March 15, 2021

Design Feast’s Makers Series—111th Interview: In her latest book “Trustworthy,” Margot Bloomstein Gives both Informed Motivation and Methods Against the Cheap Refuge of Cynicism

More than a meme, trust is the ultimate basis in relationships. Margot Bloomstein is a Speaker and Content Strategist examines the critical importance of this all-seasons quality in her new book—“Trustworthy: How the Smartest Brands Beat Cynicism and Bridge the Trust Gap.” It is, as Margot put it, “the fierce urgency of now” that reinforces sharply the challenge of expressing and executing trust in business, design and tech—most of all, throughout society.

1. In a business sense, what is trust?

Trust is the currency of connection. In business, trust is the way we invest our attention, decide to broker partnerships, and choose to open our wallets—and minds. The opposite of trust is cynicism. When we’re cynical, we turn away from opportunities to connect and learn.

2. How did you arrive at writing your book “Trustworthy: How the Smartest Brands Beat Cynicism and Bridge the Trust Gap”?

In the 2016 election cycle, I noticed that public response to bald-faced deceit in politics was shifting. A tide of cynicism and blind faith seems to overtake accountability. We didn’t see politicians face the same kind of repercussions that previously accompanied bad behavior. If cynicism was undermining trust, I wanted to know why—and if it would be a problem outside of politics. Years of gaslighting from politicians and media outlets lured people into complacent information consumption. We’ve turned away from experts, retreated into filter bubbles, and fallen prey to disinformation about election security, vaccines, and climate change. This trend started in politics, but now affects business, education, and public health. When cynicism undermines trust, it becomes everyone's problem—certainly, if you’re a brand trying to sell something or engage in marketing. So what can we do about it?

That’s the question I wanted to answer for my clients and colleagues. I wrote “Trustworthy” to figure out new tactics for designers, content creators, and marketers to respond to the challenge of trust in an increasingly cynical society.

3. Regarding the quality of trustworthy, what company/brand first comes to mind? What are top ways they’re engaging to earn and re-earn their reputation of trust?

One of the first brands I researched was 


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February 28, 2021

At Literation, Michelle Ruiz Explores the Eclectic Range of Books that Inspire Designers and Creative Practitioners


What are you working on—on the side?

Literation is an Instagram and web project featuring designers, artists, and studios, who share some books, zines, published ephemera and so on which specifically inspire their creative practice. The books that my guests share are so varied. Some have unique, one-of-kind items, some just have one item they love, and some have familiar design favorites. For the ones that are somewhat widely available, a long-term project of mine is to make a directory or list with links to purchase. That’s an ongoing thing, but in the meantime, I try to have as many book titles linked or listed on the website.

How do you manage to work on your side project(s)?

This has been a big challenge. It’s weird, but on one hand, I’m lucky I don’t have a huge following so I don’t have the pressure to maintain a “brand” of any kind and post constant updates. That lack of pressure has been helpful during the pandemic. This project kind of just follows my own timeline and availability (and response time from guests). Last year, I have been more sporadic with my work on Literation, mainly because my mental capacity reached its max! I’m slowly picking up the pace again and have some good guests coming up.

A lot goes into it and each post involves managing the images I get sent, research and writing copy on the guests, looking up the books so I can link to the publishers, creating the drafts for Instagram and web, formatting photos, tagging, and so on. In the very beginning of the project, I was posting up to three times a week! Which tires me just thinking about it. So now, I try to make sure my enthusiasm for Literation maintains a healthy energy, even if that means not posting as frequently.

Why have a side project?

A few years ago while in between jobs, I was looking for ways to stay motivated and generally connected to inspiring ideas, projects, people, etc. For me, a huge part of that has always been through books. So I wanted an extension of that curiosity in a side project which would also help stay inspired myself. While I’m always interested in what people are generally reading, I was specifically fascinated by how books are used for research or inspiration in a design or art context. Now I have way too many books I’d personally love to check out!

• • •

Diptych courtesy of Michelle Ruiz, featuring books shared by brand experience design studio GRDN, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.


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February 22, 2021

Design Feast’s Makers Series—110th Interview: Sawako Puts Confidence and Style Back on the Road with her Beautifully Protective Helmets

Cycling is one of many outdoor activities highly desired to further adopt and surely pick up in the anticipated post-pandemic era. Sawako Furuno is both an enthusiast and entrepreneur in bike-helmet culture, who founded aptly named Sawako to provide protective-head gear that also makes a wonderfully stylish fashion-statement. Here, she shares more about her helmet company—especially her excitement for the thrills of living and biking.

