Kitt Shapiro honors legendary mother, Eartha Kitt with lifestyle collection of home gift items

by LP Green, II

When she was closing up her mother’s Connecticut home, Kitt Shapiro, the only child of the late, legendary entertainer Eartha Kitt, kept coming across scraps of paper with handwritten sayings on them: “You’ll fall for anything if you don’t stand for something,” “I like to use the freedom of my own imagination,” and “Don’t panic!”

Kitt was always writing things down, including ideas, songs, feelings, even cliches if they inspired or motivated her.

“She coined them as ‘Kittisms,’ and anybody who worked with her or knew her, knew what they were,” Shapiro says. “They’re not necessarily things that she made up, but once she said them, they were hers, and don’t even try to tell her that they weren’t.”

Those “Kittisms” are a part of the legacy of her mother, and now Shapiro has designed a lifestyle collection of eco-friendly, U.S.-made home and gift items that she’s hoping will inspire others. The collection, called Simply Eartha, features Eartha Kitt’s image and philosophical musings on pillows which may have a mulberry silk pillowcase, and throws with yarn made from recycled T-shirts, naturally tumbled stone coasters, glass plates and crystal paperweights with more items still to come.

For those who want to add a personal touch to their gifts, Simply Eartha also offers a Create Your Own Custom Gifts option. Customers can choose from a variety of items such as tote bags, mugs, and phone cases, and customize them with their images and quotes or select from Eartha Kitt’s timeless words of wisdom. This option allows people to give a truly unique and meaningful gift that reflects their style and values while also celebrating the legacy of Eartha Kitt. Whether it’s a birthday, anniversary, or just because, gift hampers perth is the perfect way to show someone how much you care.

In the world of personalized gifts, the options for creating meaningful and cherished items continue to expand. One of them is the unique gift idea of the custom photo wallet, a perfect blend of style and sentimentality. With the ability to imprint a cherished photograph or a beloved memory on a wallet, it transforms into a personal keepsake that holds dear moments close. This photo wallet allows individuals to carry their most treasured memories wherever they go, making it a heartfelt gift for a loved one or a thoughtful treat for oneself. Much like Eartha Kitt’s inspiring legacy and Simply Eartha’s philosophy, the custom photo wallet becomes a tangible expression of individual identity and connection, celebrating the power of personalization and the beauty of carrying cherished memories in a stylish and functional accessory.

There is another meaningful gifts, a custom necklace becomes a tangible expression of individual identity. With the ability to customize the necklace with your chosen name, it becomes a cherished accessory that reflects your unique style and values. Just like Eartha Kitt’s inspiring “Kittisms,” a custom name necklace carries a sense of empowerment and personal connection. Whether it’s a gift for someone special or a treat for yourself, a custom name necklace embodies the essence of self-expression and serves as a lasting tribute to the power of individuality.

Every aspect of the brand is based on her mother — not the sex-kitten who purred her way to the top with breathy, sophisticated songs like “C’est Si Bon” and “Santa Baby,” or who turned up the heat as Catwoman on TV’s “Batman” series, but the down home Eartha Mae who died of colon cancer on Christmas Day 2008.

“My mother was all about home because it’s where you lay down your roots, and all she needed was land, running water, her animals and me — those were the most important things to her,” says Shapiro, who didn’t see much of her father, John William McDonald, from whom she inherited an Irish-German complexion.

“It was really just the two of us. My mother would refer to us as ‘I’m Eartha’ and ‘She’s Kitt’ as if we were one in the same.”

Kitt had no other kin. She was born in 1927 in the small town of North in South Carolina where as a youngster she worked in the fields picking cotton. Picking a pound of cotton was hard work, she later told her daughter. The sharp bulbs left her hands raw from the hours of trying to meet her quota. To weigh down the bag of cotton, which was lightweight, she dropped tiny pebbles into the sack hoping no one noticed. But her time on the cotton plantation was short lived.

Too dark to be taken for white and too light to be taken for black, Kitt, who was part Cherokee, part African American and, although she never knew her father, thought to be part Caucasian, was abandoned by her mother and sent to live with another family where she was mistreated, neglected and abused.
“Many times, she was left to her own resources to forage for food or make her way through the day,” Shapiro said. “So she would watch what the animals ate or follow them and it taught her an awful lot.”

Although her mother was rescued by her aunt and brought to live in New York City, her humble beginnings stayed with her, Shapiro said.

“She respected the earth more than anyone I ever met. Now it’s all very hip and cool to do, but my mother was green before it was chic.”

Mother and daughter divided their time between homes in London and Beverly Hills. In Beverly Hills, Shapiro says her mother Kitt practiced what we know today as urban farming.

“It was a little embarrassing to have a mother who raised chickens in the backyard, grew organic vegetables and kept a compost pail on the kitchen counter,” she says. “But she believed that whatever you take from the earth you put back. You don’t pollute it, you respect it.”

Between lessons about how to be self sufficient and “Kittisms,” Shapiro says her mother was also strict.

She had a particular gift for laying down the law with a single look. Going through her mother’s writings, Shapiro could almost imagine her there.

“Here I am,” she remembers, “looking at thousands of pieces of paper in drawers, in cabinets, in boxes with her voice in my head: ‘Don’t throw anything away!'”

And she hasn’t.

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