Starting a Furniture Line

First it was what. Then it was why. When I decided to start a line of furniture, those were the first two questions that I needed to answer. How came later. Here's an account of the steps I took to turn a dream into a reality.

To answer "What" is a challenge because over the last 20 years I've designed many different types of furnishings for my clients, exploring all styles and types, and learning the limitations of the materials to make them. I love it all, so what characteristics are most applicable to me? I applied the method I use to help my clients discover their own personal style to me, and I was surprised by the result. I looked for consistency, and discovered there was a relationship between many of the pieces I'd designed over the years. A proportion, a simplicity, a structural tension, and some kind of reference to the past. It was most clear to me when they were all assembled in a room together, and suddenly there was a conversation. Like hosting a dinner party of friends who'd never met, but when assembled the buzzes with common interests, passions and opinions. It's a satisfying feeling, and I felt like I had arrived, but knew as well for a line to have meaning to others you need to answer the next question: "why".

I am motivated by a strong urge to create beautiful things. I enjoy most of all the moments when in making and modelling something, you refine and reduce. I love working closely with craftspeople and engaging in the conversation that eventually shapes the personality of a piece. When I travel, I see shapes and textures that I record in my mind, to come out in surprising ways. So the answer to "why", is simply because I must. 

Jeffrey Douglas