I can be pretty darn comfortable not taking huge creative swings (at times). It’s the easiest way to protect yourself from failing (especially publicly), but last year I decided to attempt to break the “pressure to perform perfectly” anxiety loop and commit to some creative risk-taking, realizing that the worst that could happen is just not that bad in the grand scheme of things. So today is a very exciting day – and I’m so proud of what Jess, myself, and the EHD and RugsUSA teams created. It’s the official launch day of my/our first product line and I’m so excited to show it to you (shot and styled throughout our farmhouse – which was so fun.)
And here’s a little video we did at the shoot! Just wait for the short ad to play:)
The Back Story…Why Did You Wait 15 Years For A Product Line?
Over the years I have been asked over and over: “When are you going to have a product line?” The easiest answer was that I wasn’t allowed to. I was in a long-term (9-year) relationship with a retail brand that contractually didn’t allow me to design and sell my own home product, focusing my efforts on selling their product, instead. It was a great partnership and I was never bummed by the limitation, not once (I was honestly slammed with work/kids so it was a welcomed excuse). And yes, companies pay a higher rate for this exclusivity (think athletes – if they are sponsored by Nike they can’t create their own competitor shoe).
But, that wasn’t the real reason, it was just a super easy excuse that shut down most conversations. The real reason after the contract expired, as it always is, was fear and insecurity. The emotional stress that comes with failure (I should know) and disappointing people (even worse) was too great of a risk to say “yes” at times. In my mind, after 15 years on the internet, the expectations would be too high, and there was no way to meet or exceed them (or so I told myself). And that seemed like a lot of time, stress, and resources towards something with unknown financial return. It just wasn’t a “hell yes”… for years…
The answer is really good alignment on all fronts – the right people (Hi Jess! and RugsUSA team), timing (farmhouse finally done), mental space, and product (I love rugs very much). I felt confident enough to challenge myself and my team, to try something new, and to stretch our creativity and marketing skills. And then the RugsUSA marketing and product teams were so incredible. Their recent launches of Lauren Leiss’ and Arvin Olano’s lines are so good – not just the product, but the photography and storytelling around them. So after my mid-life re-awakening last year, after a 2-year personal slump, I agreed to the meeting, and my typical hesitation was overwhelmed by a “let’s try it”…feeling…as long as Jess would do it with me 🙂 What I have learned about myself (and don’t love) is that I can commit to and drop many large balls if I’m creatively stretched/depleted, which can really disappoint many people. So I needed a partner in this, who would be there if/when I couldn’t (in every way). Jess was ready to take the lead, providing the creative, design, and professional support that I needed to feel confident enough to commit. Jess had recently shifted to Creative Director (7 years at EHD!!!) and with her eye for detail, the design market, and trends I knew that we’d make a good team (have you seen her first apartment or her new office? JAW DROPPINGLY GOOD for a “non-designer”). So we did this together – we designed a line we are both so proud of (and yes, every time you purchase a rug for your home, she benefits from it financially, too – it’s a real win/win for all).
And listen, if this co-designed rug line does well, GREAT and we’ll do more rugs along with lighting, furniture, textiles, etc (slowly and intentionally). And if it doesn’t do well, we get to learn, figure out why, process, regroup, and muster bravery together to try something else. This mindset has taken the pressure off of it all and helped me enjoy the process, not focusing on any future “success”. Learning how to launch a product line has been so interesting (to be fair the process with Rugs USA has been wonderful and seamless) and knowledge of these processes can only be gained by doing them. So regardless I/we feel lucky to be here, rain or shine. 🙂 BUT HOPEFULLY SO MUCH SHINE, Y’ALL LET’S GET INTO IT!
What’s The Inspiration Behind The Rug Line?
Well, we really leaned into “Scandinavian Farmhouse” for this first launch. Think simple, warm neutrals, and blues in vintage-inspired Scandinavian patterns and textures that feel really transitional, cozy, and classic. We pinned vintage Scandi rugs and fabrics and sent through a lot of design details that we felt would be both special and universal.
