Finding Design Inspiration Along a Road to Mexico

Jan. 7, 2019

In the first Maker Monday segment of 2019, designer Jamie Young Jeter shares personal insight into her own craft while also highlighting the growth of her business, the Jamie Young Company.

Over 20 years ago, Jamie Young Jeter and her husband, David Jeter, set out on a casual day trip from California to Mexico, where they discovered a variety of interesting gardening pots in a roadside shop during their journey. Returning with their haul to Los Angeles, the couple sold the pots to a local florist, where they recognized an underserved market. Jamie and David began to then design their own creative flowerpots, only to realize that the handcrafted quality of their designs could also work as unique bases for lamps. And so, the Jamie Young Company was started.

Based on traveling the world and influenced by art and history, Jamie and David’s products over the years have expanded to include lamps, lamp shades, occasional furniture, wall art and more – all of which give off a well-traveled vibe. In the first Maker Monday segment of 2019, Jamie shares her perspective on the couple’s craft and a few of her favorite things that keep her inspired along the way.

A Maker's Memories

interiors+sources: How did you get your start in design?

Jamie Young Jeter: I have been designing rooms and products since I was 9 years old. Going to the flea markets with my mom and finding furniture for my bedroom, picking fabrics and finding vintage lighting pieces to go with the look I wanted was something I’ve always loved doing in my free time. When David and I started the business, we saw a need for great lighting and especially lamp shades – we began working on a design that incorporated a cement lamp base and dupioni silk shade, available in various colors as options for our customers, which was quite unusual at the time.

i+s: What is your most memorable product or collection you’ve worked on and why?

JYJ: We have designed thousands of pieces over the years and we’re very proud of the designs we come up with. A collection that stands out is the cloisonné lamps we did about eight years ago. We took modern designs and had them produced in the ancient process of enamel and copper wiring. These are still some of my favorite pieces. The factory that made them closed, so unfortunately we had to stop producing them, but we’re working on creating something similar in our next collection.

The Interior Designer's Process

i+s: Describe what a typical workday for you looks like.

JYJ: About five years ago, we partnered with an incredible CEO, Gary Finder, and he took over the operational side of the business to really help us grow. My workday has significantly changed since then, and I spend most of my time now working with customers and developing products with my husband, David, and his team. Looking back at our old designs, especially those from around the world, researching new materials, and creating new categories of lighting and furniture is exactly what Jamie Young Co. is all about.

i+s: Name some must-haves you need or like to have on hand when starting a new project.

JYJ: We start with tons of research on what is already out there and materials that would make sense, color palettes that would work and practical details we want to include in a new collection. For example, when developing a wall sconce for Jamie Young Co., we need to understand the needs of our customers and other designers in the industry. We work to study the neutrals needed for each specific color palette, damp UL rating systems so they can go into bathrooms and a scale that works for the project. We tend to design a bit more casual and coastal style, but we also love creating glamorous pieces using natural stone and crystal.

i+s: What challenges you most during your creative process?

JYJ: Is what we are creating able to be produced? It is really important to be able to create a beautiful product that can be manufactured without undue problems. We want to be as creative as possible, but we also work hard to provide the customer a functional product.

i+s: If you could pick one person from history to meet, who would you choose?

JYJ: Jamie from The Outlander. That’s a real person, right?

A Designer's Favorites

i+s: What is your favorite thing in your working environment?

JYJ: All the pictures of my family and our travels.

i+s: What’s your favorite color?

JYJ: It is always changing – I am loving a slate blue right now.

i+s: Spring, summer, winter or fall?

JYJ: Fall and spring. The crisp, clear air makes me feel refreshed.

i+s: What’s the last photo you took?

JYJ: My succulent garden in front of my home.

i+s: If you could travel to one place in the world for free, where would you go?

JYJ: I would love to go to Morocco, Mexico City and the Netherlands. I guess it is hard for me to pick just one!

i+s: What’s your favorite city and why?

JYJ: I love NYC when I’m not in Los Angeles where my family and I live full time. Both NYC and Los Angeles are filled with so many creative people, stores and inspirational art. We love to travel all over the world, so I could never say one city is my favorite! I love Atlanta, I love Denver and the list goes on. It feels like today everybody has access to design at their fingertips so there is creativity busting out everywhere influenced by their location.

The Future of Interior Design

i+s: What do you think is next for the interior design industry?

JYJ: It seems that online interior design services are changing the way many people work. Interior designers can reach so many more customers on both small and large projects. As for the looks of the future – I think it’s going to remain totally eclectic. Nowadays, so many different styles can work together in one room – industrial, farmhouse, classic, modern, contemporary and rustic can all work together and set a room apart from the rest of the house.

i+s: What advice would you give to students studying the design field?

JYJ: First, I think it’s important to be open to learning from many different seasoned designers and don’t be intimidated when you don’t know something. You will have a ton to offer from your perspective, but experience is a very important part of design.

i+s: What’s next for you?

JYJ: We are growing all categories of our business at Jamie Young Co. and have introduced tons of new beautiful chandeliers and fixtures for the start of 2019. We will also introduce new lighting every season. In addition, we are focusing on more furniture pieces to round out the Jamie Young Co. line. Continue to check out our website to see what’s new as we’re always releasing new introductions and collections! Our plan is to bring our new products to market four times a year to keep things interesting.

i+s: Where can people find your goods?

JYJ: You can go to our website to see which retailers carry Jamie Young Co. and a handful of wonderful online resources also carry the JYC product.

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About the Author

Adrian Schley | Associate Editor

Adrian Schley is an Associate Editor for i+s, where she has been covering the commercial interior design industry since 2018. Her work can also be found in BUILDINGS and Meetings Today. 

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