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LA Designer Heidi Merrick on Her Fave Pandora Channels and Facing the Waves

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Heidi Merrick is the epitome of the Cali-cool surfer girl, and it's not just in the way she says, "dude." Born in Santa Barbara and raised in the coastal town of Carpinteria, the LA-based designer grew up chilling with surf legends (fun fact: her father is legendary board shaper Al Merrick) while helping her mother run the family surf shop.

Fresh out of high school, the beach-bred talent moved to New York—"as a small-town girl will do," she notes—and immediately began working as a stylist. A natural-born creative, Merrick once studied drama (until nodes on her vocal chords forced her to drop out) and dabbled in art school before returning to her native coast.

Once home, Merrick felt uninspired by LA's styling scene. "I wasn't super into the celebrity thing," she reveals. It wasn't until she tied the knot in one of her handmade creations that she decided to start her own clothing line. "I made my wedding dress with my mom," Merrick recalls. The gown was a dreamy, vintage tulle-bedecked number that "looked like I had just come from the sea."

After enrolling in pattern-making classes at LA Trade Tech, the just-married designer rolled out her first collection in 2007. Eight years later, Merrick's latest spring and summer ranges are comprised of crisp silhouettes and vacay-ready floral prints—all produced in LA. "I was super-pregnant when I was designing," she recalls. "I spent a lot of time looking out of the window of my house, [which] has a lot of beautiful tropical foliage. It's unreal, so I wanted to incorporate that."

We got to know the super-chill mother-of-two over Juice Served Here smoothies at DTLA's Verve Coffee, where we chatted about her dream surf destination, her top desert island tunes, and more.

What are you drinking today?

I'm drinking the Clean Greens as a shake. Why? Why not!

Instagram or Snapchat?

Dude, I don't even know how Snapchat works.

Top three desert island albums?

How about Pandora channels? I do Bon Iver, Astrud Gilberto, and then my third is probably Cat Stevens, but it gets so emo, so fast. You know how folk music gets too deep to function.

Email or snail mail?

I send a lot of notes, but always with a gift. I rarely send just a card, so email.

Favorite holiday?

Easter! I go to Santa Barbara or Carpinteria, I go to church, I have an annual Easter egg hunt for my daughter where I hide 200 eggs. It's just a really mellow, nice time with your family. I don't like the gifts of Christmas, it's too much for me. I don't even like Thanksgiving.

Window or aisle seat?


Rom-com, sci-fi, fantasy, or drama?

I like drama because Downton Abbey falls under drama, but I'm [more into] fantasy. I watch Lord of Rings kind of all the time; and I watched Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban yesterday. If there was a fantasy movie I hadn't seen, I'd have a greater hope of life—you only get that [magical] experience once.

Do you prefer stripes or polka dots?


Do you consider yourself an introvert, extrovert, or a mix of both?

An extrovert who functions as an introvert. I love people.

What's your signature scent?

I wear Chanel cologne. It's not Chanel 19, it's not No. 5; it's just cologne. It goes away right away. It's this beautiful, crisp, light scent that I've been wearing for years.

What's your dream surf destination?

My dream is a beach with a left-breaking wave because I'm goofy-foot; it's a direction you surf, [like being] left-handed. California mainly breaks right. If I ride a right-breaking wave, [it's] to my back—and it's really fun to face the wave.