Jo Donofrio *An Interview* with Owner of AUGUST & RUDY

The past few months we’ve had the pleasure of working with Rhode Island local, Jo, from the vintage boutique August & Rudy. Jo contacted us a few months ago and we were over-the-moon excited to collaborate with such a sweet and talented lady!

More recently, one Sunday morning I had the pleasure of shooting her in downtown Providence. Sundays can be pretty quiet downtown and it felt so perfect to have the city to ourselves. I really loved getting to know her and hearing her perspective on business, fashion, and film. Jo is so hard working, unassuming and inspiring; we love supporting people like her!

Ladies and gentlemen…. Jo Donofrio.

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Age: 24

where are you from and where do you live now?

“I am from Connecticut and live in northwestern Rhode Island.”

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describe Providence in a few words.

“Small, quaint, original.”

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when do you feel the most creative?

“I feel the most creative when I converse with others about ideas or listen to others stories. It’s inspiring to listen to the personal journey of individuals and invigorates me to keep creating and leading my passions in life.”

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what is one thing you can’t leave your house without?

“I wish I could say something more interesting but simply…… water.”

when do you feel your best?

“I feel my best when I’m doing things that feed my mind and spirit. Running, being by the ocean, enjoying moments of solitude, and spending a day with friends and family all nurture that.”

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what inspired you to have an online boutique?

“I always enjoyed the process of styling and curating, and shared a deep love for clothing and items from the past. I also felt very encouraged by the creative Etsy community which led me to feel it was very possible for a single individual like myself to start an online shop from the ground up. That D.I.Y sensibility was very exciting to me.”

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what is the meaning behind the name: August & Rudy?

“The name originates from two family members that I wanted to honor and remember. It can be very easy to forget what is no longer in the present moment.  I wanted to be reminded of their spirit and essence in a similar way I am trying to remind my viewers of these beautiful items from the past not to be forgotten.”

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how would you describe your fashion style?

“I would describe my style as relaxed and eclectic. While I have a great vision for fashion outside of my own wardrobe, I generally tend to be pretty laid back with what I wear and enjoy being comfortable. I also like mixing an array of different styles and incorporating vintage and modern pieces together whenever I can.”

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when did you realize you loved fashion?

“I think every kid plays dress up when they’re young, but that fun only grew larger into my teens when I began thrifting on a weekly basis, sticking my nose into fashion mags, sketching looks, and styling whenever I could.  Clothing is a creation in itself, but the precious act of putting pieces together is another sense of creating.”

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what would you say is the best business advice you’ve received?

“I think the importance of marketing has been the best advice received. It is incredibly important to keep putting yourself out there to get your work known to others. Networking is also huge!”

what have you learned from having a business?

“I have learned that it takes time; nothing happens overnight. Being your own boss sounds like a wonderful idea in theory, but it really demands that you are self-disciplined, determined, and follow through.”

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what would you say is your big vision for August & Rudy?

“I have to be sensible in my vision as I have embarked on another passion in my life and one that I hope will take precedence one day.  While I’ve always dreamed of opening a brick-and-mortar shop, where my passion for curating could really come alive, I know I have to be realistic about what I really want for my future. I created my shop so I could be self-dependent and make my work something I loved.  My only hope is to be able to continue expanding the shop and supporting myself through this business while I also pursue my other love; film making.”

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if you could drop everything and do ONE thing– what would you do??

“I would make films and act.”

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besides thrifting and finding such beautiful items, what else do you enjoy on your time off?

“I love going to the movies, being at the beach, hiking, yoga and spending time with loved ones.”

what is the best place you’ve ever traveled to?“I’ve traveled to many places, Spain, France, Canada and all over the U.S. but I find that it’s not these places alone that could answer that question; it’s the experiences I had when I visited them.  While every place has it’s own sort of beauty, I have a very special place in my heart for Newport, Rhode Island that whenever I am there, it feels like home. While it seems so simplistic since it’s local to us, I have never felt so at peace in any other place I’ve been to, thus far.”


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who or what inspires you?

