Artistic sisters, Kate Glenn and Gracen Ashton, have taken color and design to a new surface — lampshades — with the introduction of Sorella Glenn at High Point Market. Pandemic and the usual business challenges aside, Sorella Glenn is off to a good start with a colorful take on tradition.
Gracen Ashton was a studio art major in college, worked in publishing and went back to school for interior design. At one point, she worked for Thomas Moser, who was designing furniture. Kate Glenn is an artist — those are her patterns on the lampshades. “Our parents have this lighting repair business and we were always going to markets to find small things to sell in their shop. We kept coming back to cool lampshades,” which led to this new business, says Ashton.
While each sister went off in their own directions, they brought their respective talents back together earlier this year to launch Sorella Glenn — Sorella means “sisters” in Italian and Glenn is their maiden name — where they’ve introduced a unique spin on the decorative possibilities for lampshades. The new collection lends a fresh take on a traditional decor item.
Up and Running
While the new business has been around for about a year, it took the sisters six to eight months before launching their lampshades, as they dove into the logistics of product development, setting up a website and determining their audience. “We want to be a national company, so we have come at it with that in mind,” says Glenn. The company targets consumer, designer and retail audiences, and has three pricing tiers.
Traditional with a Twist
Sorella Glenn’s bespoke hand-pleated lampshades are made and printed in the U.S., created with cottons and linens. They are available in sizes from 6-inch shades to a 24-inch diameter. While the lampshades feature a more modern silhouette, the drum is tapered at the top for a traditional appeal. “We worked really hard to get the silhouette just right,” says Ashton. At the start of this venture, the sisters invested in brand standards for their company. “It clarifies our style and our voice,” she adds.