Modern Muse - Eunice Byun2021-03-29
When we reflect on the brand we’ve built, one thing is abundantly clear: We wouldn’t be anywhere without the strong, passionate, intelligent women who have inspired us since day one. We are constantly looking for new and unique ways to champion their individual voices—and one such way is our new series, Modern Muses.
A celebration of style, taste, and intentional living, a Modern Muse inspires us to dream, create, and pursue a beautiful life. She is part connoisseur and part artist, graced with a discerning eye and a knack at unearthing the best of the best.
In our experience, something amazing happens when good taste and a true need meet (we see it again and again in the Muses and Gaux Girls we feature). It's also the origin story of Eunice Byun and Material, a thoughtfully curated line of high-quality, stylish kitchenware.
The idea came to Eunice when she was working in a full-time digital marketing role, and she spent the early days building the business by moonlight. Since then, she's crafted a company that's well regarded by the home-cooking enthusiasts who shop it and the press (including a write-up in the always tony New York Times). Beyond being practical, it's beautiful—a just-launched line of ceramic pieces is the latest to make us ooh and ahh—and Eunice has thoughtfully spoken out on issues that matter. Most recently she penned a must-read essay about racism against the AAPI community and shared thoughts with us on what she learned from her immigrant parents.
"One of the most important lessons, especially as an entrepreneur, has been the value of hard work. Ever since immigrating to the U.S. from Korea, my parents have been small business owners. They worked tirelessly to provide for us, never complaining and always with a kind heart. They also taught me to lead with graciousness and humility. Sometimes, as an Asian-American, it leads to stereotypical assumptions but I've learned that you can be both a selfless leader and a bold visionary."
From the business she's built to the way she operates, Eunice is a role model for everyone bringing an idea to fruition. Here, some of her current favorites.
Shoe for day:
"I am a comfort-meets-style kind of gal, especially when walking all around the streets of NYC. My go-to's right now are ankle boots (for colder days) and The City Sandal (spring has finally sprung in Manhattan!)."
Shoe for night:
"These days, I am loving a pump silhouette in a pop color or print. Adds the perfect amount of splash to any outfit."
"My best friend, Amy. We've known each other since our Northwestern days where our style consisted of sweatpants and Abercrombie sweaters. Our style evolution happened concurrently, largely because Amy has an amazing eye for beautiful, unique finds. She can also pull off trends in a way that I never can."
Bedside table must:
"A woodsy smelling candle: nothing sweet, nothing too strong."
"Moleskine. I love their unlined notebooks. Something about the pure blank sheet feels inherently more creative to me, like it will capture my musings more authentically."
"I was introduced to Mr. Boddington's Studio by my other best friend, Michelle, who worked with them for her wedding invitations. I love their whimsical designs. To me, it's all about opening up an envelope and pulling out something that makes you smile."
Organization to support:
"Right now there are a number of AAPI organizations that are making sure our voices are heard during the uptick of anti-Asian hate including #HateIsAVirus and Stop AAPI Hate. Heart of Dinner is another organization I love. They deliver culturally appropriate meals to the elderly Asian community and the founders are beyond inspiring."
Place to travel:
"Paris. I have many fond memories in the little cafes and city streets. I cannot wait to go back when the world opens it up."
Way to unplug:
"Cooking...by myself and for myself. It's a rarity to have a quiet kitchen so whenever I have the chance to do so, I relish it. I turn on some music, pour myself a glass of Pinot, and enjoy the therapeutic rhythms of cooking."
"The rooftop at The Nomad Hotel. We went for my birthday the other week and had the most beautiful view of the Empire State Building. It reminded me just how much I love New York City."
"A negroni. I love aperitifs as I don't find them to be overly sweet, but perfectly balanced and bitter."
"Hydration. I try and drink as much water as I can throughout the day to keep my skin healthy from within."
"The ability to say 'no,' particularly when it comes to commitments that infringe upon my personal downtime or time with my family."
"I recently watched 'Raya and The Last Dragon' with my five year-old daughter and we loved it. Having my daughter see someone who looks like her on screen, animated or not, means so much to me as a mother of two Korean-American girls."