Thanks to the remarkable world wide web, Blair and I had the pleasure of connecting and meeting up with Maggie Sutherland, the creator and curator of Seacoast Lately, a blog (and killer Instagram account! @seacoastlately) dedicated to spotlighting the amazing brands, shops, eateries, destinations, and more around New Hampshire, Maine and New England. Talk about a kindred creative/entrepreneurial spirit! Maggie is a voracious wanderer and has a gift for unearthing gems wherever she goes. To see the world through Maggie’s eyes is to be privileged with, as she puts it perfectly, “the inside skinny on the best of the seacoast!” This amazing lady has expanded our awareness of our own stomping grounds and awakened the wanderlust in both of us. Her appreciation for all the seacoast and New England has to offer is inspiring – we’re betting Maggie is never bored. Even after sailing around Casco Bay for a couple of hours with Maggie we still had all kinds of questions for her. Luckily she agreed to be interviewed for SS+C and we are thrilled to share her perspectives on starting her own venture, travel, finding inspiration, style, and more.
Read on! Hayley
SS+C: What was the spark that started Seacoast Lately?
SL: Being away from home and the ocean while at school made me realize how blessed I am to be born and raised on the seacoast. The endless beauty and friendly community here is like nothing I’ve ever experienced – I am grateful this little east coast paradise has played such an influential role in my life. After graduating college, I moved back to the seacoast for a bit and started an Instagram account that focused on the beautiful and cool parts of Portsmouth and surrounding areas. It was completely for fun.
I then moved to New York City to pursue a career in fashion where I did work in social media and blogging, which gave me the experience to take Seacoast Lately to the next level. The seacoast was calling me back this summer and I felt a drive to start a business of my own. I couldn’t be happier:).
SS+C: We’ve learned about all kinds of places in our own backyard from you, how do you find all the amazing shops and spots you feature on Seacoast Lately?
SL: My mom and I are like twins when it comes to travel and exploration. She instilled in me a curiosity and a love of walking EVERYWHERE, never leaving territory untouched. We both possess a strong appreciation for all things beautiful, unique, and one-of-a-kind. I guess it’s the thrill I get from finding a local treasure situated just beyond the beaten path, always walking down new streets, and taking the extra step. I love exploring!
SS+C: What were/are the most important elements to you when you set up your creative environment?
SL: There are a lot of places where I set up my creative work environment…they’re all coffee shops! I love the buzz, energy and unique vibe of each space. Seeing people working around me inspires me. When I need a change of scenery, I go to another “office”! My favorites are Lil’s in Kittery, ME and White Heron in Portsmouth, NH. I always write with a a Uniball 207 (Maine shoutout!) pen on crisp, white printer paper. I am also a huge fan of my Lilly Pulitzer agenda:).
SS+C: How would you describe your style- fashion and otherwise?
SL: I would describe my style as cozy-chic. The most important things on my list are comfort and quality. You can often find me sporting tops with frills on the bottom, accompanied by black skinny jeans and flats (In the colder months, I swear by L.L. Bean moccasins)! My favorite store for clothing is Anthropologie.
SS+C: How do you gather and process inspiration? How do you stay inspired?
SL: When I’m at home, I’m inspired by the coast, passionate people and, as tech-y as it may sound…Instagram (right now, my favorite accounts to follow are @graymalin, @cerealmag and @stephsterjovski). I often take little day trips and those inspire me more than anything else. I love the excitement of exploring an area if it’s for the first time or or 100th time:). One of my favorite day trips is to Portland, Maine.
SS+C: When in Maine, what is your favorite thing to do -or- what is your favorite season and why?
SL: I think every season in Maine is perfect and stunning! I love living in an area with four distinct seasons and having memories and favorite activities that come with each one. Spending eight years of school in “Vacationland” has given me a true taste of Maine winters. My favorite east coast mountain is Sunday River and I have fond memories of high school ski races and getting every dollars’ worth of season passes with my college friends. I feel fortunate to live so close to the stunning Maine coast. Nothing beats a summer afternoon spent surfing at Long Sands Beach in York, ME and returning home with sandy toes and salty hair.
SS+C: What is the best piece of business/life advice you’ve ever received?
SL: My mom has given my brother and I great advice for years…the piece that really stands out in my mind is,“Never take no for an answer.” She’s a big supporter of following your dreams and believing in yourself. I think this is great advice not only for business but for every aspect of life. I also read recently, “Never miss a cocktail party.” It’s not like me to ‘miss a party’ but, it is a great reminder to just go; you never know who you’ll meet!
SS+C: What has been your favorite adventure to date? If you could go anywhere tomorrow, where would you want to travel?
SL: I explored western Mass for the first time this summer and was totally blown away by the Mass MoCA. I’ve been to Kennebunkport many times this summer and have enjoyed exploring it more in depth…such a stunning (and adorable) part of the seacoast.
I didn’t make it to Nantucket this year but I am totally IN LOVE with the historic charm and pristine beauty there. If I could go anywhere tomorrow (especially with this beautiful, September weather), it would probably be Nantucket.
SS+C: What has been the greatest/most surprising experience you’ve had as a result of curating Seacoast Lately?
SL: I am so grateful for each and every person who has supported me in this adventure. I am not able to do it without the loyal followers, local businesses, and every ounce of advice people have shared with me. Starting out, I had no idea if people would follow, or more importantly, stay with it.
I am beyond happy and grateful that people like Seacoast Lately and they keep allowing me to follow my dreams! It’s really rewarding to hear someone go somewhere because it was mentioned on Instagram or the blog! That’s crazy! It’s also really fun to meet new people who own local businesses and realize there’s so much more going on here than I thought!
SS+C: What essentials are you always sure to pack for a weekend adventure?
SL: A swim suit! I’ve always loved the water and swim suits are kind of a vacation staple for me:). For clothes, I mostly just bring dresses for light packing and ease. I’m all into easy, breezy, carefree style when it comes to being on vacation!
SS+C: What are your top three favorite bags/accessories? What do you love about each?
SL: I am totally OBSESSED with everything Clare V. and am in love with my new navy, polka-dot clutch that I recently got on sale! I carry it with me at every opportunity possible. The brand’s products are all about mixing laid-back California style with French chic…a match made in heaven if you ask me!
I’m a huge bracelet gal and have countless on both wrists at all times…I wouldn’t feel myself without them! I love having a collection where each piece tells a story or brings back a memory. My wrists are currently showcasing a Cape Cod bracelet from my cousins, bangles from a family trip to Nantucket, and a few friendship bracelets. The two pieces I’m eyeing right now are the “Perfect Catch Clutch” from Watts in Maine and a colorful rope bracelet from The Ropes!
SS+C: What is next for Seacoast Lately? Where do you see the blog in a year… three years?
SL: I would be thrilled to be included in local print, magazines, and other blogs (I’m honored to have Sea Salt and Chambray be the first blog to feature me; thank you Hayley and Blair!). I am really excited to have a tastefully curated map of downtown Portsmouth and Kittery coming out this week and I look forward to adding an online shop in the near future!
I would eventually like to expand and be a go-to, trusted resource not only for the seacoast, but for New England travel as well! I look forward to meeting many new and inspiring people – go-getters, small business owners, and local makers – along the way, and enjoying every moment of this journey!