For Suann Song, Washington, DC isn’t just the place she calls home, it’s a core part of her company’s DNA, Appointed (which was one of G&Gpast winners of the Made in the South Awards).
Song grew up in Seattle playing at an imaginary stationery store with his sister, then carved out a career in marketing, public relations and graphic design. She conceived the idea of Appointed when she couldn’t find the type of sleek, stylish, high-quality paper products at home that she liked to pick up on her trips abroad. After a successful crowdfunding campaign, Song launched Appointed in 2015 with a flagship (and still cult) product, The Notebook. Since then, the company and Song have remained committed to producing functional and beautiful pieces made from all American materials, designed and finished right in the heart of DC.
With a sleek new showroom in the district’s Ivy City neighborhood and seven years of fast-growing business success under her belt (named products are sold in over 700 retailers worldwide), Song is enjoying her way in the national capital. In October 2021, she launched Notebook Bar, a sleek, minimalist space in Ivy City that doubles as the brand’s brick-and-mortar store and studio. We met Song at the named showroom and got his insider picks on where to eat, drink, shop and run around the neighborhood.
District Get-together Nights and Family Pizza
Song’s tastes range from pizzerias that cater to her four- and fifteen-year-old children to nightlife hangouts. “My husband and I recently tried Anju and it was really good,” she said. “We are big fans of this chef, Danny Lee. We love all of his restaurants, especially Chiko and Anju. During the pandemic, in particular, we’ve done a lot of takeout from Chiko. For the kids, they visit favorites like Little Beast or 2 Amys. “Two Amy’s is my favorite pizza. It’s a DC institution. And for after-work drinks, Song favors Other Half, the DC outpost of the Brooklyn brewery that’s a stone’s throw from the Appointed showroom. in Ivy City.
Capital on foot
Song and her family take advantage of DC’s abundance of walking trails on the weekends. “We love the C&O Canal in Georgetown,” she says. “Sometimes we start near Bethesda and go down to Georgetown.” And on most summer mornings, when family life slows down slightly with school vacations, she makes time to run almost daily (she’s currently training for a half marathon) on the C&O Arlington Canal in National Mall. “From the Iwo Jima Memorial to the Capitol, it’s less than five miles. It’s the perfect race: flat.
Much of Song’s family exploration is focused on children. “We are members of the zoo,” she says, “and we’re really happy that the National Children’s Museum, which had been under construction for years, has reopened.” Weather permitting, they will also visit the US National Arboretum. In the fall, you will regularly find Song and her husband at the Kennedy Center or the Warner.
Made in DC
Song quickly lists his favorite DC brands, including lifestyle store Salt & Sundry, plant store Little Leaf, and jewelry stores Kicheko and Shelter. “You don’t think DC is super creative like you do in Brooklyn or parts of LA,” Song says, “but I think here there’s such a strong creative community, and a lot of between them are women and women entrepreneurs. We are all very supportive of each other. During the pandemic, Song joined other local women entrepreneurs on a Slack channel that collected and shared knowledge about navigating businesses during PPP loans and shelter-in-place measures.” It’s such a small community and DC itself is a big market, so there’s room for a lot of different stores or independent makers. Instead of competitiveness, it really breeds a spirit of collaboration.
At home in the capital
Song, who has lived in the DC area for over twenty years, can’t imagine himself anywhere else. “It’s a very manageable city,” she says. “I like the mix of politics, and you get a huge mix and diversity of people. There is great art here. There is a great culture here. She also credits the district as the key to her success. “For me as a business owner, DC has enabled a lot of opportunities because even though there aren’t a lot of mainstream brands here, there is a very knowledgeable and discerning customer base that is open to buying. and local support.”