July 15, 2016
Q&A With Lifestyle Guru Savannah Hayes
Savannah Hayes, of the eponymous Pittsburg-based design studio, tell us about her graphic new prints, pillows, decorative throws, and more!
by New York Spaces
NYS: As an artist, what made you decide to open your own eponymous home/lifestyle brand?
Savannah Hayes: My mom is an artist and I grew up in her studio, learning to really look at and consider color, texture and composition. A fortuitous internship introduced me to the world of product & textile design and everything just clicked. I spent years finding jobs that would continue to inform and drive my goal to have my own brand in the field. I worked as a graphic designer, a product designer, a textile designer and a fashion merchandiser. Finally, the timing was right and I took the leap. It was the best decision I've ever made!
NYS: What are you known for? What do your collections include?
Savannah Hayes: Our bestselling product lines are our throw blankets and decorative pillows. Each piece is designed to carry a space on its own while mixing well with other elements. My patterns are often bold and pack a bit of a punch. Our fabric by the yard line is about to pick up steam as we're multiplying our offerings by 10 in the next two seasons. We'll be introducing a range of new colors including smoky greys, romantic blushes, cool blues, and moody greens.
NYS: What draws you to creating such graphic prints?
Savannah Hayes: I've always felt comfortable working within the confines of geometry. I love lines and rulers and the way a great pattern can evoke an urban landscape or a great piece of graffiti. Black and white is a natural fit for these strong, graphic patterns and soon we'll be offering them (and many other prints!) in a range of colors to fit in any space.
NYS: We love your fabrics and the fact that they are made to order! Can a customer customize a color? What is the lead-time on orders?
Savannah Hayes: Our fabric by the yard line is made to order and usually ships to customers in one to three weeks. We're certainly open to having a dialogue with designers who would like to customize a color to match the space they're working on. Custom coloring can be a great collaborative effort!
NYS: Where did you get a lot of your work experience?
Savannah Hayes: I had life-changing internships with Kelly Wearstler and Martha Stewart. Both jobs taught me a lot about the industry and began to shape my ideal career path. I knew right out of college that one day I'd like to start my own business and be the creative director behind a line of patterns and products that could influence a home. After completing graduate studies in textile design at the Fashion Institute of Technology, I landed my dream job, working as a designer for Kravet fabrics. I learned so much about the textile industry, from how to work with mills at the conception stage, all the way to how to place the finished yardage in a showroom.
NYS: How did your past working in the fashion industry influence your designs?
Savannah Hayes: Before starting my company, I worked for three years as a fashion merchandiser. It was amazing to see the differences between the home textiles and fashion apparel worlds. Fashion happens so quickly and is often based on bringing in a ton of inventory, a lot of which is going to be marked down fairly quickly. Conversely, we create designs that can live from season to season, with the intent that these special pieces will endure for years to come.
NYS: What is one of your favorite products to date and why?
Savannah Hayes: One of my favorite products that we carry is our etched Carrara marble cheese board. It's oversized and makes quite the statement. It's perfect to accommodate it all: cheeses, crackers, grapes, nuts, etc. without the need for multiple serving pieces. I'm a total marble junkie and think this beautiful stone fits perfectly in any setting. It works in both cool and warm spaces and acts as a glamorous neutral.
NYS: Is there someone in the art or design world who has inspired or influenced you more than others? Why, if so?
Savannah Hayes: Kelly Wearstler has been an inspiration to me since my first day working for her product design team. She has a great handle on work/life balance, a killer eye that she stands behind day in and day out, and a total fearlessness in her design practice.
NYS: What are you working on now?
Savannah Hayes: I'm very excited to be working on the launch of our first collection of Baby Blankets. These are a smaller size than our standard throw blankets but feature the same graphic, geometric patterns that our brand has become known for. I'm currently expecting my first child and when on the hunt for nursery accessories I couldn't find a single baby blanket that fit with my own aesthetic. I've designed this range for parents who are looking to keep the nursery as an extension of the rest of their home.
NYS: What is on the horizon for Savannah Hayes?
Savannah Hayes: I'm in the very early stages of working on a tabletop collection. We'll have both cocktail and dinner napkins as well as an expanded offering of our tea towels. I'm also exploring block printing and embroidery as a way to add a different dimension and texture to our decorative pillow offerings.
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