DPJ’s Bike Chic series, bike devotee Keith Mulvin scouts locals who not only ride their bikes but look dapper doing it.
Today we will meet Quinn Whissen, a marketing & design consultant. Though very talented at what she does, Quinn is most known for co-founding This Could Be Phoenix.
Quinn and I ran into each other at Lola Coffee on Third Avenue and Roosevelt. I can always count on running into Quinn or a handful of other creatives at Lola, as with every other coffeeshop in downtown, which tend to be epicenters for creatives.
Along with locally roasted coffee made right in the building, Lola serves up a relaxing environment that helps Quinn concentrate and be productive, even though you will find the place packed nine times out of ten.
Keith: Quinn, you must live here, because I always see you here.
Quinn: I’m close. The Roosevelt Neighborhood is my home. You can always find me somewhere along this corridor.
Keith: So you’re actually in the heart of it all. What’s your favorite thing about this area?
Quinn: I like the fact that I see at least two or three people I know every time I leave my loft. It feels like I’m in a small town, but I am actually in a really big city. The community here in Phoenix is so close-knit that you can’t help run into someone when you’re out and about.
Another thing is that you actually don’t have to own a car. Really! I like that I’m able to walk, bike and use the light-rail, and not having to rely on four-wheels to get around.
That also goes back to the first point; you almost ignore everything around you when you’re in the car and stuck behind the wheel. But when you’re out and about biking around, you actually do see your friends, run into people you normally wouldn’t and meet new people really easily.
You are actually in the environment when you’re on a bike.
Keith: It sounds like you have everything you need in your back yard. What are some of your favorite places?
Quinn: That’s easy; I love Lola Coffee, which is why you found me here today. I have most of my meetings here. And since I live so close, this is the first stop when meeting up with friends, or I just walk over for some coffee or tea.
I especially love being here when it’s raining because of their big windows. That is just one of my favorite things. The lighting in here changes when it rains, and I love sitting right in the front, watching storm open up and reveal itself. But when it is not raining, it’s almost like these big windows frame the city and allows you to watch life in downtown Phoenix unfold when you’re sitting behind them.
I love Forno 301, too. The place is so fun and the owners are straight from Italy. It brings a different vibe than the other pizza places. I remember thinking when they were opening ‘Oh no! Not another pizza place. You gotta be kidding me!’ But this one has a different style and the people there are just so much fun! You cannot leave without a smile on your face, and the pizza is delicious too.
I just love everything about the Roosevelt Neighborhood. And I also just finished their website. What I enjoyed most about that project was I got dive into the early history of the area and I learn how Roosevelt was shaped and what its role will be in the future.
Keith: This area definitely has some character, which complements your style. Speaking of which, what would you consider your style?
Quinn: For me, comfort is number one. Next, I love color and anything fun with a professional slant. By that I mean what you see here is what I’m wearing for a client meeting; I have on a really loud skirt and a statement belt, a combination that is not considered a corporate outfit. It’s fun and feels great to wear. And since I will be walking over there, I’ll make sure it’s comfortable to wear. These are things I have to take into consideration when biking and walking.
So to answer your question, I would say my style is functional, fun and colorful, but still polished.
Keith: That sounds like a good tag line for your next business card: Quinn. Functionally fun, but still polished. Are clothes hard to find for your functionally fun style?
Quinn: Shopping is a little limited because I do not have a car. I have to be very intentional when I decide to go shopping. But overall, I have a mix of things from my travels. Some things are from Europe, Canada, Detroit and everywhere in between.
Keith: May you describe to the readers what your style is right now?
Quinn: Well, it’s nothing special and I’m generally not too picky. If I like it and it’s a good price, then I’ll get it. I’ve had this belt for years, so I can’t even tell you where I got it. The skirt is from Nordstrom Rack. The t-shirt is a basic tee from target. The shoes are from famous footwear. They actually have really good shoes there, for good prices too. And of course my handmade ring.
Keith: I really like your ring. Where is it from?
Quinn: I got this ring in Vancouver at Ten Thousand Villages. It was made in Africa.
Keith: It’s beautiful! Maybe they have a size 11.5 in men’s. I digress. Let’s get back to style; Do you have any biking fashion tips for our readers?
Quinn: My number one tip is: Don’t try to be something you’re not. Feel like you can express yourself in what you’re wearing, but feel comfortable. It can be really fun if you let it. You don’t have to keep up on trends, because that’s exhausting and expensive. Just pick what you like and be comfortable in it. Again, comfort is key especially when you’re walking and biking around downtown. Secondly, plan ahead. Places take a little longer to get to when biking or walking, but I’m very intentional when I go places, and I always want to maximize my trips. So I have my backpack and saddlebag to bring all the things I will need for the day. We bikers have to think through everything.
Keith: What are some of your biking essentials?
Quinn: As I already mentioned, the saddlebags and backpacks are a huge accessory for me. They always come in handy. But every time I take out my saddlebag someone always ends up complementing me for them. Literally, every time when I have them on my bike, someone says: ‘where did you get that bag? It’s beautiful!’ Or a common one: ‘Your saddlebag is so chic!’
In all honesty, what I love about them is that the bags are so deep that I can fill them with groceries when I’m at the store, or my laptop and books when going to a coffee shop. But the additional fact that they match my bike so well and they look really cute is really great.
Some other important things are lights, which are really important, obviously for nighttime riding. A bell, to tell people to get out of my way. (Note to readers, she laughed after saying this. Okay, back to the interview…) And having a bike pump at your house will always come in handy. Another really important essential that is not fashion related is knowing a good Bike Shop to go to. You never know when you might need a quick fix.
Keith: What kind of bike do you have?
Quinn: Pap-ill-ion-aire. Papillon in French is butterfly. And the bike I have is what they call a Mixte bike. It’s a mix between a traditional girls and traditional boys, which allows me to step through the frame with a skirt in hunter green. I like it because before this bike, I had a way too heavy vintage Schwinn, and I needed something more function and lightweight for city life.
Keith: Quinn, it’s been great learning more about you and your butterfly bike. Before we end this, is there one this you would like to tell the readers?
Quinn: The city is a great place to discover yourself and how to express who you are, while interacting with so many incredible people in the creative community down in downtown. And when you add a bike to that it makes it all the more fun.
Photos by Keith Mulvin.