“I am constantly inspired by others. My family, friends, boyfriend, teachers, and even strangers that I see creating a life of artistic fulfillment for themselves.  To plug some fangirlism, I am also inspired by the fashion extraordinaire Tavi Gevinson, who has accomplished so much, in so little time. And I wouldn’t be a film enthusiast if I didn’t say I am incredibly influenced by movies and the directors that created them; Sofia Coppola, Wes Anderson, Woody Allen, Derek Cianfrance, and more. I don’t think I could create what I do if I wasn’t moved by films, music, art, and the spirit of others.”

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any words of advice would you give to our readers wanting to start an online boutique or wanting to venture to flea markets?

“My advice would be, come up with a business plan first and foremost. Ask yourself, what is your aspiration in starting an online shop. Be very clear about what you want, that will help determine the choices you make along the way. If you are interested in just shopping, research flea markets in your area, get up early, grab some coffee and have fun! The best part about flea market shopping is being open to the experience because you never know what you may find.”

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where can our readers purchase your vintage finds & follow you on social media?!

You can check out my Etsy shop: August & Rudy (here).

And follow me on instagram @AugustandRudy (here)!



Jo is a kind soul with a keen eye for style, has one heck of a business sense, and not to mention she’s gorgeous! Check out her shop and support Providence locals, like her!



// all photography and editing by: Olivia //



It’s officially summer and Providence in the summertime is basically the best. I know I’ve said that so many times but you really get to see Providence shine this time of year.

The other night we went for a walk through Waterplace Park and it was really one of my favorite memories this summer so far. There is something so lovely about just walking through your city and being inspired by all the city life, nature, and the simplicity of just enjoying the fresh summer air. Waterplace Park is in the heart of Providence. You get an amazing view of the city and get to walk along the river. If you’re feeling romantic you can pay to ride along in a Venetian Gondola; how cute is that!?

We have a lot of amazing plans for this summer and really want to enjoy every moment of this sunshine and warm weather!

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Happy Summer!


// photography by Olivia //

Providence Painted Signs *Interview with owner: Shawn Gilheeney*

When you look around you can see that the world is communicating with you. Living in the Creative Capital there is an expectation that you should see art everywhere, and the really awesome thing is that you do.

That is what Shawn Gilheeny does for a living with Providence Painted Signs. He creates hand-painted signs for local businesses; he communicates for his clients through his art. He has painted signs all throughout Providence and Rhode Island.

Shawn is an artist, business owner, skateboarder, and Providence local. He also has a fantastic sense of humor– I literally laughed out loud with this interview. Shawn and his colleague Buck invited me to one of their jobs where I got to spend time with them and take some photos of them in action. I hope you are inspired to pursue your dreams after reading about his journey.


Shawn William Gilheeney

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tell us how Providence Painted Signs got started and your business partners.

“Providence Painted Signs got started about two-and-a-half years ago when I needed a career change, so I decided to make my own job. I talked to two close artists friends of mine Greg Pennisten who I had collaborated with lots of sign based art work under the pseudo-name Plastic House, as well as with Buck Hastings who was a fine art painter in the same studio building as Greg and I. Our common thread being we all had done some sign work and could swing a paint brush. I proposed we start a company and combine our commercial art portfolios.”

“I’d strike out and try to get us work so they could quit their jobs and we could paint signs and murals for a living. It took about a year and a half to get established enough then I was able to take on Buck full time, but I’m still waiting to get enough consistent work to make Greg quit his day job.”

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where is Providence Painted Signs located? And why did you decide to have a space there?

“We are at 39 Manton Ave. Bldg 16 in Providence. We moved here because we took on a sign job that was too large for either of our separate small studios to fabricate inside of. We had lined up a spot at Hope Artiste Village and put down a deposit. We were apprehensive about being next to a baby yoga studio with all of our chemical fumes and such. I reached out to Olneyville housing to find a potential spot down the road and their new tenant for this building had just dropped out the same week. I lost the deposit for Hope Artiste and we moved to beautiful historic Olneyville instead.”

tell us about your creative process. 

“Creative process is on a client to client basis. What they are looking for as far as aesthetics, the Alphabet selections derive from the shelf of old sign painting, typography and decorative art books.”

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what is the most fun job you’ve done?

