Last week I had the absolute pleasure of visiting the MacKenzie-Child headquarters in the charming town of Aurora in upstate New York with the LVPR team. As you already know, I grew up around this brand as it was one of my Bubby’s favorites. I have so many memories of shopping MacKenzie-Child with her and my mom which made this opportunity even more special for me. I was so excited to see the headquarters, meet the MacKenzie-Child team and the other girls on the trip (there were 7 influencers on the trip), talk about our families holiday traditions (and decorate for them) and visit upstate New York for the first time ever. Let me tell ya, none of it disappointed.
We flew into Rochester and had about an 1.5 hour drive into Aurora. The land was beautiful but nothing compared to pulling up to our inn, The Rowland House. The property is spectacular. The stunning inn sits right on Lake Cayuga, one of the Finger Lakes and each corner is more charming than the next. Below you can see The Rowland House, the view and my favorite nook inside of the Inn. ps. those chairs you see in the middle image are hand beaded…..
We enjoyed the time we got to spend at the Inn together tremendously but I think the most special part of the trip was touring the headquarters, learning the story about the brand and getting to spend time in the infamous farmhouse (pictured below) where the brand started before they outgrew the space. It now stands as an homage to the brand and sort of museum for guests to tour. We were so lucky to have lunch in The Farmhouse with the fabulous, spunky, inspiring creative director of MacKenzie-Child, Rebecca. We sat in the exquisite dining room and told our stories, talked about hardships, journeys and how blessed we were to be sitting in a room full of powerful women who were truly there to support each other. It was very special. Each room in The Farmhouse is beyond breathtaking and oh, so different. MacKenzie-Child is a really special brand because each piece holds a unique story. Almost everything is made by hand and everything has incredible intricate detail that is mind blowing. These are a few of my favorites rooms in the farmhouse. They are fully furnished and decorated in pieces from MacKenzie-Child.
Before I continue about our trip… I’m dying to tell you the amazing story of how this brand started… Richard and Victoria MacKenzie Childs were sculptors and didn’t have much money… When their daughter announced that she wanted to go to ballet school in London they needed to figure out a way to pay for it. They started hand making ceramics (the way they’re still made today) and began selling those. They went to a nearby trade show and set up a booth. Back then, the booths at the trade shows were pretty much just a folding table with products set on it. But, if Richard and Victoria MacKenzie Childs were going to do something, they were really going to do it. So, they hand built and hand painted furniture for use solely to display their ceramics. But, of course, it was so beautiful and people wanted to buy the furniture as well. That’s how the second part of their business, furniture, was born.
A Neiman Marcus buyer accidentally found their booth and knew she had found something special. She asked the MacKenzie Childs’ to call her. Not knowing who Neiman Marcus was, Richard MacKenzie Childs lost her business card and didn’t call. Fate has it that the Neiman Marcus buyer summered in the Finger Lakes and not long after, she stumbled back upon the MacKenzie Childs’. She placed an order for 250+ pieces and the brand got it’s real start.
The farmhouse is filled with tons of original pieces from the brand as well as newer pieces. Not only did we get to tour the fabulous farmhouse, but we had a FULL tour of the factory. We were able to witness first hand the processes and techniques the artisans utilize to keep this upbeat and lively brand going strong. We had the opportunity to chat with the artists and see them demonstrate and explain their craft. All of the ceramics made in Aurora are still made by hand using the original techniques that the founders of the company used. Today, they’re just streamlined to be more efficient. All of the craftspeople are true artisans, many of whom have been with the company for 20+ years. The standard for each piece made in Aurora is extremely high, but what makes them truly amazing is that no two pieces are ever going to be EXACTLY the same because they are all hand crafted and painted. I love that.
One day while we were at the headquarters, we were able to spend time creating our ideal place setting for the upcoming holidays. It was SO fun to have all of the amazing pieces in one room to choose from. We actually did a Facebook live with Rebecca talking about or place settings. It was also wonderful because we all talked about our families holiday traditions… something very special and unique to everyone. I loved hearing how we each celebrate different traditions and adored telling stories of family holidays. We talked a lot about holiday and tradition on this trip. MacKenzie-Child is a brand rooted in tradition… so it makes total sense that this was a big focus of the trip.
Being Jewish, the holidays are a little different. There aren’t really themes or specific things or colors we decorate with. I actually love this because it means you have a totally blank slate to create something beautiful, welcoming and fun! The Jewish holidays are very much rooted in tradition, quality time with family and lots of great food. I talked a lot with the girls about Hanukkah, the festival of lights. It’s a celebration of the miracle that oil that was supposed to only create light for one night lasted 8 nights. Our table at Hanukkah is always filled with a lot of candles and a lot of color. It is a celebration after all! I created my ideal Hanukkah table setting mixing my favorite collection, Flower Market with my moms favorite, the classic Courtly Check! It was such a fun way to mix pattern and color and really looked like a celebration, as it should! This was one of my favorite things we did at the MacKenzie-Child headquarters (it’s hard to rank them though)!
Not only did we get to experience the amazingness that is MacKenzie-Child, but we also got to learn and explore all that the charming town of Aurora has to offer. Three notables are pictured below. On the left, a photo from the farm on the property of the MacKenzie-Child headquarters. It’s a stunning,, sprawling property. This willow tree was my favorite. Next, all the gorgeous gals pictured on the balcony of The Aurora Inn where we had the most delectable and most fun dinner at a gigantic and beautifully decorated table. Last but not least, pictured on the right, Sabrina and I at a beautiful winery called Heart & Hands Wine Company which was surely another highlight.
The week was amazing but what’s any experience without the people who make it special? The other girls on the trip were: Liz, Kathleen, Karina, Sabrina, Aylin, Cathy and myself, of course! If you don’t already follow them, you should… trust me. They are all wonderful, kind, authentic, outstanding human beings. If you click each of their names it will take you to their instagrams! We bonded instantly and I have such respect and love for every one of them! Plus, the girls who make up the LVPR team are incredible! I already knew I liked them as we’ve been in touch via email for 2+ years but meeting them and getting to know them personally was such a special experience! Last, but definitely not least thought… The MacKenzie-Child team. Talk about an incredible, inspiring, hard working passionate group of people!!!
We were extremely lucky to spend a lot of time with the wonderful humans who run this company and I really don’t know where to start. They are living proof that hard work, passion, research, creativity, positivity and teamwork really do make the dream work. About a week has passed and I am still in awe that I was lucky enough to have this experience with the brand I have admired since childhood, MacKenzie-Child.
A huge thank you to MacKenzie Childs for sponsoring this post. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
I’ll be sharing a lot more of my favorite MC products soon!… But I linked all of my current MacKenzie Childs kitchenware below if you want to take a peek! I’m obsessed with it!