We had the good fortune of connecting with Sael Bartolucci and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sael, can you tell us more about your background and the role it’s played in shaping who you are today?
I am Italian on my father’s side and Texan on my mother’s. I was raised in Florence, Italy until I was 18, so while I have lived in the US off and on since, I do feel like my values and life perspective are very much Italian. I am so lucky to have had supportive parents growing up, both my mom and dad are big travelers and have always taken my two sibling and I on wonderful yearly trips growing up and this very much impacted my understanding of the world. I recognize the privilege that living abroad and visiting the US as a child offered me. When I moved here as a young adult, I took to wearing the figurative American hat to assimilate the culture in a way that even my own American mother could not have taught me. I observed the differences and tried to fill the cultural gaps by being earnest in my learning but mostly I tried to keep my italianness ‘on my sleeve’! My family is very typically Italian in their unabashed love of life and while this might sound generic or cliché it’s true. I believe in living by Horace’s words “Carpe Diem” (seize the moment) in its positivity, its way of reminding us to take chances and move forward, always learning and evolving. This lesson never gets old and keeps me young at heart, offering more elasticity when things get difficult, more capacity for reaction and growth.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My background is in textiles and fine art, so when in my early 30’s I found myself building a hospitality and leisure brand, I really needed to reel in my more “artistic” side and focus on the brick and mortar of starting a business. I had a wonderful partner, Jenna, to co-create with and this duality really helped in founding a new venture because, believe me, doubt can be paralyzing when you are alone in making major decisions. We both made lists of what we wanted our brand to communicate, past the product, we made sure we had a clear idea of what the ethos of House of Hiatus would be. This helped moving forward, because knowing who/what you are gives you purpose and helps you focus on the bigger picture. We recently re-designed our website and hired our dear friend Nicholas Konert to create a non-traditional e-commerce site, but a place for our robes and travel accessories to live amongst our travel journal entries, our partnerships and above all our love of leisure. We truly believe in the possibility to be “on Hiatus” wherever and whenever and of course the robes and accessories help, but our message is one of mental voyage, self-care and relaxation.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I live in east LA so while I love the ocean, my time is spent more hiking Angeles forest and surrounding areas. In less than half hour you can get into the woods and explore trails that are flanked by old cabins that date back to the 40’s! The view from the top of Mt. Washington Observatory is stunning, truly dwarfing the sprawling city, but also giving you that awing feeling you get from looking out of an airplane window. Again, because I am in east LA Latino food is the jam, close to my home Deliah’s offers Souther Californian/Mexican dishes like chilaquiles, huevos rancheros and BOMB breakfast burritos! If you are more in the mood for Asian, Joy, off of York Blvd. is hands down my favorite restaurant in LA, its homey Taiwanese cuisine is my equivalent to comfort food: get the dan dan noodles and spicy shrimp wontons! For drinks since of course bars are not Covid friendly, I pick up wine from Highland Park Wines: call in ahead of time and have them just prep you an assortment of their choice, you will not be disappointed. I have 2 pups so when I can’t hike the mountains, I take them up to Moon Canyon or the Self Realization Fellowship in the Mt. Washington for some neighborhood walks, the elevation is crazy and such beautiful views from up top. When possible, I like to go to art galleries in DTLA, my top few are Night Gallery, Hauser Wirth, Nicodim and Ghebaly. Last but not least I am thrift store fanatic, so of course I cannot share my special locations with you but let’s just say Pasadena is the beehive!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My co-founder Jenna, without whom House of Hiatus would not be possible. While our roles at HoH have evolved throughout the years, she is always my anchor and trusted partner in sailing this ship forward. Her and I had been friends for a few years and worked in design & retail when we both found ourselves talking about the opportunity to create something new, something that spoke to us as young traveling women and that was not really present in the hospitality world. She contributed her business and merchandising knowledge and taught me how to truly plan for a long-lasting venture. This was going to be a project that needed a sort of architecture and foresight that I would have not known how to plan for without her guidance. Her foresight, her keen ability to delegate and capacity to oversee the business in its often less romantic aspects, have kept us focused and offered me the opportunity to really bloom as a designer and build confidence in my creative skills.
Yael Nov, photographer for all pix!