Sitting in a teahouse in New York City, Paul Lowe shares the story of his childhood while mulling over his cup of rooibos. Paul tells each story of his youth with a mix of candor and humor, recalling experiences he had with his animated and loving family. Paul was raised Paul Lowe Einlyng in Oslo, Norway by two little old ladies, his great aunt, Auntie Gunnvor and his grandmother, who he lovingly referred to as Mormor — Norwegian for grandmother. Paul is the Editor-in-Chief of Sweet Paul magazine—we'll get to that name later—a magazine devoted to the beauty of cooking, crafting, and entertaining. Today, though, we are getting to know the man behind that magazine, and the little boy from Oslo.
Paul remembers being in a kitchen or crafting constantly as a child. "Ever since I was small, I’ve been obsessed with cooking, crafting and decorating. It’s in my blood. Both my grandmother and great aunt were excellent cooks and crafters with impeccable taste," he recalls. Hearing the loving way Paul describes his family and his time spent with them, it's no surprise that he would carry that creativity and tenacity for design and cooking into his adulthood. When asked about the kind of things that made with Auntie Gunnvor and his grandmother, Paul jokes, "They were not perfectionists. Their cakes tended to be a little lopsided and their craft projects definitely weren’t up to Martha's standards."
The one thing that Paul does recall about the projects was that they were always fun. "I’ve adopted my grandmother’s motto, 'fullkommenhet er kjedelig' which means 'perfection is boring,'" says Paul, "I have incorporated it and her sheer joy of creating into everything I do." In October of 2007, Paul was living in New York City as “Paul,” a successful craft and food stylist. "I unwittingly transformed myself into Sweet Paul when I chose the name for a little blog that I started to highlight some work I was producing for my clients," says Paul. "My godmother named me 'Sweet Paul', she had lived in the US for years and when she moved back to Norway she kind of looked like Peg Bundy. She had a large chest and wore tight clothes, she always called me Sweet Paul, maybe becuase of my Shirley Temple blond curls," he laughs. In order to carve out his own niche online, Paul expanded his blog posts to include new content featuring what he loved, food and crafts filtered through the lens of his seasoned stylist’s eye. Paul used his inspiration from his grandmother to form the magazine and blog, using the ideas of simple recipes and presentation. "I did not intend the blog to garner 200,000 hits a month or give rise to an online magazine," says Paul, "it has become something of a phenomenon."
By 2009, Paul's friends and colleagues in the magazine industry were lauding his work and asking if they could contribute to the blog. Paul created his own magazine, naming it the only thing that made sense, Sweet Paul. Incorporating his own years of experience, and showcasing the work of his talented food-geek, photography-obsessed, and craft-genius friends, Paul created the lifestyle magazine that illustrated the life he lives as an expert in the field. "I wanted Sweet Paul magazine to be an anticipated quarterly that readers could use to sweeten their everyday life. I strive to put out a magazine that is as creative and visually stunning as mass-marketed lifestyle magazines but without being weighed-down with impossible recipes and projects developed for expert chefs and crafters," explains Paul.
Sweet Paul magazine is the source people all over the world turn to for inspiration in easy and beautiful crafts, simple yet elegant recipes, and entertaining ideas for any crowd. "When I’m on a shoot with a client, I always seem to have several people pull me aside to tell me how much they love my Sweet Paul magazine for its creativity, beautiful photography and unexpected ideas," says Paul. In Spring 2012, the first print edition of the magazine was launched in Anthropologie stores nationwide. Paul is now working on distribution in Anthropologie UK and specialty stock lists worldwide. Like the magazine’s tagline, Paul is continually “chasing the sweet things in life.”
From the timeless recipes and crafts, to the charming and simple entertaining ideas it is easy to see the passion and history Paul has in each area of Sweet Paul Magazine. Paul is committed to keeping his family traditions and heritage alive through the pages of the magazine. Taking another drink of tea, Paul begins another story about his days spent in his grandmother's kitchen, the place where all of his passions are rooted. "Even if she passed away years ago, I feel that my grandmother is with me everyday."
To learn more about 'Sweet' Paul Lowe and Sweet Paul Magazine, check out his website at http://www.sweetpaulmag.com/.
Portrait: Rikki Snyder. Photos: www.sweetpaulmag,com