting when they are young is ideal but it is never too late. Kids are natural artists. 2) Display their creations and encourage them to gift their projects to grandparents and other family members. 3) Make art and crafts accessible by keeping the tools and materials at their finger tips. One last note … I think we all can find joy in crafting and creating no matter what our age. So the craft night you set up for your kids, could be equally fun for the adults too!

z: What makes elli’s offering so perfect for zulily’s members and moms?

We offer a wonderful collection of holiday photo cards and kid’s holiday party invites as well as a nice selection of new born baby and kid’s birthday sets.

We are in LOVE with elli’s offering and encourage all you design-minded zulily moms out there to take advantage of today’s event.

Again, a big thank you to Lia for joining joining us. We’re fans for life!

Readers, who or where do you look to for design inspiration? Reblog and let us know!

Holiday from elli

World Oceans Day Chat with the Dr. Seuss team and The Ocean Project

In celebration of World Oceans Day, we invited our friends from Dr. Seuss Enterprises and The Ocean Project to answer a few questions about ocean conservation. Below is the transcript from our chat. Enjoy!

zulily: We want to welcome our friends at Dr. Seuss Enterprises (DSE) and The Ocean Project/World Oceans Day to zulily. Can you tell us a little about your organizations and their involvement in World Oceans Day?

The Ocean Project: Thanks for having us zulily! World Oceans Day is a global celebration of the ocean held every June 8th. We have over 300 events listed on the website right now—many of which are at zoos & aquariums featuring Dr. Seuss activities and give-aways for all ages! You can find an event near you at http://worldoceansday.org/USA and internationally http://worldoceansday.org/events

Dr. Seuss: Dr. Seuss Enterprises (DSE) is excited to be a part of their 3rd WOD event! Over the past 3 years we have partnered with our friends at The Ocean Project to create program manuals targeted at children with fun games, activities, event ideas etc. These manuals support their zoo and aquarium members to build fantastic events for their June 8th-June 10th celebrations.

Dr. Seuss: We’re so glad to be a part of all the exciting activities in support of World Oceans Day and are happy to be here today - thanks for hosting zulily!

zulily: It is a wonderful cause and we’re excited to be a part of it as well. How long has World Oceans Day been celebrated and how did it begin?

The Ocean Project: World Oceans Day has been officially celebrated since it was UN-recognized in 2008, a result of The Ocean Project and our partners’ dedicated campaigning! It was originally proposed in 1992 by the Government of Canada at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. It’s been quickly growing globally ever since!

zulily: What are some easy ways for families to get involved in Ocean conservation efforts?

The Ocean Project: A great way to get involved is to go to a World Oceans Day event at your local zoo or aquarium! 

Also, research has shown that the #1 indicator of environmentally responsible citizens is -positive nature experiences as children.- So please do bring your kids outside and foster a love for nature! You can help in many ways, but the first is to set a great example for kids. 

You can also team up with parents in your school system to ask the school to be more environmentally friendly, start a car pool going to/home from school, etc! Basically: get involved and take action.

OneFish1zulily: How did Dr. Seuss Enterprises become involved with The Ocean Project and World Oceans Day?

Dr. Seuss: Ted Geisel (a.k.a “Dr. Seuss”) was an early advocate for conservation and DSE continually looks for ways to carry on his work.

2009 marked the 50th anniversary of One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish. Given our commitment to conservation efforts and the theme of the book, a partnership with The Ocean Project, who does such wonderful work, was a natural fit.

zulily: Dr. Seuss was well known for his ability to connect with and inspire young readers. Why is it so important to get children interested in oceans and marine life an early age?

The Ocean Project: As I mentioned before, positive experiences with nature as kids is the #1 factor that results in adults who care for the environment! Fostering a love and connection with marine environments and wildlife help kids understand why its important to care for them, and results in them taking ACTION to protect them as adults. Especially if you live in an urban area, it’s very important to take your child outside often in order to form a connection to the natural world.

Whit: What are some good charities for ocean conservation?

The Ocean Project: Bbviously I’m biased and would said The Ocean Project! http://worldoceansday.org/?page_id=2858 But you can see a more neutral list of effective environmental non-profits here: http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2006/03/guide-environmental-non-profits

OneFishzulily: Of course Dr. Seuss’s most famous oceans-related story is One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. Why does this book resonate with so many readers, young and old?

Dr. Seuss: Like many Dr. Seuss books it’s the characters, the fun rhyme, the imagination. His approach to story-telling was unique and his drawings whimsical and one-of-a-kind. Children who grew up listening to their parents reading Dr. Seuss books oftentimes grow up being parents who share these beloved stories with their children.

Beth: Isn’t it true that less than 10% of the ocean has been explored by humans? Seems like a great reason to protect the ocean’s future!

The Ocean Project: Yes! An estimated 50-80% of all life on earth is found under the ocean surface and the oceans contain 99% of the living space on the planet. We have better maps of the surface of Mars and the moon than we do the bottom of the ocean.

zulily: A “wave” of thanks to The Ocean Project and Dr. Seuss for taking the time to answer a few questions! Find an event near you and make ocean conservation a family tradition! Visit WorldOceansDay.org for more information!

The Ocean Project: Thanks for your support everyone!

Dr. Seuss: Thanks zulily for hosting! And Dr. Seuss fans - you can find all the latest news, sweepstakes and contest on the Dr. Seuss FB page.:) Happy WOD everyone! We hope you find a local event near you and take part in the celebration.