June 13, 2017
All About Kathryn Kayajan, Founder of Ferran Textiles and Wallpapers
In 2003 Kathryn Kayajan launched Ferran Textiles with designs from her own signature artwork. Today, her beautiful line of textiles is carried at John Rosselli & Associates.
by New York Spaces
For Kathryn Kayajan, owner of Ferran Textiles and Wallpapers, the decision to launch her own business stemmed from the desire to take on a more creative role, one that would be on her own terms. An initial "gut feeling", lead to a lot of planning, research and saving, before taking a calculated risk. She quit her corporate job, gave herself six months for the business to show a return and managed to line up another job—just in case.
It is a testament to Kathryn's business acumen and quality of her craftsmanship that the backup job never needed to come into play and that Ferran is the reputed company it is today.
Having always gravitated towards the arts, Kathryn initially attended The School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. However, she soon realized her desire for a more clearly defined career path and was motivated to attend Parsons School of Design where she studied architecture. It was while working in commercial architecture that she made the transition from employee to business owner.
Ferran began as an accessories company, and it was not until Lilly Pulitzer contracted her as a consultant for their accessories line that an opportunity presented itself to learn about textile design and production. In 2003 Kathryn launched Ferran Textiles with designs from her own signature artwork. An early sign for Kathryn that she was onto something good was seeing her first print 'Lattice' published in Vogue.
Kathryn is balancing the creative aspect of the business 14 years later, which drew her to textile design in the first place, with the day to day upkeep of operations. It is a balance which Kathryn appears to be adept at managing—the same practical decision making which lead her to transition to architecture clearly serves her well in her role as business owner. Her first priority is overseeing the logistics—that all is running to schedule and checking in with production managers and her team of sales reps. Kathryn notes that as a creative person having a time management system is key to how she works. When it's time to design a new collection Kathryn will block out creative time in her schedule. The whole process can take up to nine months to launch—from design concept, development, abd sampling to the marketing and deadlines.
A notable aspect of Ferran's business model is that all the fabrics are made here in the US. For someone like Kathryn, who is very hands on throughout the process, this allows her a higher standard of quality control —when problems arise they can easily be corrected. Most of Kathryn's designs are hand-painted, allowing her repeat the pattern until she finds just the right blend of colors. Particularly with her background in fine arts and architecture, many of her designs naturally draw inspiration from traveling, architecture and decorative arts. A collection usually evolves from a central theme. An example she points to is the Thessaly Collection, developed after coming across of piece of embroidery from Ancient Greece while visiting a museum. After researching she discovered each island had their own motifs to tell stories and through her own interpretation created new artwork which then became the collection.
A textile designer was not what Kathryn originally set out to be, however today she feels it fulfils the creative
outlet she was looking for and the business model certainly allows her to work on her own terms. Ferran has attracted a range of reputable clients - both retailers and designers. Kathryn notes that a more recent milestone is having recently joined John Rosselli & Associates in the D&D Building in New York City, a partnership she's found personally gratifying and hopes will further the brand into new areas.
Like all good business owners, Kathryn has a growth mindset, "I'm someone who focuses on the journey rather than just an end goal because paradigms can (and are) changing so quickly, i.e.; commerce, the economy, technology, manufacturing you name it, really, it's all how you adapt and grow—both yourself and your business." She has arrived full circle, back at her passion of fine arts and it would seem that a combination of following her gut and her adaptable, dedicated approach is a winning approach for Kathryn.
Ferran Textiles and Wallpapers is available at John Rosselli & Associates in the D&D Building, 979 Third Ave., Suite 1800, NYC 10022.
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