The husband-wife entrepreneurs behind Pierrepont Hicks chat about juggling business and parenting, life in the Twin Cities vs. the Big Apple and their favorite weekend diversions.
Katherine and Mark "Mac" McMillan met in New York City and married in Scotland. But when they were ready to start their family, which now includes two preschool daughters, they moved to Mac's home state of Minnesota.
"We wanted a change of lifestyle," said Katherine.
Mac had warned his Brooklyn-born bride what to expect. "I remember Mac telling me that in winter, you have to keep your gas tank more than half full or it would freeze," she recalled. "That was kind of a scary thing."
In late 2009, the McMillans launched Pierrepont Hicks (www.pierreponthicks. com), inspired by their search for the perfect necktie for their groomsmen. "Over there [in Scotland], we got introduced to all the tweeds and wools," Mac said.
The couple's colorful combinations, such as a dark tartan plaid tie with a blaze-orange tail, inspired by hunting gear, caught the attention of the New York Times. Since then, they've expanded into women's shoes (Mrs. P. Hicks) and blankets, in collaboration with Faribault Woolen Mills. We caught up with the designing duo at home in Minneapolis:
Q Tell us about your partnership. Who does what?
KM I handle social media, PR and online marketing; Mac does all the logistics and production management. We both design the ties.
MM Right now, we both work at home, but we're looking for new space. We don't have a normal workweek. We try to work in shifts, dividing our days -- and nights and weekends -- into chunks.
Q What do you miss most about New York?
KM Growing up in New York is a blessing and a curse. I miss the energy right when you walk out the door. I miss the car horns. I miss the restaurants, but I like places like Bachelor Farmer. Minneapolis has an amazing restaurant scene.
Q What's your idea of a perfect Sunday?
MM Sleeping in doesn't exist. I like going to the farmers market as a family, try to be outdoors and have a nice family meal. We both really like to cook.
KM Mine would be sleeping in, having coffee, making pancakes, going to the farmers market and walking around Lake Harriet.
Q Describe your style at home.
KM I have a lot of East Coast in my style. I like things old and worn, not too new and pristine. Like these old beach lockers [used as a cabinet in their living room]. The handirons are my grandma's, and we collect [and display] vintage cameras.
MM We found our dining table on Craigslist, from a farm. It's made of old barn wood -- you can see the red paint underneath.
Q Where do you like to shop?
KM The Oronoco Gold Rush is awesome. I also like to go to Hunt & Gather [in Minneapolis]. It's very inspirational.
Q What's your guilty pleasure?
KM Wine. And "Real Housewives of New York."
Kim Palmer • 612-673-4784