Craig Conover might be best known for the hit Bravo reality show Southern Charm, but pillows are making him a household name. The handsome bachelor is probably the last person most would image has a natural eye for home décor, but he proved everyone wrong when he started pillow brand Sewing Down South.
The line recently expanded with an exclusive collection for HSN, which launched in June. Considering we’re all spending more time at home these days due to the pandemic, the timing couldn’t be better.
“This was one of the more exciting things that has happened to me in the last few years of my life, maybe ever,” Conover tells me. “But I remember they reached out to us, which was super flattering. This is a goal that I thought would be three to five years off. It was an amazing opportunity. HSN is the cornerstone of housewares and selling. It’s kind of a dream come true.”
While Conover is a lawyer by trade, his love of sewing began in eighth grade home economics class. His spark for sewing was re-ignited after his breakup with Naomi Olindo. “When I was going through my breakup with my ex,” he tells me, “I had a huge garden at that house and a big workshop. And when I left, I just didn’t have that outlet for creativity anymore. But, I had my sewing machine.”
One Sunday afternoon he was alone and suddenly experienced the urge to start sewing again. “I just got this adrenaline rush. For some reason, I had a thrill out of making that pillow.”
After fans spotted his projects on Instagram, Conover knew he was on to something.
The line for HSN features a total of 23 pillows ranging in price from $45 to $55. Every piece is made of high-quality materials and generously filled for both style and comfort. There are two sizes: twenty by twenty inch squares and fifteen by nineteen inch lumbar pillows. They’re the perfect accent for accessorizing a chair, bed, or sofa.
The pillows are divided into four collections ideal for mixing and matching. They’re also versatile enough to work with most décor schemes. “If you have pillows from our other lines, they still go together and a lot of them collaborate,” he says. Conover shares his goal with these pillows is to “wake up a room,” noting that the bright, graphic designs are “great conversation starters.”
Just in time for the Fourth of July, the Americana collection features fun star, fireworks, and Popsicle designs. “It reminds me of summer with family—backyard cookouts, riding bikes with my brother and rocket pops. Also, it’s red, white, and blue. I feel like everyone can have some sense of nostalgia with that,” he explains.
Featuring cupcake and car graphics, The Party Time collection is easy to mix with match the Americana pillows.
Waterlife has five different designs, each with a marine-chic graphic including turtles, turquoise coral plants, blue and coral whales as well as a solo jellyfish. One of the simplest and most colorful designs, Conover notes it’s also a nod to Austin Kroll’s Trop Hop craft beer.
Appearing as if they are potentially inspired by a combination of Scalamandré along with Patricia Altschul’s personal aesthetic, Animal pillows are available with zebra, tiger, and giraffe designs with white backgrounds as well as light blue, red and green colors. Conover calls Animal his most “vibrant and regal” line.
Conover was grateful for the time he’s had in recent months to work on this project. “I was able to really sit back and start creating again,” he tells me. “Not because we had deadlines, but I kind of just was able to sit back and have fun with it. And a lot of these playful designs came from that.”
Much of the collection was designed during the quarantine with Conover drawing inspiration from the Eastern Shore and Fenwick Island areas of Delaware where he grew up as well as the past twelve years he’s spent in his adopted home of Charleston. “I’m also inspired by the time I spent in the Bahamas. And it was during those travels that I would sketch a lot.”
What His Co-Stars Think
While Cameran Eubanks was one of the hardest on Conover when he first began the venture, she publicly apologized at last year’s Bravo Con.
As for Shep Rose, “He’s turned a corner. He still thinks I’m absurd, but he’s really happy that I’m finally doing something.”
Conover feels it’s all worked out for the best. “I wish they would have been more supportive [initially], without seeing where it ended up. But a lot of that kind of strife is why I’m here today. If I hadn’t dated Naomi and she wasn’t negative and pushed me away… I used to fight with Shep. I don’t know if I would be with Sewing Down South and on HSN if it weren’t for those struggles and pushing through. I’m pretty grateful for all of it, even the tough times because now we get to share this.”