1. While as an architect, you arrived at the idea of Sawako. How did you envision your idea?

I used to cycle to work every day for 30–40 minutes in London. In movies, architects drive fancy cars, but in reality, we are not that well-paid (well, at least in the UK), and as designers, we want to lead a sustainable life whenever possible, so cycling was a big thing in my office. We were young, well-dressed designers, but most of us were wearing super-sporty, unattractive helmets. Refused to wear them for a while! But after a scary collision, I had to do something to bring back my confidence on the road.

2. How does architecture fit into your work? How does it influence your work?

I see myself as a “designer.” This includes architecture, products, interior design, lifestyle … so I see whatever I do as an extension of my design work. My architecture background often inspires me to find a reason for anything to exist. Even if it’s just to look beautiful, everything is here for a reason—including us.

3. How did you specifically hone in on making helmets for cyclists?

Because no one else was making beautiful bike helmets—especially for women. I wanted to remove the stigma of women feeling out of place in the cycling world. The cycling world has come very far in terms of gender inclusion since I started this business more than 10 years ago, which is fab.

4. What were some of the first things you did in taking Sawako from an idea to making a living?

Checking safety standards! Function meets fashion is what Sawako is all about. 

Then I started making a …


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Read this full interview and more by supporting Design Feast on Patreon. If you’re able to, please become a Patron of Design Feast today from $1 and up—it only takes a minute. Your monthly contribution will give you full access to this interview and those upcoming with extraordinary creators and their perspectives. Stay both informed and inspired.



What will stay free to completely explore at Design Feast are the 345 insightful interviews with an incredible range of Designers, Bloggers, Makers and realizers of Side Projects.

January 17, 2021

Design Feast’s Makers Series—109th Interview: In Minnesota, Real-Food Advocacy and Action Group Appetite For Change Lead Their Local Community in a Fresh and Sustainable Way


It was through the National Public Radio story “A Garden Is The Frontline In The Fight Against Racial Inequality And Disease” that I learned about Appetite For Change, a group dedicated to growing and distributing naturally grown food—“Real Food” as they precisely put it—to the people in North Minneapolis. Here, co-founder, Princess Haley, gives an in-depth account of her compassionate organization—its local-yet-global mission, mechanics, motivations and more.

1. Well-stated! “Food is the tool that creates health, wealth and social change.” How does food realize both good self and a good society?

Food being a very important part of everyone’s culture, it sets the stage in the garden, at the cutting board or the kitchen table for people to see similarities. Which is needed in a society that has been training us to step into the world in a single file line based on the zip code we live in, the box we check to communicate our race, as well as our socio-economic status to separate us. We all deserve good food, good water, good soil, good times to spend with others.

2. Appetite for Change’s work reinforces the observation that everyone is a designer. How is design a part of AFC?

As a community-led organization, we design programs that address the needs of our community. For example, the COVID pandemic meant that we could not run our flagship program, Community Cooks. Community Cooks brings people together into our CafĂ© space to make a meal together, to eat that meal together, and connect. However, we knew that some people relied on the meal to supplement their food costs, and that they still needed the connection that is inherent in eating a meal together. Compounded with the effects of George Floyd’s murder (which impacted food access in North Minneapolis), we needed to find a way to get real food to real people. We had to rethink the design of Community Cooks, and thus, Community Cooks Meal Boxes was born, and was such a success, it will continue into 2021.

3. When it comes to pouring ideas and energy into fixing access to real food, along with providing relief of food anxiety and insecurity everywhere, how can the Biden-Harris administration really help? What are top-of-mind food-related areas, even obstacles, they must resolve? 

There are immediate measures that need to be taken to solve problems that have ballooned during the COVID-19 pandemic, like: 

  • Ensuring that food subsidy programs (SNAP, WIC, etc) continue and/or expand to support families who need it. Extending those benefits to people who are facing new-to-them challenges stemming from the pandemic, like unemployment, illness/health issues, homelessness. 
  • Support and approve an extension of CARES Act funding past March 2021, so that state and local governments can address the needs of their communities. 

In the long-term:

  • Increasing the standards for the foods served through the National School Lunch Program to provide more nutritious foods for children.
  • Provide funding for communities to improve food access. Food is accessible when it is affordable, and community members can readily grow or raise it; find it; obtain it; transport it; prepare it and eat it.
  • Find ways to support small farmers and farmers markets to increase the economic viability of these crucial players in the food system. This could be real with laws that encourage local dollars to stay in the community (e.g., buy local); provide financial support for establishing or strengthening local businesses/trade/producers (e.g., facilitate or create access to a funding streams—grants, loans; provides a tax break or other economic incentive); support livable wage jobs within the community; support humane working conditions for food workers; create pathways for economic prosperity (e.g. training programs; new/small business support) and promotes community wealth.