“All of the exterior ones; the great outdoors. Always exciting to be in the wild.”

how would you describe Providence Painted Signs to someone?

“We make signs the old new fashion way. Hand painted the way you like ’em.”

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how do your clients find out about you?

“Probably from a sign.”

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how and when did you become interested in art and painting?

“Graffiti was my real inroad to artistic expression as a youth and skateboarding; that was also the other catalyst.”

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where are you from?

“I grew up in Greene which is in western Coventry, Rhode Island”

we love being a part of the Providence community, what made you decide to live and stay in PVD?

“I moved back here to have my knee operated on. I was living in Seattle but was on a cross country trip skateboarding and I destroyed my ACL before our Europe leg of the tour. To get insurance I had to go to college under my moms insurance plan. Then, I liked college enough to stick around here and see it through. I stayed because of the cheap rent and ability to scrape by and make a living in the arts.”

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how would you describe PVD to someone who has never been here before?

“It’s like England but newer.”

 describe your typical day at Providence Painted Signs.

“It’s like a choose your own adventure book. But a sign based adventure that involves the sign game. Every day is something else that you have to look out for.”

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we love music and musicians, tell us about what music you listen to while you work?

Chances with wolves all the time mostly.”

what is the most rewarding thing about being a business owner?

“I can fire me whenever I want”

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what is your vision for Providence Painted Signs?

“Ah… that changes all the time. Long long term: let’s say it involves watercolors, the beach, my lady, margaritas, lots of dogs and good food cooked over fire.”

what is your favorite quote?
“Nothing exceeds like excess.”

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what is your favorite place you’ve traveled to?

“Tasmania. It’s like Australia with miniature kangaroos.”

describe your personal style to us.
“Its been described to me as: urban mountain man.”

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we love connecting with our readers through social media! how and where can our readers follow Providence Painted Signs?

“Instagram: @providencepaintedsigns // The wonderful world of commercial sign painting right there at your fingertips.”

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advice you would give to our readers wanting to start a business of their own?

Find something you would do all the time anyway then figure out how to get paid for it. Then get ready for the inconsistent monetary existence that ensues.”

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Having the opportunity to watch Shawn and Buck work was truly an honor. They are some of the funniest down-to-earth guys with insane talent. It was really beautiful to watch them work together and bounce ideas off each other in real time. The artistic process is really fascinating.

Thank you for sharing your ideas, process, and advice with us, Providence Painted Signs!


:: all photography and editing by Olivia :::


Local magazine, The Providence Phoenix does a “Best Of” every year. Everyone can vote and we all look forward to see who’s won. Today, we wanted to give a congratulations to some businesses that we’ve featured and have written about here on Winter Moon that won this year’s Providence’s Best of!

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BEST BIKE ROUTE: EAST BAY BIKE PATH (( I love love love this path so much. Click here for post about it))

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BEST CUPCAKES: THE DUCK AND BUNNY (( The inside of The Duck and Bunny is heaven– click for post about the decor))

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Congrats to everyone that won the Best of! We know that Providence really does have some of the best businesses and people.



As someone in their mid twenties I am constantly wondering what I am doing with my life, what I want to do long-term, what makes me happy and essentially what will make me feel successful.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this idea of success and what it means to me. Which leads me to, what are you chasing and why?

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This past weekend I went to a house warming party for a lovely friend. She purchased a gorgeous lofty condo and was telling me about how she was in the process of freeing herself from her personal belongings that she spent many years acquiring. After spending many years in the high-end corporate fashion industry and living in the heart of Boston she decided to walk away from it to pursue what truly made her happy and in search of her true self.

She downsized her home to a smaller apartment, her huge clothing collection to only what she truly loves, and her life-consuming career to a job she can finally feel free and happy.

I find this extremely fascinating. Sometimes we decide to pursue passions not for our love of what it is, but for the love of what it will give us or the idea that “we will be happy when…..” I am all about living a comfortable life but I would much rather have a very simple life, do what I love, surrounded by awesome people.

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I am realizing more each day how crucial it is to find what makes you tick and to do your best in an attempt to pursue that. Life is so extremely beautiful but so tragically short. “It’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”

don’t quit your daydream.