Friday, November 13, 2015

Hello and Nice to Meet You.

Since I've gotten an influx of new followers lately, I thought it was about time that I properly introduced myself.

Hi! I'm Leah Coccari-Swift.

I was born and raised in Madison, Wisconsin by my parents, Diane Coccari and Ken Swift, who are also amazing public school teachers. Ever since I can remember, they have instilled in me the importance of doing and making (rather than buying). We always had a big vegetable garden. My parents met while living in India and I have a big Indian extended "family" and grew up eating mostly Indian food. Consequently, I love spicy food and have been known to travel with my own hot sauce.

Since I was pretty young, I've struggled with depression and anxiety. Currently the anxiety is more of an issue than the depression, and I consider myself very fortunate. I have a plan of attack that works for me and I am sticking with it.

I have a 4-years younger brother named Caleb who is a farmer, beekeeper, sometimes-butcher, and all-around hardworking and inspiring dude. I have come to realize how lucky I am to have close family that I love and admire.

I love outdoor adventures. When I was 17, I canoed (with 7 other young women) through the Canadian wilderness to Hudson Bay for 55 days. We covered about 750 miles of mostly uninhabited wilderness. We had a polar bear encounter. Remind me to tell you about that sometime.

I went to Beloit College and majored in Studio Art (drawing/painting). I wrote a children's book for my senior show called Margo and the Monster.

The monster under your bed can be your friend!

I met my husband Louis Marquis while we were both working at a summer camp... picture Wet Hot American Summer and you won't be far off. He works for a wonderful nonprofit called Playworks that is changing the lives of young people in under-served communities.

Louis and I lived in Los Angeles for 7 years. I have very mixed feelings about the city. Everything that anyone says about LA is true, good and bad. We found amazing friends through the Sociology department at USC, otherwise I don't know how we would have found our people. It's a fucked-up place but we had a wonderful life there for a time. I miss being wild and crazy and living near the ocean.


  • My grandmother M'lou taught me to knit when I was 4 (see photo! She knit my sweater/hat, naturally)
  • I am 1/4 southern Italian--my Coccari family is from Calabria (toe of the boot)
  • I started cooking and babysitting when I was 10  #latchkeykid
  • I have only ever had rodents as pets so far (3 guinea pigs, one rat)
  • Opened my first shop at age 6. It was called "Rainbow Color Shop" and I sold jewelry and accessories to passersby in my neighborhood
  • Got big thick glasses when I was 2 years old, immediately snapped them in half with my tiny hands. Didn't have the effect I wanted. I still wear glasses (or contacts when I am feeling fancy)
  • In Los Angeles I worked at an LYS for 5 years, met lots of fancy famous people who knit
  • Both my parents are feminists who raised me to be strong and independent
  • I've worked many retail/food service jobs over the years. My first "real" job was at Sears in the Men's clothing department when I was 16. Can I show you to the Dockers shelf?
  • Like many a nature-wanderer, I've had Lyme disease

I am always working to get better at social media, and posting regularly, and all that jazz that is so important for us small-business people. I greatly admire all the (mostly) women that run their own creative brands like badasses. I hope you stick around to see what's next! And as always, if you have any questions for me, don't hesitate to ask. Thanks for reading.


Brooke said...

You are so amazing and talented. I love you and I'm so proud to know you!

Heather said...

So many fun Leah facts! I am happy we met during your wild California adventure.

Kat Riddell said...

So great getting to know you! High five, fellow Lyme Disease victim! I had it the end of my junior year of high school-got half my final exams forgiven!

Leah said...

I love you, NF!

Leah said...

Me too, H-bomb. Me too.

Leah said...

Woooah score! Ha. High five!