Photo Credit: Jeffrey Martin
From food and travel writer to local business owner, Amanda McClements has become one of the most influential tastemakers in Washington, DC. Her store Salt & Sundry – offering a variety of inspiring, expertly-curated homegoods – has become the cornerstone of the revitalized Union Market.
We talked to McClements about her style inspirations, her upcoming second store, and why you should never be afraid to change things up.
Q: How would you describe your personal style?
A: Polished modern bohemian. I love long lines and high-waisted silhouettes, where the shapes of the 1940s meet the 1970s, and lots of ethnic prints.
Q: Who or what has been the greatest influence on your style?
A: Definitely travel and wanderlust. Travel imprints powerful visuals in my mind, like the graceful women in Vietnam dressed in ao dai or polished couples with effortless style in Paris. And then there are all the places I’d love to go next with such amazing style inspiration: India, Northern Africa, China.
Q: What inspired you to open your own business?
A: I had a place in my mind where I wanted to shop, so I decided to create it. Other small business owners were my biggest inspiration. I remember having drinks with Jackie Flanagan of Nana to pick her brain, and she said something like: “It’s just life; why not try it?” As a champion over-analyzer, I was really scared to open a shop, but words of encouragement like hers pushed me forward.
Q: What are your can’t-live-without hair, makeup, and skincare products?
A: I try to use products that are as natural as possible. You’ll always find eucalyptus or peppermint Dr Bronner’s soap in my shower. I use John Masters Pomegranate Nourishing Oil for my face and sweet almond oil for body (which is also great for makeup removal). Vapour Organic Beauty makes a great foundation stick. I can’t live without my Stewart & Claire lip balm in Old Fashioned (from my shop) with a cedar and bitter orange scent. I love CB I Hate Perfume oils (from Redeem).
Q: How would you describe your approach to décor and entertaining?
A: Controlled chaos. When I have people over, no amount of advance planning can take all of the stress out of it, so I’ve learned to embrace a bit of chaos. My decorating style could be described in the same way. I’m always bringing home random finds from travel and scouting for Salt & Sundry.
Q: What advice would you give to someone in the DC area looking to change up their home décor or entertain more in his/her own living space?
A: Don’t be intimidated and just jump in. For furniture and decor, choose items that draw you in without too much concern over coordinating. Chances are everything in your home will mesh well and reflect your style. Changing up your linens is such an affordable way to refresh a room’s look. Swap throw pillows out and add a vintage tapestry or colorful throw to cover couches and chairs. When it comes to entertaining, again, don’t be intimidated! People love being invited over, so don’t fret about things being perfect. Entertaining is about bringing people together, not staging a magazine-worthy photo shoot.
Q: What’s next for Salt & Sundry?
A: I’m so excited to add a second location later this year at 1401 S Street. The 850-square-foot space is in the historic side of The District building with a restored storefront and small courtyard. I’ve lived in the Logan Circle neighborhood for about 12 years and have always considered this stretch of 14th Street a hub for independent shops. I’m excited to open a new Salt & Sundry there to complement the strong mix of locally owned businesses and bring a fresh design aesthetic.