Tales from the Road: East Coast Edition

Our design team Helena, Guin, and Kyle recently went on a road trip to see how the opposite coast styles things. Inspiration trips are a way for designers to keep tabs on trends and styles, but also pull new ideas from a different place. Think of it as real-life Pinterest.

What do they look for? Toad Designer Helena explains:

“Everything from what’s in the local shops to what people are wearing out grocery shopping. It’s refreshing to get out of our zip code to see new things in new places. We attended a fabric convention during this trip; it’s immensely helpful to see lots of vendors and fabrics of all types all in one place.”

Alright, so we’re a little jealous of their adventures. Good news is, they brought back the inside scoop. We sat down with Helena to chat about their trip, foodie favorites, and what should be on our next road trip playlist. Let’s roll!

Toad: Starting with apparel design basics: how far in advance are seasons planned out?

Helena: 18-ish months – but also, we’re never not looking for cool stuff. ☺

Toad: 18 months?! That’s a lot of lead time! So, what inspired you on this trip?

Helena: I love seeing how people outfit in cities – each city has its own flavor. It’s fun to see how people were dressing in a heat wave! Visits to the MET and the Whitney Museum were also so inspiring.


Toad: If you had to choose, what was your favorite moment from the road trip?

Helena: Best moment by far was meeting the whole Freeport, Maine Toad team. It was such a treat to spend time together and see the shop in person.

Toad: We’ve gotta talk about food. Tell us about everyone’s favorite spots.

Helena: We could go on and on about food! So, here’s a short list of our favorite spots we dined during our week out east…

Toad Road Trip Food Guide – East Coast Edition 



New York


  • Leon’s Bagels – ‘Lil neighborhood joint around the corner from our hotel, solid for a cup of joe and a bagel + schmear.
  • Sadelle’s in Soho – for more shmear and smoked fish. Hot tip: there’s a takeaway counter for bagels and coffee. 


  • Café Mogador in Brooklyn - We had tasty Mezze plates and Shakshuka. Really hit the spot. 
  • Pastis in meat packing – Has some old school supper club vibes. A+ French fries and mega sandwiches. We had a French dip that we couldn’t finish but carried around for a while with the intention of having a midnight snack. 


  • Carmine’s – Epic family-style Italian. Go see a show on Broadway and stop here for dinner on the way out!


  • Sauced – Epic back patio with great food and fun wines.
  • Freeman’s – Speakeasy vibes in the lower east side. 


  • Tandem Coffee – Unreal coffee + pastries. The biscuit jam butter combo is life changing. 
  • High Roller – Lobster rolls!!
  • Honey Paw – Delightful and clever Asian fusion
  • Tuna Mobile Sushi Bar – We went to a show on the waterfront and had hand rolls from this food truck. So good!


Toad: Now that we’re drooling, I think we need some jams to go with that menu. Any music that defined the trip?

Helena: Ha! Here’s a ‘lil playlist of songs that I Shazamed during our trip

Toad: Okay, last question… What silly road trip “must” is on the team’s list?

Helena: We can’t help but stop in a quirky store or antique shop.