maven muse- cold picnic

 Phoebe + Peter in their Brooklyn studio. Photo by Bridget Badore

Phoebe + Peter in their Brooklyn studio. Photo by Bridget Badore

Duo Phoebe Sung + Peter Buer make up the design force behind one of our favorite brands in the shop: Cold Picnic. Formed in 2010, the brand is easily identifiable by its artful approach to home decor and design-focused accessories. 

We got the chance to ask the couple some questions about what it's like working together, what inspired their most recent collection and even ask them to gush about those two adorable pups of theirs. 


Cold Picnic seems to do it all! Leather bags, an assortment of home goods, jewelry..can you explain why the brand dabbles in many different mediums?

PETER: Well we have finally begun to scale down so I'm afraid you may not be finding us doing quite so much in the future! Cold Picnic actually begun as a jewelry line, and shortly after we started, we opened up a shop in Williamsburg with a friend. I think we were a little naive - it ended up not being for us. But because our budget was so small, we started making things to fill out the store. We started with handmade soaps and shampoos, room sprays, and then moved onto bags, plant hangers and wall hangings. By the time we left the shop after a year we had already incorporated many of the new products into the brand, and found it hard to give them up. 

Do either of you have backgrounds in design? If so, what field? And how has that influenced your work?

PHOEBE: I have a BA in fine arts with an emphasis on sculpture, and a BFA in fashion design, as well as a few years in corporate fashion as a designer. Peter also has a BFA in fashion, and worked as an apparel designer and a CAD designer. I'm not sure how much either of our training informed our work. Certainly working in corporate design drove us towards independent, smaller scale and more sustainable design, but it also gave us structure, organization and discipline (or it gave them to me, I think Peter may have always had these qualities). As far as influences go, I think both of us are inspired by the sources we turn to outside of school and work - film, art, travel (or travel wish lists). We started Cold Picnic as a side project to work on during the weekends, and so we incorporated the things we were interested in when we let our minds wander. 

What is it like running a small business as a couple? Do you share the many aspects involved or do you have specific rolls?

PETER: We see a lot of each other, that's for sure. We moved in together a few months after we met and we've always worked together, if informally at first - in school we "shared" tasks and worked at the same company two or three times. So running the business together came fairly naturally to us. We both design the collections and do the daily work like emails and packing and shipping. Phoebe works a little more with wholesale clients and I work a little more with the factories but that's just habit. 

 The Square Rug from the Passenger Collection. Available in 2x3 at  maven  photo from cold picnic 

The Square Rug from the Passenger Collection. Available in 2x3 at maven photo from cold picnic 

We recently added some of the Passenger collection to our store, tell us what inspired these painting-like rugs?

PHOEBE: The Passenger rugs were inspired by a film by Michelangelo Antonioni of the same name. We've watched it so many times over the years, and it's seeped into and influenced so many different aspects of our lives - vacations, haircuts, senior theses. With the rugs, we were mainly looking at the landscapes in the film, which takes place in Spain, England, Germany and Africa. The colors are especially unforgettable, and we wanted to recreate the feeling of fleeing through all these amazing cities and deserts. 

Cold Picnic just launched a collection of quilted throw blankets that are so beautiful! Anything else exciting in store for the brand that you can share?

PETER: Thank you! We had so much fun with those. Unfortunately our factory didn't - they were all hand printed but the print was so large-scale that they said they didn't want to make them again. So the quilts will hopefully be coming back, if with a somewhat different different construction. Hopefully this fall!

And most importantly! Your two dogs! Are they related? What breed are they? Ages? Names? We are slightly obsessed and enjoy your instagram stories of them so much :)

PHOEBE: Phillip and Daisy! They're both some kind of collie or shepherd mix. The shorter stockier one is Phillip. We're not sure about where he came from, only that he just turned 8 and we've been completely obsessed with him since we got him 5 years ago. Daisy is a puppy, she's about to turn 1. She came from a feral dog colony in the South. Her mother and several siblings were completely terrified of humans. We were fostering for a while through a wonderful organization called Big Fluffy Dog Rescue, and hoping to eventually find a calm, dignified older dog to be a companion to Phillip. Daisy was supposed to be in and out - we wanted to get a puppy out of our system, and figured she'd get adopted before she could destroy too much. But surprisingly Phillip loved her! So we had to keep her. She is a handful, and has gone through two trainers and countless shoes, but she also makes us and Phillip so happy every day.