When life gives you a deli in Park View, you make The Lemon Collective. With workshops ranging from tarot reading to floral arranging, this design-driven maker space and event studio is the brainchild of Sill Life founder Holley Simmons, interdisciplinary artist Kathryn Zaremba, and fiber artist and interior stylist Linny Giffin. Holley, Linny, and TLC member and floral designer Lily Cox stopped by our Bethesda HQ to chat with Streetsense Interior Designer and fellow TLC member Claire Keane. Check out the highlights.
On the origin story:
Holley, then a full-time food reporter at the Washington Post, caught wind of the empty lot from a café owner friend looking for a tenant. At the time, Holley was just starting up her terrarium-making business. Though she had “a very patient roommate and a very strong vacuum,” it was time to branch out into a new space. Linny and Kathryn were game to share a studio, and the three soon realized they could add another dimension to the workspace by opening it up to the community.
On the opportunity:
The ladies jumped at the chance to offer a distinctive creative outlet to the DC community. Said Holley, “For a long time there’s been a void in DC for a place to make a mess and express something.”
On the audience:
The Lemon Collective is most popular among young professionals, primarily women. Nonprofit and government workers looking for a creative outlet make up the bulk of the bunch.
On standout makers:
Upholsterer Nicole Crowder and accessory designer Carolyn Misterek topped the list.
On growing the business and expansion potential:
While the founders don’t currently plan to open another space, they’ve recently partnered with Amtrak to bring in workshop leaders and experts from beyond DC, bolstering their offerings.
On the best parts of what they do:
The Lemon Collective is both a testing ground for new businesses and a launchpad for creative collaborations. Its founders are surprised and excited by the strong sense of community that it has fostered. The team frequently receives inquiries from designers looking to connect with local makers. “We love being a resource for all that’s creative in DC,” said Linny.