4. Good health is …

Having access and knowledge of the relationship between your internal and external environment. Good health is being able to understand the working of human existence, of having something in your body that needs to be healed, and that is a process. It is also being able to pay attention to yourself, the inside of you and knowing how your body works, what your body likes to consume. It is also about seeing what you need.

5. How did you three (Princess Haley, Michelle Horovitz, LaTasha Powell) find each other and join together to make Appetite For Change?

In January 2012, three women, mothers, and warriors sat awkwardly around the large wooden dining room table at 2009 James Avenue North … These three women saw the assets in North Minneapolis—namely its people. They cooked, ate and talked together, and this is when the magic happened. They found out that some people call a saucepan a skillet, and that people are more open to eat leftovers if you call them TV dinners. Dreams got blended with fears, and they whisked away the taste of difference. The mothers of AFC found similarity and connection through their hopes, wins, losses, and by coming together to prepare and share food with each other. The whole experience was like preparing the land to plant an unknown seed and having the courage to try its fruits.

AFC’s founders came together around their shared vision for North Minneapolis, but what they’ve created has far surpassed what any one of them would have thought possible those years ago. These three women have created unbreakable bonds, and have formed a sisterhood through food, but naturally like sisters do, they all still test each others’ nerves on occasion, but they respect the sweat.

6. If someone approached you with: “I want to start a nonprofit to help make a movement for a good cause”—what would you advise?

I would advise them to


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Read this full interview and more by supporting Design Feast on Patreon. If you’re able to, please become a Patron of Design Feast today from $1 and up—it only takes a minute. Your monthly contribution will give you full access to this interview and those upcoming with extraordinary creators and their perspectives. Stay both informed and inspired.



What will stay free to completely explore at Design Feast are the 344 insightful interviews with an incredible range of Designers, Bloggers, Makers and realizers of Side Projects.

January 10, 2021

Design Feast’s Makers Series—108th Interview: When Designing Heartfelt Spaces Together, Co-Founders Miri Buckland and Ellie Buckingham are Sticking The Landing


The proverb “Home is where the heart is” rings true. Miri Buckland (left) and Ellie Buckingham (right) do take seriously this declaration. Together, they founded a furnishing service—completely reimagined and aptly called The Landing. Here, they share their thoughts and experiences on creating a company, collaborating on projects, making ideas happen and more.

1. How did you become collaborators turned business founders?

We met at graduate school, where we realized that becoming entrepreneurs meant just doing it. We weren’t looking for the next huge market to disrupt. We were just convinced that the furnishing experience was still a nightmare for our generation and there had to be a better way. Once we started diving into the problem, we could not shake the desire to solve it ourselves. We realized our combined deep personal obsessions with design and synthesizing complex processes meant we were uniquely positioned to approach the problem from a different angle. We get excited by how messy the problem is!

2. When and how did you arrive at the idea of The Landing?

We started out by doing hundreds of customer interviews and listening to what people said about their design and furnishing experiences. We became obsessed with the emotional components of the process—this thing that starts out with hope, excitement and anticipation that so frequently ends in distress. We noticed that no existing solution actually listened to the emotional expression of its customers. So, we spent the summer of 2019 physically moving customers into their apartments and providing every component of the furnishing experience ourselves from design to logistics management to truck driving to furniture building. We built over 200 pieces of furniture by hand (!) but what we spent the most time doing was listening really closely to what our customers said AND didn’t say … when their eyebrows raised in concern or when they ‘secretly’ took a sneak peak photo to text to their sister in excitement.

Through this hands-on experience, we learned about the type of platform we wanted to build—a design experience that teaches you how, rather than tells you what. Since launching our online design platform in June 2020, we also learnt that our users wanted the experience to be social, rather than single player—they wanted to see other users’ designs and have the ability to engage with one another. With those learnings, The Landing has evolved. We’re now building a design platform that empowers everyone to design together. Importantly, we believe that the future of design and product discovery is social, experiential, and creator-led. We provide our community with the tools to discover, remix, and create shoppable designs, starting with the home vertical..

Fundamentally, we strongly believe our spaces are deeply personal, and uniquely human. Everything we do—from our design approach, to how we choose to communicate, to our unwavering loyalty to quality and long-term orientation—is dedicated to creating heartfelt spaces with endless joy.

3. How did you document your idea? Did you write it down? Doodle it?

Whiteboards were our thing! And they still are, even virtually. We’re big fans of Miro. We love to get all our thoughts out there, use color, erase, re-do, and ask people for feedback.

