We had the good fortune of connecting with Mari Vandenberge and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mari, why did you pursue a creative career?
I don’t think that I ever thought of myself as being particularly creative or artistic. What I mean is there was never a defining moment or epiphany that landed me where I am today. Mostly, it was a winding road where each job gave me a clue or puzzle piece and finally I began to put it together and realized that there was much more to me and my creativity than I had ever imagined.
What I began to find out was that I loved to create and make things beautiful & interesting. Sometimes even thought provoking. Once I started on the journey there was no going back.
There is an intoxicating feeling that design gives me- it seems to drown out all of the outside noise. It gives me something to dream about. With all of the hardships in the world and the monotony in our day to day lives it helps me to lose myself and get out of my head.
I love being in a creative space because there is no end- no stop and go. You can push forward and go as far as your mind will take you. For someone like me, with an imagination, there is nothing more fulfilling.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I find it hard to talk about myself because I feel that my work tends to take on a life of its own.
I don’t fit into any one box- and have always been different. And until recently, there is nothing more wonderful than being unique. Mostly, I am proud and excited to continue to expand my business into other creative ventures.
Recently, I started working in the wedding industry. I do tabletop and lounge design which has been a dream come true. Professionally, I have learned to continue to take chances and explore all creative opportunities. I think everyone has the capability to be brilliant- but this depends on the chances one is willing to take.
None of this came easy to me before, but I think this was because I wasn’t in the right space. Now, I find that the opportunities that I am coming into contact with are effortless and truly enjoyable. In the past I didn’t pay much attention to what the universe was presenting and therefore seemed to drown in the mundane. Now, with an open mind and the eagerness to create, I can look back and see how important it was to go through the boring day to day loop.
My story is that of so many people. Dreaming endlessly to live a life of meaning and exploration. I hear this story over and over again, people wanting so much more in life- talking tirelessly of their dreams. I want people to know that the “dream” is just sitting on the horizon, you just need to go for it.
Territory West was dreamed up to be bold and fearless designs. Basically, I want my work to speak to people. Invoke emotion, thought, inspiration. Creating the want for people to create a life of beauty and meaning. Weddings have been great for that. What is better than creating a lasting visual for couples on one of the most important days of their lives?
The same goes for staging (another extension of my business), I love creating a design that harnesses the true essence of the space. It is amazing to have a blank slate and bring it to life without any boundaries. That is the true being of Territory West- the soul and heart of it. No limits.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
That is such a hard question- I think I would start off by showing them where I grew up. So I suppose I would take them by East High School and then we would ride bikes down Colfax and grab coffee from one of my favorite coffee shops, Lula Rose.
Then we would head to Congress park where we would grab brunch at Shells and sauce and then head downtown and explore Rino, Highlands and Lohi- hitting up some amazing shops and restaurants.
Throughout the next few days we would go shopping on Tennyson and have a park day at one of our amazing parks. The amazing thing about Denver is there are so many new pockets of shops and resteraunts that are popping up, so while showing someone around it is not unusual to find new places. With that being said we are a small city so everything is relatively close by.
I would organize a dinner with friends at one of my ultimate favorite restaurants, Potager.
Later in the week we would take a drive to Breck or Vail and spend a few days there- Probably bringing along the pups and exploring our amazing mountain towns.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are so many people that I could give this shoutout to, but obviously my family, boyfriend, and friends for always pushing me and supporting my never ending dreams.
But the other person I have to thank is my best friend, business partner (The Studio XO Interior Design) and partner in crime, Julie Roitman. She was the first person to encourage me explore my creativity back when I was working at her store, Stylelicious. This is where I found my love for visual merchandising- which laid the foundation to where I am today. I couldn’t have done it without her.
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