Emici Livet is a prestigious and celebrated accessory company owned by Marie Conrad. Marie’s elegant, extraordinary, one-of-a-kind pieces are all lovingly handmade to compliment every bride and bridal party. Her artistic masterpieces are created to be treasured for a lifetime. Marie Conrad believes that “living is about love, being present in the moment and appreciating beauty in even the smallest of things.”
Hi Marie, thank you for speaking with Crème de la Bride.
How many years have you been in this industry? What prompted you to start your own business?
I began 16 years ago creating ring bearer pillows, and it was always something I wanted to do, and I thought I should make it a business; otherwise, I will have a house full of stuff. It has grown from there, it kept evolving; it’s a lot of fun.
It was a natural thing. I don’t think I was prompted, I just had to do it. I can’t really imagine not doing it.
How did you come up with the name for your company? It is very interesting!
MEC are my initials, but when I wanted to have a website, it doesn’t work because it would have been M.E.C. So I didn’t want it to be difficult to type in a web address. So I changed MEC to the phonetic spelling. My family is Norwegian and Swedish and they have been creative forever. I have in my office a purse that my great-grandmother wove out of pine needles and raffia ribbon that is amazing. It’s similar to a basket but has a silk lining and really intricate. It’s in my office in a glass case. I wanted to honour my family and all of the inspiration that they’ve given me, so Livet is Norwegian and it means “The Life”. That’s what I want to design for, I want to design for life celebrations and all the things that we go through as we live that are wonderful and beautiful and give us inspiration. So that’s what Livet means.
Where were you born and raised?
I was born in Seattle, Washington. I was raised in Washington State back and forth from Spokane to Seattle, which are on opposite sides of Washington. It was in the country and in the city, so I’ve had a lot of experience in both; but Washington State, that’s where I was born and raised.
Where is your company based?
My company is based in Spokane, Washington; that’s where my studio is.
Were there any influences behind your work? Or were you self-taught?
I am self-taught. My influences are my family just to create in general. But I am completely self-taught in what I do and that’s just been over the years acquiring tools and techniques, experimenting ad seeing what works. To me, that’s all part of the process. I want to learn, so being self-taught, I think, is just part of how I work; I want to do that, so now I’m going to figure out how to do that. That’s what motivates me.
Could you please share with us a little about your designs?
My designs are actually conceptual in my own head; they all have emotion or a meaning. Sometimes, it’s more obvious that I’m conveying that idea; there are certain bouquets that have names. I go into actually illustrating why they are what they are, but the construction of them, I think, is what makes them unique and the process that I go through to create them. I use antique tools such as die cutters, and molds, and these tools that are about 100 years old. They are very rare, each one is unique and they give me the tools and the opportunities to create something that is so tailored and so special; that you just can’t find. The components themselves then are taken from fabrics that I might dye different shades. I do certain things to them, to take the process as far back as I can, to even creating the leaves and the flowers that I use; making my designs even that more unique, and special, something that you just can’t find anywhere else.
What do you think sets you apart from others in your industry?
Well, my first thought to that is the process I go through, in the very beginning, start back as far as I can in creating the pieces. I think of an artist, when you give the same people paint and paint brushes, the outcome is going to be completely different. I think it’s just my signature in the pieces that makes it different.
What has been your favourite and most memorable wedding so far?
I don’t get to see my clients get married, because I’m usually sending these pieces to different brides and clients all over the world, but when I work with them I become friends with a lot of them, and they send me photos, it’s amazing. I had a bride who was eloping at Ashford Castle in Ireland, so I made her bouquet and a boutonnière for her husband; they eloped and she sent me the photos and it was beautiful. About a year and a half later, I received an email from her and it is her baby daughter on a really beautiful chair with her wedding dress draped around her daughter and the bouquet in the background. These pieces that I create, I intend for them to be heirlooms and to last forever. For me to see that is so special, that is really meaningful to me. I have another client who now lives in Saudi Arabia and she sent me a photo of the bouquet that I created for her that is in a glass case that’s in her house; and another photo from the wedding that her mom had in her house. So when I see the lives that these pieces carry on, that’s really meaningful to me.
Have any of your designs been showcased in certain editorial profiles?
I’ve had pieces featured in publications for magazines, Town and Country Weddings, and Modern Bride, and a couple of others; it has been very exciting, it has been a blessing.
Do you have a team that works with you?
I have people that help me to maintain my tools. I work with a man in Seattle who is helping me to cast these molds. So I have a team in that way. When it comes down to designs and the actual construction of the piece themselves, that’s all done by me in the studio.
What ideas predominantly inspire you to bring something exquisite and innovating to the creation of your designs?
The pieces themselves are meant to be a celebration of the time that they’re used in and they are meant to convey the idea that was in that moment. I want to do that by using the very best materials that I can; and things that are exquisite if they’re looked at years later. I have a bouquet – it’s called “Light Heart” – it has so many fresh water pearls and white topaz and crystal quartz and rhinestones. It’s absolutely stunning, but that is not anything that I have ever seen before. I want to create something I’ve never seen before and use materials that you don’t often see when you have a mainstream production of something. So that inspires me to use those materials and to do all that because it’s something I want to stand out forever.
Where do you normally ship your designs? Do you ship all over the world?
Yes, it’s all over the world. New York, Dubai, Australia, Canada, all over the U.S.
Do you have any special pieces that you can offer a bride?
I do, there are so many. Well, anything I create I think is special, but the bouquets I think are the pinnacle of a keepsake because it’s what you hold when you’re getting married and it’s going to be in the photos. It’s something that is an heirloom and the bouquets they’re actually…each stem is a finished piece; and so years later these bouquets can be taken apart and passed on to loved ones. Let’s say you have two daughters. You can actually split it and they can incorporate these things into their wedding. They’re each have their own individual finished stem so it gives you so much flexibility in the years to come and with a lot of symbolism tied to it.
Does your company offer special services for brides and bridesmaids?
I am actually beginning to design keepsake gifts so there will be certain things that are not necessarily bridal which is wonderful because then it can be repurposed. So certain clips that can be added to a clutch or shoe clips or possibly other things such as jewellery that can be created in these molds are made to sterling silver, or gold, or platinum; things that will be keepsakes but they aren’t bridal themes so it can go on and on.
Would you like to share with the magazine, and our audience, any exciting endeavours that are coming down the road for you?
Well, I’m always excited! You can call me any day and I’m going to be absolutely thrilled about something! There’s so many tools that are being created. I have about 40 new molds that are being created that will be coming to the studio over time, and these are exclusive to the studio; which for me is another thing that can set my work apart and give me more to create for my client. All of these things are really special and that to me is extremely exciting, just learning the new techniques and all these new pieces that will be coming to life. More conceptual pieces…”Evergreen” the leaf bouquet, which symbolizes enduring love; it’s going to go through a second phase which symbolises growth, so those things I get really excited about.
Thank you so much, Marie, for speaking with Crème de la Bride. We are so excited to see what beautiful creations you unfold this year!
Bouquets: Emici Livet
Photographer: Meg Fish Photography
All veils, hairpieces, jewellery (except rings and stud earrings): Eden Luxe Bridal
Silk ribbon: Stella Wolfe
Model: Bradleigh Flack
Hair: Savant Hair
Long sleeve gowns: Sareh Nouri
Sleeveless gowns: Jared Alexander Bridal
Rings and stud earrings: Susie Saltzman