Fair Harbor's favorite mom and HQ Happiness Manager, Sheri Danehy, recalls early days of the brand, a night she’ll never forget, and her favorite Mother's Day surprises
Your job title at Fair Harbor is Happiness Manager. What does that involve?
Our COO, Allie, gave me the title. The job description was basically keeping everyone in the office happy. It's mostly a lot of multitasking and managing the office needs, booking travel, and planning events. Of course, I'm always glad to offer my opinion on color and design, which is not part of my job description. But when Jake and Caroline ask my opinion, that makes me happy.
You designed a special Fair Harbor capsule collection last year. It sold out in a few days! Tell us about the experience.
I tend to go for bright colors and patterns. That comes from my mom. She was an interior decorator in the 70s who was all about color and patterns—and Pucci. We had Peter Max wallpaper. I grew up in the city—and there was so much color in our apartment. I had a lime green kitchen and a purple dining room, an orange bedroom, and my mom had a black bedroom. We had crazy colors. I grew up with that aesthetic, so I've always been drawn to it.
So when Jake and Caroline asked me to design some pieces, I made a Pinterest board – and it was so much fun. I knew I wanted to do something happy, fun, and kind of mod. They hadn't really done that yet. We got to go to California to shoot the collection images. It was such a fantastic trip. I loved creating the collection – and I'd love to do another one. (Hint, hint!)
What would your influences be this time around?
My dad had a house in Acapulco when I was growing up in the 70s. So we used to go to his home by Las Brisas. It was a very Slim Aarons aesthetic. A lot of pink and white with splashes of green. I would love to design a 1970s-style bathing suit. So much of what Fair Harbor shares are family stories – and there's so much more to explore. I'd love to create a collection inspired by when I was younger. It would be really fun.
You also worked in the heyday of magazines. What are some of your favorite memories from your magazine days?
I worked at W and Interview magazines in the late 80s and early 90s. Interview was a blast. I worked on marketing and special events for Paige Powell [a member of Andy Warhol's inner circle] in Soho. It was so much fun. I got to meet so many interesting people. Stephen Sprouse. Debbie Harry. We had wild promotional parties for work.
One that stands out the most took place at [now defunct club] The Limelight. Mark Wahlberg was Markie Mark then and modeling for Calvin Klein underwear. We had a party for him at the club, and my husband, Kevin's parents, were in town, so he invited them to this not very family-friendly event. So my in-laws came to this seedy club for the party where Markie Mark was in his underwear. It was hysterical!
Since the Fair Harbor HQ is in the heart of Soho, what's it like being back in the neighborhood?
It's so different now. There were no chain stores in Soho when I used to work here. There were art galleries, Dean + Deluca, and Prada. And Fanelli's Cafe, where I got engaged. I was working at an Interview and Kevin wanted to pick a place where I would always think about our engagement. There's so much nostalgia in this neighborhood. And now Fair Harbor's office is right in the heart of Soho. I get off the train in the morning, and I love being there. There's so much energy, and I love being a part of it.
What has it been like watching the brand grow?
As a mom, I'm so proud of what Jake and Caroline have built. There have been so many proud moments along the way. Caroline pitched the idea of Fair Harbor to her entire high school at a school assembly. Jake and Caroline pitched the idea to Shark Tank at Colgate, and they were up in front of all these celebrities sharing their vision. So many of those fantastic moments – and plenty of hard work along the way! There were times I'd have to help Jake ship out packages in the garage at night. I helped out at trunk shows. Then I got to visit the factory in Hong Kong. It was all fun. Watching them grow the business to where it is today has been so inspiring.
Are there any particularly memorable, funny moments?
One summer, we had about ten interns in our house. It was a summer when the brand was really starting to grow. I came home one afternoon to find them all around the house – hanging out in our den, grilling on the deck, sitting in our hot tub! They were the nicest kids and so polite. But they were all over the place. Another time I came back from vacation, and my whole house was filled with Fair Harbor packages. The entire house!
In honor of Mother's Day, were there any favorite gifts the kids gave you?
Every year they serve me breakfast in bed, which is very sweet. My favorite gifts didn't cost a thing – they were handmade crafts from each of my kids. I used to get beautiful cards and homemade presents from each of them. My husband, Kevin, also plants flowers for me every Mother's Day. He's very thoughtful.
Any special plans for Mother's Day this year?
I am going to Italy with Jake and Caroline to shoot an upcoming collection, and I'm so excited! I'm really looking forward to the trip. But spending time with my kids is really the best gift of all.