One on One with Stacy Garcia interviewed by Brintons` Designer Leah Jack
Q: What first inspired you to become a designer and can you tell us a little about your journey to becoming the strong brand name that you are today?
A: As a child I was always interested in art and using it as an outlet for expression. As I grew up my passion for design continued to develop. I specifically remember a tile designer coming into a high school classroom and discussing the process. I found it fascinating and knew I wanted involvement in product design.
I began my professional career first as an intern selecting color palettes and then as a freelance designer assisting in product development for Ralph Lauren’s Home Collection. Following my work at Ralph, I was hired as Senior Designer for Richloom Contract Fabrics, where I directed the textile and pattern design collections for their hospitality division. At age 26, I decided to strike out on my own and founded LebaTex, a commercial textile supplier.
It was in 2003 that I created the global lifestyle brand, Stacy Garcia. Today, the Stacy Garcia design house produces designs for textiles, carpeting, wallcoverings, furniture, lighting and pillows. Each of my past experiences and opportunities helped me to cultivate a vision for what is the Stacy Garcia brand today.
Q: When did you first start designing for textiles and carpet and how did you get into Hospitality?
A: My time spent as a Senior Designer for the hospitality division at Richloom Contract Fabrics was my introduction to the industry. While working at Richloom, I was given the opportunity to travel which opened my eyes to the various resorts and destinations we were working on. Many of my first collections reflect this and are resort inspired. My favorite destinations became inspirations for the motifs and colors.
Q: This is our sixth collection with you and you’ve built an impressive reputation for your brand. What does your typical day look like and do you find time to relax?
A: Coffee, lots of coffee! It is a balancing act between coming up with new concepts, working on current collections and overseeing the business side of the brand. Most days I look like a juggler and hopefully I never drop a ball! (At least not when on stage!)
Q: You are currently based in New York. Do you feel this location has been an advantage to growing your brand and client base? Where else in the World would you like to work from?
A: Living and working in New York is definitely an advantage in growing my brand and business. Being that our studio is located outside of Manhattan, we are able to step away from the chaos of city life and fully submerge ourselves in design. However we are still close enough to attend industry shows and events.
If I was to relocate the business, it would probably be to the west coast. Somewhere warm like California—it is a completely different vibe and life-style.
Another one of my favorite cities is London. I attended Central St. Martins design school as part of my university studies and love the culture.
Q: How do you go about starting a new collection? From where do you draw your inspiration and how do you capture it?
A: I draw inspiration from a myriad of things: fashion, technology, art, travel, the world around us. It could be a person I see on the street, a piece of nature, a new discovery. The smallest influence could spark something that ultimately develops into a new collection. We compile the bits and pieces found along the way and eventually have the concept for our new collection. My studio walls are lined with pin boards, covered in inspiration.
Q: Do you think trends are important and how do you keep ahead of the trends?
A: Trends are definitely an important aspect of design. The forecasting process has a strong influence on the direction of our collections. It is important to keep ahead of the trends so that my products are exciting and relevant in the marketplace. The key to forecasting is to look at variables—economy, art, music, entertainment, social media, environment, politics, fashion. Forecasting is all about getting into the mind of the consumer and creating collections that will inspire today and in the future.
Q: What is your best advice for any inspired designer looking to start or build on their own brand?
A: Have a clear vision. It’s hard to communicate what you want if you don’t have a clear vision of what that is. And ask for things repeatedly. It’s human nature to get frustrated, but a good sales person doesn’t take “no” for an answer. Sometimes, timing is everything, and you may hear “no” for awhile. If you don’t keep knocking you’ll never hear “yes”. With effort and determination you can get there.