earlier this year i had the privilege of getting a sneak peak at nate berkus's fall collection at target which arrives in stores next week! so many beautiful additions that i can't wait to add to my home. i'm excited to share a few of my favorite pieces with you all today and a special part of my phone interview i had with nate berkus himself! i know this is probably one of the longest post i've done but it's worth the read and you'll get a chance at $100 target gift card giveaway at the end!
most of you probably know nate from his time on the oprah show where he was a regular guest design expert, but did you know he actually has a degree in french and sociology and not design? having a mom as a designer, he would often come home to a house where the rooms were completely redesign. he also spent a lot of his childhood visiting flea markets and antique shops but it wasn't until he studied in paris that he realized that designing was sort of the most natural for him and he wanted to return and create a company designing great spaces for other people. he is still really interested in sociology and french and believes it's applicable to his current work. everyday he has to make design decisions on clients that are essentially strangers before he has their first meeting.
i always love to hear how people make transitions from one career to another. nate credits his job at an auction house as being very valuable although it wasn't a design job per say he learned about the history of things, what period furniture came from and got the chance to assemble rooms in preparation for monthly auctions. at the auction house people would often ask if he designed the room and asked him to help arrange their space. his first big residential client was a lady in chiago who was also looking at three other agencies with years of experience. nate didn't have a portfolio or a staff but he made a great connection with her and suggested that they design one room and if she liked it he would complete the house. she liked what he did and from that job he continued to receive more opportunities. now nate has a staff of over 50 people. anytime they have open design positions nate says he typically never sees anyone who doesn't have a design degree unless they were recommended from someone he knows!
JC: you’ve accomplished so many great achievements in your career such as being apart of the oprah show, having your own syndicated show, author, executive producer and designer of your own product line. what would you say has been one of the highlights/pivotal moments of your career?
NB: one of most pivotal moment for me was probably the day i decided to start my business and had business cards printed. i really focused on the fact that this was what i really wanted to do and i was going to do anything i could do to be successful at it. work as and hard as i needed to work. i gave myself six months to get clients and make it a real company or i was going to back to working at the auction house. i didn't know but i was gave myself six months to see if i can turn my company into something. the second most pivotal moment was probably that moment years later where i got to stand at the doorway with people and tell them it was time to open their eyes and they saw their homes redone for the first time on the oprah show and then my later my own show. that never got tiring for me.
JC: i love your target collection its modern, elegant and unique – perfect for those who appreciate design at an affordable price – with your latest collection releasing soon at target, what were some of the biggest challenges and rewards designing for target?
NB: i think the biggest challenge was that my old brand has always been about a home or interior that has been assembled over time and when your working with a huge retailer like target, i didn't want to sacrifice having the pieces feel like you could have found them anywhere in the world. there wasn't any limitations as far as manufacturing were concern i worked with the teams at target and my team and we sourced things from literally 70 different countries. if we couldn't find something that i really loved or a material i thought was being crafted correctly we would just switch vendors and keep trying before it made it into the collection. the challenge was that when you are making 3,000 objects from a prototype it's hard to make it feel special. i learned early on with designing for the mass market that there were certain things that would always make it feel special, using natural materials, hand done techniques, carvings, baskets, textiles, combinations of things people haven't seen before. i am a huge fan of mass design and affordable design, i think its really important and to not to be a snob about where you find something. i wanted to make sure the heart of the line and the essence of the line stayed true and i think it has.
JC: i’ve read many of your pieces are inspired from your travels, as traveler lover myself, i have to ask what are some of your favorite travel destinations?
NB: i love all areas of mexico, i tend to go to the places where not a lot of tourist go. i love wahaca, tulum, and a city called merida that is fascinating and has beautiful crafts. i love south america in particular peru they have incredible crafts, the crafts change every 15-20 miles you drive. i also really love europe, i just got back from madrid and from a three day trip i literally spent a day and half in a little antiques and vintage areas where they have tons of areas of tiny shops everything from true junk to incredible italian lighting from the 1950's, 18th century ceramic tiles. no matter where i go i always look for where the locals shop, i am much more interested in what the people who live in that country buy and how they decorate their home. i am able to bring back better ideas that way.
thank you to the team at target for setting up the call and nate for taking time out to chat! it was such an honor speaking with nate, you can check out all of the new products for fall on target.com. target has offered one of you the chance to win a $100 gift card to target! once you log in with your facebook or email below, you will be prompted with a few different ways to enter! to gain additional entries and increase your chances of winning the prize, you can do one or all of them – and if you already follow just enter your info and you'll get automatic entries!
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