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Interview with Curiosity Shoppe Owners Lauren Smith and Derek Fagerstrom

Love 2.0: Lauren Smith and Derek Fagerstrom

As part of our Geeks We Love series, I caught up with a few couples that, through the beauty of the internet and technology, have influenced both our lives and each other.



It seems a bit of geekiness comes with the territory of owning your own online business, no matter what your background. If this is true, Lauren Smith and Derek Fagerstrom, who happen to be the owners of hip online store Curiosity Shoppe, wear it well. The couple abandoned their “kinda crazy lives in New York City” and came home to the San Francisco Bay Area to start up the Shoppe for the simple reason that they are obsessed with beautiful things. What makes them so geek chic?

Geeksugar: So tell us how you got into the business…
Derek: We launched the Shoppe in October of last year. I’ve been a magazine editor for nearly 10 years, first in New York at magazines like Esquire and Interview, and now here in the lovely Bay Area.
Lauren: Our site just launched in October, so we're fairly new to this. We also have a blog called Smarts & Crafts. Before moving to San Francisco, I worked at a design studio in New York City for 7 years.

Geeksugar: So what’s the geekiest thing about yourself?
Derek: I own, and have actually played Settlers of Catan.
Lauren: I am obsessed with time management! I read all the self-help books and blogs, and am constantly making lists.

Geeksugar: Now what’s the geekiest thing about your significant other?
Derek: She often beats me at Settlers of Catan.
Lauren: He can recite all the dialogue from the movie Weird Science.

Geeksugar: How and when did you meet your significant other?
Derek: We actually met in the computer lab during our freshman year of college.
Lauren: We met freshman year of college, in the computer lab of all places.

Geeksugar: What Are Your Top 5 favorite gadgets?
Derek: Our iMac, iPod (when it’s actually working), our digital camera, PSP and TiVo.
Lauren: Digital Camera, iPod, TiVo, FireLite external hard drive, where we store all our music and my Wacom tablet.

Geeksugar: What about the top 5 luxury gadgets you really want?
Derek: Digital projector, TO:CA 'wood' LED clock designed by Kouji Iwasak, HDtv, PlayStation 3 (just so I can play Guitar Hero) and an iPhone.
Lauren: Flat screen TV, Tivoli Audio M1CLA Henry Kloss Model One Radio, Leica D-LUX 3 10MP Digital Camera, Wireless Headphones and a Swiss Army Knife with built in USB Flash Drive.

Geeksugar: Your first computer was a…
Derek: Apple IIe
Lauren: I always used Derek's computer until we finally bought a first generation iMac together a few years back.

Geeksugar: What are your favorite websites?
Derek: Cute Overload, NY Times, Design Sponge, Library of Congress
Lauren: Technorati & Google Analytics, to see who is talking about us and visiting our sites. Designsponge, for the latest and greatest in modern product design and other must-haves for the home. 43 Folders, for all things productivity related. Make It for great resource for people with craft-related small businesses. The Purl Bee from my favorite yarn and quilt supply store in NY - it's a great source of crafty inspiration.

Geeksugar: What is your Valentine’s Day plan?
Derek: Why do you ask? Is that coming up?!
Lauren: We'll probably rent a bunch of movies and make a nice dinner at home.

Geeksugar: Who makes the final decision when it comes to gadgets for the home?
Derek: She does.
Lauren: I always think I can live without them, but Derek manages to convince me otherwise.

Geeksugar: Who solves tech problems at home?
Derek: She does.
Lauren: It's usually me!

Geeksugar: Are you going to buy an iPhone?
Derek: Ugh. Probably, though I may try to hold out until they work out the bugs. And if it performs as shoddily as my iPod, well, let’s just say I hope it comes with Applecare.
Lauren: Probably not, although I am seriously coveting one.

Geeksugar: How do you feel about people calling you a “geek”:
Derek: It’s a term of endearment, no?
Lauren: Geeks rule! I've been discovering that all my friends are closet geeks - we can talk about Photoshop tricks for hours.

Geeksugar: What has been your greatest contribution to the online community?
Derek: Well, I think our shoppe is lovely. And Smarts & Crafts (our web journal) inspires a couple of readers now and again.
Lauren: I think our online shoppe is pretty cool! People seem to be liking it so far, and it's been a lot of fun putting the site together with Derek.

Geeksugar: How many hours do you spend online a day?
Derek: Lord. 8? 9? Is that a lot?
Lauren: 8 or more hours- all our business is conducted online so I'm constantly checking on the site all day.

Geeksugar: How many hours does your partner spend online a day?
Derek: According to iChat it’s a lot of hours.
Lauren: Probably the same.

Geeksugar: What is one geeky habit you’re trying to quit?
Derek: Checking my work email the second I get home from work.
Lauren: Checking my email as soon as I get home, especially if I've been on the computer all day at work.

Geeksugar: Are you the “Beauty” or the “Geek” in the relationship?
Derek: I’m the Beek.
Lauren: I hope I'm a little of both! Although some days I definitely feel more geeky than beautiful.

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