You may have known Elements East as a Milwaukee staple for years, or our name may be brand new to you. Either way, I’m eager to share our passion for design, history, and spirit with the community. Many relationships have been built over the beautiful and unique home furnishings and accessories over the years, and we look forward to many more to come. My name is Meg Hopkins, and I’d like to introduce myself, and our new store to you.
The Evolution of Elements East Milwaukee
In the spring of 2017, Elements East’s co-founder, Therese Armbruster, approached me with an idea. It was time for her to move on from managing the business, yet, there was the Elements East community and history to consider. As a close friend and long-time customer, I knew Therese well, and she knew my love for Eastern history and design. She also knew my understanding of the spirit in which Elements East was founded.
Therese walked with me every step of the way. From sharing the stories behind current inventory, to traveling with me to China and introducing me to her trusted guides, to working together to communicate with longtime clients and friends, and discussing ideal retail locations, we made a great team. I’m thankful for her trust, and commitment to the beautiful legacy of the business she founded.
A Glimpse of the Future
In order to share our vision with a broader audience, we secured a gorgeous, bright retail space in Milwaukee’s Third Ward. We held a soft opening in November of 2017, and remained open through the holiday shopping season. With a dedicated cast of contributors, we worked to build out the space, creating a peaceful and beautifully curated store, which opened again in January.
In the midst of opening the store, we received a new shipment of furniture and accessories, hand-selected during our trip to China. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect; we proudly curated a new collection just in time for Chinese New Year!
History, Design, and Spirit
When you think of Elements East, I want you to know how much care and thought goes into each and every aspect of the business. There is a cultural richness to the Asian furnishings that we select – a story behind each piece. I hold this history sacred, and believe that each story travels home with the piece of furniture it’s attached to.
When it comes to interior design, I believe there is a place in any style of home for furnishings as special as what you’ll find at Elements East. To me, modern design means integrating East with West, old with new. The word curate is derived from the Latin word cūrāre, meaning, “to care.” My passion lies in curating a beautiful collection of furnishings, and helping my customers curate their own collections.
The spirit of Elements East resides in more than just our furniture and home accessories. Deep thought and care were involved in developing our new physical space. By honoring the history and stories of our furniture and supporting independent artists and designers, we embrace modern interior design. And, by hosting public events, classes, and workshops, we further that spirit.
Who Is Meg Hopkins?
Growing up in Seattle with a father whose life was dedicated to the priesthood and a mother who spent her career as a therapist, I was exposed to a variety of religious and cultural viewpoints. My parents held an expansive view of the universe, deeply rooted in spirit and forever entwined with nature. I spent many hours fly-fishing and camping, and experienced group meditation in my home regularly.
A love of history was also ingrained in me from an early age. As a child, I experienced lots of road trips, stopping at every historical marker. My sister and I were tasked with looking up which sites to visit on our route, and my happiest memories are of myself carrying note cards around a variety of historical sites, waiting for my turn to educate our family on its importance.
I was always the quirky, creative one in my family, and I began working in retail while I was in high school. My passion for retail and design grew, and despite being a history major in college, I always had my eye on New York and the Fashion industry. My years in retail were a joy; working for The Gap, Kohl’s, Adidas, and Allen Edmonds gave me an incredible network and professional experience.
Elements East, The Legacy
Elements East is a culmination of my life’s work and dreams. As a customer, friend of the owners, and admirer of the business, I find myself intimately connected to this enterprise. When the opportunity to be a successor to Elements East’s creators appeared, I knew I had to answer this call and throw all of my enthusiasm and energy into it. With the unwavering support of my husband and family, I’ve been gifted the opportunity to not only continue what was so beautifully created here in Milwaukee, but to maintain the relationships that have been forged from here to China.
My hope is that long-time customers will feel the original spirit of Elements East when they walk in the door. And, that new customers will be drawn in by the beauty and spirit of our work. I have so much gratitude for each and everyone who has made this dream possible for me, and for Elements East. My heart honors you.