Oh Joy

Designer Interview 04: Variegated
26 Apr 2006

Variegated1

Designer Interview 04
Who: Jim & Corbett of Variegated

I've been a big fan of Variegated's bedding and home accessories since I came across their work last year. As a home accessories designer, it was so nice to see these goods made with such great quality, colors, concepts....and they print all of their designs in their very own studio, which is a rare find for such large pieces. So, here's an interview with the guys behind this wonderful line!

1 ~ What is your role in the company?
Owners, designers, manufacturers, shippers, garbage taker outers, anything and everything that has to be done.

2 ~ What inspired you to start your line?
Garden design, plant textures, how land forms fit in with one another creating a mapping of color and texture. Putting these ideas into something more tangible for people to experience everyday. Making people aware of interesting color combinations that surround us all the time, but we may never notice them.

3 ~ Where does the name of your company come from?
Variegated means patchwork, variety, streaked or marked with color. Variegated plants are mixed with streaks.

4 ~ Did you find it hard to get started? Did you start the business cold turkey full-time or did it start as a side project while at another job?
It started at the suggestion of some friends who were opening a store. Jim was currently only making textiles as gifts, as a hobby. The first line of products was one pattern of a throw and a pillow in six color ways. We have always had another job while running the business. At first Jim was working full time for the first two years of the business, and going to the studio at night and on the weekends. After two years, he was able to go part time doing different things. Corbett joined the company after that time. Jim and Corbett have been working together for three years now.

5 ~ How you find time to manage both your other work & your own line?
It is all about scheduling. Making sure that you spend a little bit of time with each project everyday. Making the most of your studio time, and trying to find some time off as well to keep your sanity.

6 ~ What is your favorite product or series of products in your collection?
Corbett - Licorice Allsorts pillows
Jim - Wool and Velvet throws

7 ~ Where are your items made? Are they made in factories/mills or in your own studio?
All of our items are currently made in our studio. We have worked with some domestic production houses before, but now it is all back in our hands in the studio. We like to have the control of quality and quantity at our fingertips.

8 ~ How did you go about finding a manufacturer?
Asking through fellow designers to find smaller houses that have good quality and are not looking for us to produce tens of thousands of items.

9 ~ What inspires you in general?
It sounds so stereotypical, but nature is our greatest inspiration. Not just pretty flowers and blue skies, but actually the details that are there. The intricacies of the inside of a flower, or on a piece of moss, or tree bark, etc... The geometry and color sense of nature is amazing and a bit overwhelming when you start to really notice the fine lines. We mix these ideas through various fibers and textures of fabrics, putting together unexpected combinations of materials.

10 ~ What is one piece of advice to other designers and creative types who are looking to start their own business?
Be flexible. Just when you think you have something figured out, it will change and send you in another direction. Keep making all the time. Try different things because you like them, not because you think someone else will.

11 ~ What's your favorite thing to do on a Saturday afternoon?
Sleep late, enjoy an extra cup of coffee, take a longer walk with our dog, then take a nap.

12 ~ What is your favorite flower, pet/animal, and magazine?
FLOWER...
Jim - foxglove
Corbett - Camelia

PET...
Both - Jordan, Gertrude, George, Myrna and Lulu

MAGAZINE...
World of Interiors
Garden's Illustrated (it's like plant porn)

Thanks Jim & Corbett for their insight and sharing their process! See more of Variegated here and purchase their products at Design Public and Pique.

Variegated2

{To read past interviews, check out the Business (Mixed with Pleasure) section!}

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