4. Was The Landing competing with other ideas at the time? What made The Landing dominate as the idea to realize?

Our biggest learning was that ...


Thanks for reading so far this Design Feast interview.

Read this full interview and more by supporting Design Feast on Patreon. If you’re able to, please become a Patron of Design Feast today from $1 and up—it only takes a minute. Your monthly contribution will give you full access to this interview and those upcoming with extraordinary creators and their perspectives. Stay both informed and inspired.



What will stay free to completely explore at Design Feast are the 343 insightful interviews with an incredible range of Designers, Bloggers, Makers and realizers of Side Projects.

December 27, 2020

Marketing Expert Anita Alkhimovich Goes with The Flow of Data


For a recent talk hosted by workforce accelerator Promotable, Anita Alkhimovich, a Senior Marketing Manager at software company LeaseAccelerator, unpacked the basics of data-driven marketing. From her point of view, broadly attracting customers is mere marketing. But attracting the most appropriate customers is done by minding data specifically related to consumers and customers, in this case, how they spend their attention to marketing messages among other pertinent areas. One of the straightforward assertions which Anita expressed was this insight:
“Nobody has time to read a lot of watery stuff about your product … nobody likes a sales, cheesy approach … everybody likes when it hits straight to the goal … you give water to a thirsty person.”
I appreciated the analogy between marketing and water. Both are fluid mediums: the former in its discipline, the latter in its nature. Data shares the quality of fluidity. Water is one of the best comparisons to the concept and reality of data. But Anita’s distinction, though applied to marketing, can be applied readily to the universe of data—and it makes a difference. “Watery” equates to shallow decision-making, where work lacks, even dismisses, the value of data. “Water” equates to the opposite process which is informed as much as possible—with data as a major input among a cast of other supplements.

Living through a pandemic escalates the necessity of data to better energize, organize and mobilize—as opposed to politicize—systems to help people. Flowing throughout these efforts is the evidential power of data collection, analysis and science. When it comes to the continual thirst for improved outcomes in business and across society, data is water—because it holds up.

Thanks again to Promotable who amplify their virtual workshops with talks organized regularly online! Explore their channel on YouTube.


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Your visiting means a lot. Lots of hours are put into making Design Feast—because it’s a labor of love to provide creative culture to everyone. If you are able to contribute, please consider becoming a Patron to support this long-term passion project of mine with a recurring monthly donation—every bit of support makes a difference in allowing me to generate all of this content on a regular basis. Thank you for your consideration!

September 9, 2020

Kenny Ly of Accenture Mines Business Processes to Extract Valuable Information Regarding Performance and Speed


It has become a pattern to attach the word “mining” to business-driven nouns to amplify their meaning, such as data mining and intention mining. At a recent webinar hosted by workforce accelerator Promotable, Kenny Ly, a Senior Manager of Data Analytics at consulting firm Accenture, offered such a linguistic combo: process mining. This means analyzing the data resulting from a sequence of activities executed internally (stakeholder) and externally (consumer, customer) to accomplish a goal. Following are a couple of areas Kenny addressed which got my attention:

Qualitative Data → Kenny anchored the qualitative (or “anecdotal” as he pegged it) with the quantitative. This enables corroboration between two types of data amassed in carrying out a process. The quantitative complements the qualitative. But they feed each other. Besides being one of the world’s best, natural resources, words constitute basic data. They’re valuable—demonstrated constantly by self-expression, characterized by diction, sentiment, tone and viewpoint. These dimensions apply to sentiment analysis—otherwise called opinion mining.

Shortcuts → When Kenny stated, “Not all conformance is bad,” I smiled (cautiously). A process is elastic. It can be improved to gain efficiency. Or a well-intentioned improvement can unintentionally, as the high-fantasy writer J. R. R. Tolkien put it, “make long delays.” The fidelity of calibrating complexity is a tricky exercise—nonetheless, worthwhile, concerning quality and ultimately: safety. Jason Fried, who co-founded web-based project management software Basecamp, gave this mindful directive that connects with the time and energy swallowed by processes: “Beware [of] many shortcuts in a row.”

From deconstructing the qualitative to devising shortcuts as they relate to data analytics and science, mine fully—decide wisely.

Thanks again to Promotable who fuse their virtual workshops with talks organized regularly online! Explore their channel on YouTube.


Support Design Feast on Patreon!
Your visiting means a lot. Lots of hours are put into making Design Feast—because it’s a labor of love to provide creative culture to everyone. If you are able to contribute, please consider becoming a Patron to support this long-term passion project of mine with a recurring monthly donation—every bit of support makes a difference in allowing me to generate all of this content on a regular basis. Thank you for your consideration!