Into the Wild: Hotel Yowie
Yowie recently launched their new boutique hotel in Philadelphia. Born out of a unique home goods store, Yowie has become much more.
The space is whimsical yet sensible. Bold but not abbrassive. After seeing the new space we had to interview founder and creative director Shannon Maldonado to learn more about her life and the birth of this exciting new journey. We also are honored to be a part of this new space in the form of clothes storage in some of these unique rooms.
Tell us how Yowie was born - the store - and describe your path from as young as possible into the world of art/design
I have been making stuff since I was very young. My mom taught me how to use a sewing machine when I was about 10 and that led to me making and manipulating my own clothing throughout middle school and highschool. I ended up studying Fashion Design at FIT and worked for large brands like Ralph Lauren, American Eagle and Tommy Hilfiger before leaving to start YOWIE in 2016. YOWIE started from my bedroom in May of 2016 with just twelve products and graduated to pop-ups around Philadelphia and a storefront in 2017. I wanted to create a space that merged all of my interests under one roof and allowed me space to be creative while also amplifying the work of other artists.
What gave you the idea to expand the brand into hospitality?
I had always hoped the YOWIE brand or myself would branch into hospitality. The original hope was for a larger brand to have me as their in-house gift shop coordinator but I just kept working on building my own brand and shop in the meantime. The idea of expanding our own space to include hospitality came from a conversation between myself and my now business partner Everett. I told him I thought the brand could be more dimensional and it kicked off the idea of YOWIE becoming a mixed use space anchored by a boutique hotel.
The room designs are bold. Would you describe yourself this way?
Yes and no, I feel proud to have a point of view in design and for this project I wanted to challenge traditional color palettes and furniture pairings.
Are you born and raised Philly?
Yes, I grew up 5 minutes from my new space in an area called Pennsport
What do you hope people get out of the experience of staying at the new hotel?
I hope that in some way that our space continues to show guests that Philadelphia is full of many creative people and that I have a unique perspective on design. I also worked on city guides to share Philly through our lens for visitors. We hope you're inspired by the items inside of your suite and that you also love the city when you head out for the day!
Did you have any hospitality influence or inspiration?
I've always loved the world building of The Standard and The Ace
How would you describe your ambitions or what motivates you?
I love working with artists and getting my ideas out into the world. I am motivated by creating beautiful spaces and products that add joy to people's lives. I also love mentoring some of the artists we work with and seeing their practices grow and evolve over time.
Does Yowie eventually open in other cities?
Maybe, maybe not. For now I have no need or want to open in another city.
What is the best boutique hotel you have stayed at?
The W in Hong Kong
If I am coming to Philly for a night, tell me what we would do/where we would go?
If only for one night I would probably suggest heading to Fishtown, there's a great selection of bars and restaurants like Kalaya, LMNO, Beddia, Cheu, Next of Kin and more and you could possibly catch a show at Johnny Brenda's or a DJ set at International Bar.
Describe the design/maker community in Philly
Small, tight knit, and supportive!