\

Carla Stolper

Hi. my name is… Carla Stolper

My company is… CFMichaels

I’m the… Owner, CEO, Scout, Designer, Editor, Photographer

I make/design/create… CFMichaels is a new online boutique offering a curated collection of vintage textiles, art and storied home accessories. We’re on the ground, based in Thailand, hand sourcing unique and beautiful pieces and the authentic works of generational artisans across SE Asia. Our inventory consists primarily of one-of-a-kind items so will continually evolve.  Services may soon add to the mix.

Through the blog, we plan to contextualize the products we offer by pairing them with design trade favorites, and by showcasing this corner of the world and our good-life finds from a design and travel perspective.

Something you need to know about me is... I grew up with music in the house most every day, would most likely take music over a book to a deserted island. I take my playlists very seriously. To some of my guests’ delight and others’ chagrin, I have a tendency to break out the disco. Sometimes the setting is inappropriate and I have to fight the urge, even when I’m convinced more dancing less talking is the way to go.

Here’s how this company came to be... Essentially I decided that I couldn’t move around the world again without building something from this unique opportunity I have.  I wanted to somehow leverage my years of global living and travel and combine that with my longtime love of interiors and the hunt for beautiful things.  It didn’t take long after arriving in SE Asia to see that the region is rich in remarkable things - it was the right place and the right time.  So with that, a design sense, and both travel and the “art of acquisition” second nature, I needed a portable venue.  Letting go of the notion that I could create a website on my own and hiring professionals to develop an e-commerce site really transformed the process and the momentum.  Although we’re infants, I love what we’ve introduced and I’m excited to see how we evolve.

My absolute favorite thing we sell right now is… I love the patina and leopard-like pattern of this Nepalese singing bowl.  And the long history and noted benefits of these bowls is so intriguing.  They’re made of seven metals representing seven planets, and, as the story goes, their sound and shape connect to the chakras in the body.  But it’s also just a great looking piece. I also think the vintage Javanese children’s tops are so fun – I love the global vibe they’d add to a nursery or playroom and the stories you could share and imagine.

Here’s a sneak peek of something we’re working on now… Traveling across Thailand and other countries here in SE Asia I always have one eye on textiles.  I’m currently slicing and dicing and combining the pieces I’ve amassed to create some “CFMichaels exclusives.”  It’s an exciting endeavor with loads of creative potential.  Stay tuned.

I’m most proud of… That I’ve seen it through and can now see something tangible after years of daydreaming. I just want to enjoy it and every opportunity that hopefully unfolds.

I really detest…The business of business.  I’m a slight overachiever in the organization department, but spreadsheets and numbers and overall admin send me reeling.

I could never have done it without this person... Hands down my husband. There are some people in this world who just seem to get it, on every level. He’s the smartest, most supportive and selfless person I know. He’s both indulged my whims and shown me the way more times than I can count.  Although I may be quick to profess I had the fortitude to do it all on my own, not so.

I consistently read these for inspiration… Cloth & Kind (...why thanks, Carla! xx K&T), Quintessence, and I still love a hardcopy - Elle Décor, Arch Digest, House Beautiful,Veranda, T&C, my library of design books and new ones that come on the scene.

It’s a departure from design, but I have to add biographies.  I’m really motivated by stories of people who have an unimaginable capacity for endurance and will to persevere when faced with extreme challenges or adverse conditions or the gravity of a situation. They provide such perspective and a “whew!” moment of clarity, not to mention a profound appreciation for things.

I would like to share the limelight with… Ellie Edelhoff is an American photographer living here in Thailand whose work deserves recognition on a larger stage.  She has such a gifted and creative eye and captures such arresting truths about people and the spirit of places in her images, which span India, Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan and SE Asia.  We’re happy to say CFMichaels offers a couple favorites in our introductory collection, but you can also purchase and see the full range of her work at ellieedelhoff.smugmug.com.

IMAGE CREDITS | All images provided by Carla Stolper of CF Michaels expect the last, which is photography by Ellie Edelhoff.