For the Swanson sisters, artistry runs in the family. Whether crouched behind the camera, leaning over the drawing board, or gazing over a vineyard of ripe grapes, this powerhouse group of three has creativity pumping through their veins. Interior design, high fashion, and exquisite photography define the well-crafted careers of Alexis, Veronica and Claiborne. This colorful trio supports each other’s passions, constantly looking to one another for advice, encouragement, and creative inspiration. For them, family is an integral part of success.
When they’re not snapping beautiful pictures, designing elegant clothing, or curating a wine brand, these San Francisco natives live happy and energized lives. We were lucky enough to get a sneak peek into some of their beauty, business and everyday favorites.
For starting your business
Veronica : My sister-in-law Veronica Miele Beard and I started our company six years ago with the intention of creating a collection of can’t-live-without pieces. We launched with the dickey jacket, which is still our signature item. We were inspired by all the women who make it happen everyday while still looking amazing doing it. Veronica Beard is a go-to for clothing that rides the line between cool and classic.
Your intuition is everything – listen to yourself and know what feels right and wrong and, most importantly, authentic.
How to be an effective leader
Veronica : I think the most important leadership qualities are vision, intuition and decisiveness. You have to be able to visualize your dreams so you can live them into reality. Your intuition is everything – listen to yourself and know what feels right and wrong and, most importantly, authentic. Decisiveness is vital. You have to be very clear about what your business is about, what your brand looks like and acts like. If you can’t answer this, you can’t expect anyone who works for you to understand its essence.
How to stay creative
Claiborne : I am always looking for ways to feed my soul. I love to take walks in nature, drink lots of green tea, and pray. I feel that being connected to God is when I am at my most creative.
We transformed a small room in our house, covering the walls in peacock feathers, installing dark teal-colored bookcases, a pair of silver grotto chairs and a little corner banquet; we created a magical little dining nook, large enough for two adults only.
For creating an interior masterpiece
Alexis : I love to tell a story in any way I can, on the dinner table, on an invitation, in a care package, when creating products. Interiors offer the opportunity to tell a personal story or fantasy, precisely as you interpret it. For example, Linda Fargo has long been one of our design heroes—and we wanted to recreate our own BERGDORF window folly. So, we transformed a small room in our house, covering the walls in peacock feathers, installing dark teal-colored bookcases, a pair of silver grotto chairs and a little corner banquet; we created a magical little dining nook, large enough for two adults only.
People who inspire you
Alexis : I am inspired by my mother, Elizabeth Swanson, my mother in law, Dede Wilsey, and my sisters, Veronica and Claiborne. They are all such different women and wonderfully extraordinary. Each one is brazen, generous, original and comfortable sitting on the skinny branches of life. They are all women of deep kindness and backbone.
What you love most
Claiborne : I live for Central Park. As a family we spend most of our free time in the park. I love getting a cup of tea and walking the bridal path with my dog, or going to the Zoo as a Family. The park is where we get to escape the city and explore.
Favorite afternoon café
Veronica : Sant Ambroeus is right down the street from our new store on Madison and 77th, and we always go there for a quick meeting for coffee or lunch. It’s like taking a quick trip to Rome!
Claiborne : I love going to the Carlyle for an afternoon tea or a drink. It’s cozy and romantic and feels like a step back in time to a New York from long ago.
Go-to lunch place
Alexis : In San Francisco, Cotogna is the sister restaurant next door to Quince, and is a really fun lunch spot that serves amazing salads, pizzas, pastas. It is infectious, electric and always yummy.
A night on the town
Morning beauty routine
Alexis : My morning routine is minimal. The whole routine hinges around one product called Vintner’s Daughter, an incredible botanical serum that was formulated by a childhood friend of ours, April Garguillo. For someone with super sensitive skin like mine, it has been the only product I have been able to use that yields serious results.
Perfect outfit/Perfect design
Veronica : I’ll wear a VB blazer, VB turtleneck cashmere sweater, VB highrise skinny flare jeans, Tabitha Simmons Moto booties, Mansur Gavriel bucket back, and a VB fedora.
Claiborne : After putting my babies down to sleep, I like to eat dinner and then relax with tea and a good book or movie. After my day I need a total check out. A glass of wine is always nice.
Veronica : My boys play hockey, so we spend a lot of time at the rink. I have become a serious hockey mom! I also love nothing more than long drives with my sisters when we play music and talk about everything. Three hours can fly by in what feels like seconds.
Alexis : Oooh, this is a good question. Weekends are usually blocked off for family time. We usually go up to Napa and enjoy robust breakfasts and lunches together. We tinker with our old cars and cruise around the back roads. We often have sleepovers in our bedroom with the kids in their sleeping bags. The nights are always for Trevor and me to sneak away and grab a bite at one of favorite restaurants. Those days and nights are the highlight of my week.
Claiborne : My favorite family time is breakfast together on the weekends and morning snuggles. I also love our weekend adventures. I always try to figure out fun excursions for us to do as a family that inspire us while making memories.
Alexis : On the weekends, I like to have the house stocked with all our favorite foods. I make sure we plenty of cheeses, ice cream, flowers, and movies. There is always a batch of chocolate chip cookies made by my daughter and me.
Favorite makeup products
Claiborne : I use a mix of make up brands: I love Chanel foundation, Clé de Peau concealer, and Nars chubby sticks and lip sticks. I also love Aerin Bronzer. Everyone I shoot has different skin tones and facial features, so when it comes to clients, I use what products are best for them.
Veronica : I love fragrance. I currently rotate between Kilian Straight to Heaven, Aerin Rose de Grasse, and Byredo Gypsy Water.
A good book or magazine
Claiborne : Right now I am obsessed with You are a Badass, by Jen Sincere
Veronica : Vintners Daughter; it’s liquid gold.
Veronica : Peppermint tea.
Alexis : I am not a tea drinker, but a full-on espresso drinker—and live for my Nespresso machine.
Claiborne : I love “Bedtime,” by Yogi teas. It puts me right to sleep.
Buy Claiborne Swanson’s Book HERE.
Lani Allen is a senior at Columbia University majoring in Creative Writing and concentrating in Spanish. After serving as Vice President of her class for two years, she has contributed written pieces and illustrations to many on-campus publications. As a writer with a passion for beauty, Lani enjoys capturing the stories of innovative thinkers and risk-takers shaping the industry as we know it.