Rosanna Bowles is not only a very close Gal Pal of mine; she is the founder and CEO of Rosanna Inc., an extremely successful fashion tableware company built from the ground up by Rosanna herself. Let her be every women’s inspiration and role model to do what you love, work hard, and never give up. Rosanna is a big supporter of women’s rights and encourages women to do what you love.
I applaud Rosanna for many things, but I most admire her is her gentle, loving soul. She is always there for her friends and cares deeply for others. She loves to entertain her family and friends and always does it effortlessly with style . I love her dearly. Her overwhelming natural beauty, woven together with her sense of classic style, always have heads turning no matter where she goes.
Rosanna has a sweet demeanor but don’t let that fool you. She is very passionate hard working soul that channels her creativity and profound appreciation for fine arts and high style into her home decor designs that resonate with millions of consumers worldwide. Her drive is unstoppable.
In fact, she describes herself as” a true Capricorn. Capricorn is the sign of the goat….they are tenacious and continue to climb even though the terrain is rocky and the mountain high.”
Rosanna's Life Story
Bowles has always appreciated beautifully crafted objects and a well-set table. By the time she was 5, she had started collecting antique Limoges china, adding a piece each year on summer trips to the Oregon Coast with her family. Her appreciation for art and her love for family is the spark that keeps her candle burning.
A Portland native, Bowles entered the tableware business after receiving a master’s degree in Italian language and literature from the University of Oregon in 1979. Her undergrad degree from Portland State University is in liberal arts with a concentration in art history, romance languages, and European literature. In 1982, she took out a $15,000 loan using her Seattle bungalow as collateral and started importing Italian ceramics. It was the start of something big!
Bowles originally founded her company by traveling to Perugia, Italy, and working with local artisans to develop ceramics based on her designs. She then imported back to the U.S.
The Start Of Rosanna Inc.
In Seattle, her design team now curates Rosanna’s own personal styled ceramic, table settings, glassware, and home decor products. Her mission is to help others create and keep their own traditions by using her products. “I grew up in a very tight-knit family, and my mother was an amazing cook,” she said. “She always set the table, every occasion. That sense of ritual and that sense of making everyday meals special is where I learned it from.”
Her road to success was never easy. In the beginning, she was a one women show. Rosanna set up at trade shows and oversaw production by herself. As the head designer and CEO, she took no salary for the first three years and then paid herself only $300 a month. Her first big break came in 1988 when Pottery Barn placed a $300,000 order. Finally, Rosanna could draw a living wage.
It’s fun to brag about Rosanna and all of her awards because she isn’t the type to self promote. Not even close. Rosanna’s designs have repeatedly received Oprah Winfrey’s O Magazine and O at Home editorial imprimatur, along with countless other publications from The New York Times and Vogue to Sunset and Southern Living.
Rosanna On Millennials And New Trends
Rosanna Has Designed Items For Some Of The Most Prestigous Institutions In The World
Rosanna takes pride in designing special items for Lincoln Memorial, Smithsonian Institution, Washington Monument and Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C.; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The White House, National Sep. 11 Memorial & Museum, National Gallery of Art, Frick Collection, Metropolitan Opera, Carnegie Hall, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Ellis Island and Statue of Liberty in New York City; the Golden Gate National Parks and de Young Museum in San Francisco; Seattle Symphony, Space Needle and Kensington Palace in London and the list goes on to include entities all over the U.S., Europe, the Middle East, Australia, New Zealand, South America and Asia.
With the pandemic upon us, home is where we all find comfort. Nowadays, too many of us miss the human connection and emotional replenishment that only a rewarding home life can bestow. It’s the perfect time to establish meaningful traditions. In Rosanna’s book, In Coming Home (see below), she shares a year-round plan for establishing traditions―and, in the process, making memories―that will restore the home to its central place in your family’s life.
On Living A Beautiful Life
How do you be your authentic, beautiful self?
I work from my heart, operate from my heart in all that I do. People can always see when you are true by your actions and how you conduct yourself in the world—caring about your work and how our products enhance others’ lives.
I believe that the best gift you can give someone is your time. Spending time with someone is what counts. Helping the ones you love. When you take the time to connect genuinely, it demonstrates your authenticity.
What is the best advice about life you have ever received?
The best advice was from my Dad … “don’t give up!” It’s one of my life’s mottos.
What age do you feel like you are right now? And why?
I feel like I am in my late forties,… I feel liberated because I can be myself, love myself, without criticism. It keeps my spirit young. Don’t self judge and be generous with yourself. When you get cynical, you start to age in your soul.
What's your beauty secret?
Sleep, taking cat naps during the day and eating whole fresh foods. Always cleaning my face and taking care of my skin. When I overwork, I can see it in my face, so I try to sleep more to move past the stress. Stress ages you.
Living With Purpose
What woman has inspired you the most and why?
My mother and grandmother. They both went through tough times in history, WWII, and the great depression. They both had an impressive work ethic. This characteristic was passed down to me. My grandmother was a career woman. She told me to “always have your own money!” Both women (my mother and grandmother) had so much grace and were never cynical. They never took out any of the life challenges on the kids. We learned from the challenges my parents went through. They are with me every day.
What life-changing events have shaped you?
1. Birth of my two daughters- given me the most joy, watch them bloom
2. Starting Rosanna Designs- when things are tough, I am my best. I don’t give up. Like a goat climbing up the mountain. Owning my business has taught me life lessons.
What drives you?
I want to succeed. Being an artist offers the opportunity to enhance people’s lives. I am motivated by the stories we hear about how Rosanna Design products have created traditions with families. I love traditions and how family traditions bring us all closer. Gathering around a table with beautiful tableware creates family memories.
What does grace mean to you?
Grace is unexpected blessings. You know you are on the right path when it feels right, and unexpected blessings happen. That is grace showering down, reinforcing that you are doing something right.
What issues and missions do you hold close to your heart?
Keeping families together and traditions. Eating together at the table. Amazing things happen at the table when people gather.
What brings you joy?
My children are the joy of my life. When I witness their accomplishments and how they navigate through life, it brings me so much joy. When my children are good I am good.
I also enjoy working with all of the museums all over the world. These cultural institutions promote a better understanding of our collective heritage and foster dialogue, curiosity, and self-reflection. I am so honored that Rosanna Designs curates collectible designs for these historical and vital venues.
What keeps you up at night?
Unnecessary worries about my children. Covid worries me too. What is going to happen to the economy and the unknown?
What is the daily routine that brings you joy?
Cooking and I love my work. I really love what I do; I feel blessed.
Where is your happy place and why?
My beach house in Oregon. Why? I always feel at peace at my beach home next to the Pacific Ocean. I always feel that I am just a speck of sand amongst the mass ocean. It’s peaceful, and it is so calm. I grew up going there, so it’s comforting to me.