Petit Sourire: A touch of French elegance

Petit Sourire: A touch of French elegance
If you follow Little Otja, there’s a big chance that you’ve come across the name Petit Sourire already. Maybe you’re a reader of the insightful design blog of the same name? Or maybe you follow Petit Sourire on Instagram and delight in all the wonderful photos, full of hidden little meanings? Or maybe it’s both? If you’ve been wondering who the person behind the project was, wonder no more! We caught up with the amazing woman in charge — Arminka Roth, a person of many talents and a great inspiration — and asked her about some of her best kept secrets. Fun fact: Arminka introduced Little Otja to her readers a while back and it’s now finally time for us to return the favour — with pleasure!

YOU’RE A PSYCHOLOGIST, STYLIST, PHOTOGRAPHER, BLOGGER, INSTAGRAMMER … TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND AND HOW YOU COMBINE THESE DIFFERENT INTERESTS OF YOURS IN YOUR WORK AND CREATIVE OUTPUT?

This sounds like a lot, but as all of these activities have been a part of my life for a pretty long time now, it feels so natural to me. I love psychology. This is the reason why I studied it again and again, it was never ever boring. To make it more challenging I changed the countries and the languages. :-) After moving to France from Switzerland (with my husband and two boys) I wanted to have more time with my family and do something creative. Petit Sourire was created on 12.12.12. and it started as a small label for pillows and handmade bags for children. At the same time, I started my blog. Petit Sourire means “little smile” and describes in two words what it’s all about.

 

 

YOU REGULARLY POST INSIGHTFUL FEATURES CALLED {DESIGN PORTRAITS} ON YOUR BLOG, DEDICATED TO SOME OUTSTANDING DESIGNERS. HOW DID YOU GET THE IDEA?

Making beautiful handmade things is wonderful, but really time-consuming. This is why Petit Sourire developed from a brand to interior/product styling and photography. I wished to combine psychology and design on my blog, so I got the idea of making {Design Portraits}. This is just perfect to me – as an interior stylist and photographer I am interested in beautiful objects and design; as a psychologist, I am interested in finding out who are the makers, founders and designer behind the lovely products and the history of the company.

It is so exciting to work on a {Desing Portrait}, I love it! I have started them two years ago and they have changed so much. For example, the way how I see and perceive all the brands and known design objects. Now I see them with different eyes, as I learned a lot about the background of the owners or designers, found out details about the objects and had insight into the whole “making of” process.

 

 

WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR WHEN IT COMES TO DESIGN? WHAT MAKES GOOD DESIGN, IN YOUR OPINION?

When it comes to design, I am looking for something unique. This is the most important criteria for finding a brand for a {Design Portrait}. A good design is timeless, it is something I will be never bored to look at, it is something I can combine with a number of other objects.

 

 

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR UNIQUE WAY OF STYLING AND INTERIOR DESIGN?

I love to combine design classics, vintage objects, some cute wooden accessories and beautiful textiles. The Scandinavian way of living and a touch of French elegance — maybe this is the best way to describe my stylings. I prefer soft colors in the dining and living area. And more (vivid) colors in the children’s rooms.

 

 

WHERE DO YOU FIND INSPIRATION AND IDEAS?

Nature is the best place for inspiration. I love to decorate with fresh or dried flowers, which I pick in my garden or bring them home from a nice family walk.

 

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVOURITE ITEMS IN YOUR HOME?

I love our wooden sofa, a timeless piece designed by a talented French designer. I can easily change the look of the sofa according to the season or mood. I love my Lyngby porcelain vases, wooden objects from Architectmade, our old French cast iron bed “lit Napoléon”, handmade ceramics of young artists, “Knotenstuhl” from Thonet, and the cuddle bunny from Little Otja…

 

 

WE OFTEN LOOK AT YOUR INSTAGRAM POSTS AND WONDER HOW YOU MANAGE TO TAKE SUCH BEAUTIFUL PHOTOS. COULD YOU MAYBE GIVE US SOME TIPS? :)

You are very kind to me :-) My tip is the magical natural light! In most cases, I have a “little story” or an “image” in my mind, which I try to show through a photo. And I like to hide some cute small details in the pictures that an attentive observer can find. And hopefully, this can maybe put a smile on their lips!

I think the most important thing is to create your own style, something highly recognizable, something unique…

 

 

WE LOVE THE VIEW OF THE OCEAN FROM YOUR WINDOW. WHAT IS IT LIKE LIVING IN THE COASTAL REGION OF FRANCE?

Thank you so much. The view is amazing because it changes so fast according to the light. I love to observe the changing color of the sea and sky. This view makes my eyes dance and fills my heart with thankfulness. La vie est poésie!

I love to be surrounded by nature and still live in a city with all the comforts it brings. This is such a great present to see my kids growing up in this beautiful region and having a happy childhood like this. While others, in the bigger cities, for example, go to a playground, we go to the beach. This is like a great gift to be only a couple of footsteps away from the ocean. This means a lot to me and it is a great source of inspiration.

 

 

WE KNOW THAT YOU’RE A MOTHER, BUT WE DON’T SEE YOUR FAMILY IN YOUR PHOTOS ONLINE. WHAT ARE YOUR OPINIONS ON SHARING INTIMATE MOMENTS ON SOCIAL MEDIA?

I think everyone is free to decide what they want to show on social media. I am very grateful when people on social media don’t judge anyone, write negative comments or messages to someone with a different opinion.

I personally prefer to keep my private life in the background, away from Instagram and business as much as possible.

As a psychologist, I advise to keep the family, and mostly the children, away from social media. As an Instagrammer, I advise finding a balance between business and private life — and never stop reflecting on this topic.

 

 

WE CAN’T GO ON WITHOUT MENTIONING YOUR SUPER CUTE AND TALENTED RABBITS, WHO ARE THE STARS OF MANY OF YOUR PHOTOSHOOTS … WHAT ARE THEIR NAMES? WHERE DID YOU MEET? PLEASE, TELL US EVERYTHING? :)

Oh, this is a love story! We have two rabbits, a grey one and a white one. My children had wanted to have a cat or a dog, ALWAYS! But, as we usually travel a lot and it is very challenging to find someone to take care of your pet, I did not really agree to have one.

One day we were in a big store looking to find some plants for the garden. We stopped, as usual, at the corner where there are some cute little animals like rabbits, guinea pigs or mice. We immediately fell in love with two little rabbits and you can imagine, what my children answered as I asked them if we should bring them home. :-)

A couple of years have passed since we got them and I have never regretted this decision. Paulina and Emilie are so cute, right?

 

 

RIGHT, ABSOLUTELY! WE ADORE THEM. <3 SPEAKING OF RABBITS: WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT LITTLE OTJA?

I love the story of the Pine Forest and Litlle Otja characters. This creates a space for imagination and this is what our children really need. I love the playful details and the high quality. And for sure, I really appreciate the effort Little Otja puts into small things, which makes a huge difference in the result. Thank you for putting so much love in every single detail and making our life colorful!

Thank you so much for having me.

 

Photo credit © Petit Sourire

 

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