Interview with Amber Westerman of Pop Deluxe in Madison, WI.
Amber Westerman is some serious fun. This quirky and funky lady co-owns and operates the fabulous Pop Deluxe (equally quirky, funky, fun) of Madison, WI.
Pop Deluxe is one of a kind shopping euphoria. All the items are hand picked by Amber and her husband John, who both have an eye for design and a passion for color. Everything in the shop is as vibrant and fun as they are (Pantone lovers, take note). We were actually lucky enough to be joined by Amber at our Grand Opening of the Lomography Gallery Shop NYC last January.
NAME: Amber Westerman
LOCATION: Madison WI and world wide web
OCCUPATION: retail mastermind and lomo lover
PRIMARY OBJECTIVE: to enjoy my life with my family and to not have a boss
Tell us more about the origins of Pop Deluxe:
We had actually been in the punk rock clothing business for a long time, which was a ton of fun while John and I were in indie rock bands. It seemed like as our interests changed (meaning we got older, ha ha), selling hair dye and plaid mini skirts got a bit tedious. Pop Deluxe was a natural progression for us, combining elements of Pop culture and Deluxe design in a fun, approachable atmosphere. We love the mix of high and low end fun, stuff everyone can enjoy.
Best place in Madison to unwind?
Olbrich Gardens. Our good friend is a horticulturist there and has done some amazing work. It’s a great escape even in the winter with the conservatory in full swing. A bit of tropical fun in the dreary months. John is an aspiring gardener, so he takes our kids there almost every day.
What has been an inspiration to you lately?
The spring weather, wheat fields, new life sprouting up in our gardens at our lake house, taking time off.
THE person you would most want to photograph? (and why?)
I love to photograph my husband John because he can make the most peculiar facial expressions. Seriously, he can contort his face and it wildly changes his IQ.
He is goofy and unafraid of the camera, a nice change from myself since I tend to be camera shy and unphotogenic.
Weirdest thing in the shop right now?
Yummy pockets. They’re these strange cloth pouches with a life sized photographic image of snack foods silkscreened on them. A slice of pizza. A pita. Taco (my personal favorite) and Cookie. Of course they are super popular, I mean who wouldn’t want a pizza slice in their pocket…
What makes Madison, WI unlike any other place on Earth?
It’s like a “cituntry”. The perfect mix of bustling city with the university, state capitol, farmers markets, shopping, cuisine, suburban sprawl; then 3 miles in any direction lands you right back in the country, farms, dairies, rolling hills, lakes and strange folk. Perfect for fencesitters, manic depressives, schizoprenics and me.
If you were a Lomography camera, which would you be and why?
I think I would be a Fisheye. It’s constantly distorting reality, with the main focus being unrealistically large and in charge in the middle and everything else fading into the back. I tend to have a problem keeping my ducks in a row, so if you want my attention you gotta get in my face. Lovely images, though!
Most delicious dish in town that you just can’t get enough of?
I love the vegetarian dumplings at Himal Chuli called momochas. It’s a Nepalese restaurant next door, they have this sauce that’s made with tomatoes and coriander…it’s spicy and full of flavor. I always have to get extra.
We know you’ve got an impressive collection of tattoos. Do you have one that is your favorite and why?
It’s funny you ask…I have this “Rise and Shine” one on my upper back that’s got this vintage style sailor gal sprawled out in a hammock. I never get to see it, so I forget it’s there most of the time. My little sister has a great close up photo of my back with that tattoo showing hanging right by her bed. I was just visiting her in Arizona last week and thinking, “Wow that’s a great photo and a nice tattoo!” Then I remembered it was mine! I am a dork.
Favorite indoor activity to do with the kids on a rainy day?
Draw pictures, make cookies, have freaky dance parties. And I do mean freaky. My 6 year old has got some serious moves.
Amber’s Advice of the Day:
Don’t try to eat an elephant in one bite.
Check out what happens when you put Amber behind the lens (or multiple lenses…):