I am so excited to be part of the Tour Through Blogland this year. The idea of the tour is to give readers of both our own blogs and those who are visiting from other blogs a glimpse inside what we do, why we do it, and how we do it. I was invited by the super sweet Kirsten of Sweet Tea and Saving Grace blog. I’ll admit, I am new to Kirsten’s blog. I was introduced to her a few weeks ago at an event my Atlanta Area blogger’s group had. She asked me to be a part of this little virtual block party and I jumped on board. As a voyeur myself I love these sorts of things – letting you see behind the scenes of how each of us works through our process of blogging, designing, building, and crafting. So fun! So thanks Kirsten, make sure you go check her blog out after you read my little tour below. :)
Here are the 4 questions I am supposed to answer:
What am I working on?
What am I NOT working on is an easier question right now. Jeez! I’ll admit, I am actually writing this blog post sitting in the airport in Amsterdam waiting to catch my flight to Cologne, Germany for a trade show I’m attending for Indoor/Outdoor Furniture and Décor. And in a few days I’ll hop over to Paris for another show. Lately I feel like all I do is travel (and if you follow me on social media you would probably agree)
When I am actually in the US, my biggest projects right now are wrapping up my first season on my outdoor furniture line we launched earlier this year and kicking off the new line for next year. From the time I started designing the collections, to traveling overseas for factory visits, to shipping the samples here for photography, to actually convincing the top US retailers to sell our amazing furniture (it wasn’t that hard ;) it has been about a year and a half long process. It is amazing to see my designs on the webpages of Home Depot, Lowe’s, Target, Sam’s Club, Amazon, and Wayfair. If you are in need of some fashionable outdoor furniture I would love for you to stop by our website and see if anything strikes your fancy. If it doesn’t, you obviously have bad taste. www.aeoutdoor.com
Unfortunately I can’t show you any of the new designs I am working on for next season, all of the retailers require confidentiality. But I can show you what a hot mess my office is as I pull fabric and materials together for the new designs. It’s messy, but totally the most fun part.
How does my blog differ from others of its genre?
I think it’s different because it’s from a furniture designer’s perspective. I do the usual DIY project and occasional interior design job, but the meat of my blog is showcasing my process when I design furniture: my sketching, inspiration boards, how I render designs for presentations, behind the scenes at the factories I work with for manufacturing, prototyping, product failures and fixes, and really the truth behind this industry. Furniture doesn’t just magically end up on a showroom floor, a designer and team of skilled people work hard for about 2 years before that design ever hits the retail floor. I like the idea that there aren’t a lot (if any) furniture designers lifting the curtail and showing you the whole product design process from start to finish with all of the dirty details in-between.
I want to take people along for the ride – I travel all over the world attending trade shows, presenting to buyers at all the top US retailers, and visiting my factories to make sure my designs are being manufactured like I intended. Good design takes a lot of babysitting.
Why do I write/create what I do?
Honestly, I started my blog in response to so many people showing interest when they find out what I do for a living. People are so fascinated to hear about my travel, see my designs, watch me sketch, hear me speak about trends, I figured, if all of these people close to me are that interested there must be other people out there too. So, in a slightly narcissistic fashion, I decided to tell people about me, the uber fascinating and mysterious furniture designer…ooohhh ahhhhh.
Now that’s why I decided to start my blog, but the reason I do what I dooo is the reward of the feedback. I love designing and building things to give to others that I care about. Seeing their faces when you give them something that fits their style and makes their life better through design, or at the very least makes their home more fashionable.
These are a few of those ‘gift’ projects from this past year.
The other feedback that I am enjoying is from new customers that bought my outdoor furniture – sending in photos of their spaces using the new furniture with wonderful compliments about how much they love it and how it fits their style and their home perfectly. There is not better payment for a designer than that. Well, cash I guess…that is better. But compliments are a very close second.
Here are a few that were recently posted to our social media.
How does your writing/creating process work?
A lot of people ask me that, where does my inspiration come from? That’s a hard one to answer. Honesty it’s part science, part organic. I work alongside my sales partner to analyze numbers, but design requires you to step outside of spreadsheets and look at the world around you. I am constantly shooting pictures of things that interest me: activities, colors, patterns, people, and architecture. When I go back through photos I never know what might spark something. I don’t get my inspiration from just one place, and it is hard to force inspiration, though my job tries to everyday. Ha! Usually my best designs come to me naturally, I just start sketching and see what happens. It sounds cheesy, but my pen guides me a lot of the time. I like starting with one idea in mind and finding myself in a completely different place in the end. I surprise myself sometimes.
That was specifically vague huh? Sorry, that’s just a hard question to answer. And I can’t really tell you where I get all my good ideas, can I?! I have to keep some advantage here.
Well, I hope you enjoyed my little tour. I am totally lame and I did not recruit 3 additional bloggers to pass you to like we are supposed to. With all of my recent travel I dropped the ball. Sadly, my blog suffers when I have too much going on. So please, type in Tour Through Blogland into Google and check out the other bloggers who have participated. Thanks guys, see you back in the USA soon!