We named the rugs based on locations (streets, cities) that meant something to us. The “Portland” is one of my favorites. It’s a large-scale plaid with chunky hand-sewn yarn stitching details (but so affordable and forgiving). This one is the perfect entry rug (don’t forget a rug pad, it’s woven), hallway runner, or just anywhere that you want to not see everyday life 🙂 It’s not busy, but it’s forgiving for kids and pets (my favorite formula).
This is my FAVORITE rug and I love it so much that I switched out or bedroom rug and enjoy this in there. The Merrick is a neutral with a broken stripe with multiple pile heights (some fluffy, some woven) and therefore has a lot of give, comfort, versatility, and looks high-end. I put it on a rug pad in the bedroom (memory foam FTW) and it’s SO comfy, cozy, and pretty. When we shot it here we didn’t have a rug pad, and when you add that cush, that extra layer, it becomes dreamy and almost like a flokati, but way more sophisticated (IMHO).
It’s so classic, easy to mix in, and has enough personality (with the black weave) but is so neutral and creamy. I think this is an excellent bedroom or office rug. It’s light enough to brighten a space and make it look bigger, but interesting enough to add to the design of the room.
Please pretend you aren’t seeing the family room yet (the full reveal coming so SOON, but timing is what it is:)). We shot the Rowena in here and I admittedly did NOT think I would love a light rug in this cozy dark room (we have a dark rug in here which I had ordered far before this line came out). But it looks SO GOOD, too! It’s a check pattern but looks different depending on the direction it’s laid. The horizontal stripe is darker than the vertical stripe adding one more layer of dimension and interest (and making it look more high-end – those details are what set it apart).
This rug, the Rowena, is extremely comfortable, like the Merrick. The plush cream yarns are thick soft and cozy (and not too tightly crammed together), and the darker “stripes” add the texture/contrast that again, makes it more forgiving. We are working on some solids for our next launch because I love quiet rugs as well, but often if they don’t have enough color/texture/yarn variation they can show too much dust, hair, dirt, or stains. The point is, having some textural or yarn variation will make it more lifestyle/family-friendly.
We shot the Rowena in the living room, too and it also looked so good in there. It has so much texture and pattern but isn’t too bold or overly graphic.
Appropriately named, The Oregon, is another Scandi-inspired yarn-threaded large-scale plaid. This one (IMHO) is so good for high-traffic areas (entry, hallways, family, or playrooms). I really need to look up more synonyms for the word “forgiving,” because once again I can tell you this hides everyday wear and tear so much and cleans up so well. While I love a vintage Persian rug, for this exact reason, they can be so expensive and a more traditional vibe. This one is so affordable and more contemporary.
We have a TON of sisals in this collection, some of my favorite rugs, actually. Often sisals can kinda bore me, TBH and they aren’t exactly massaging your feet – they are inherently rough. But they are so good for utilitarian spaces, in a simple paired-back way. This rug, the Raleigh, as you can see has multiple colors and even a broken stripe pattern (it’s a thing with me, as you know:)). These have nothing if not texture, making them feel less precious – they don’t literally repel dirt, but it’s hard to see dirt on them as it doesn’t sink in like it can on wool or cotton rugs.
Another favorite rug of mine, the “Hillcrest” (shout out to Bob and Suz) has such a pretty cotton weave within the sisal that creates the pattern. And since you are mixing a yarn in the sisal it’s much softer than a typical 100% sisal or jute rug. It’s a stripe, with an interesting vintage detail at both ends, making it feel more special and high-end (but still so affordable!).
Technically this was too big for our bathroom but I LOVE it in here (for the shoot we ordered a ton of rugs in different sizes and then shot them in as many rooms as we could). I love the warmth of the Hillcrest in here.
While we were shooting for their website we also tried the Oregon in here (I wish I had ordered a 9×12 to put in our family room honestly, I LOVE this rug). I think it works better on a wood floor because it pops off more, but I still really liked it in our bathroom.
We shot as many rugs as we could in as many rooms as we could – really trying to take advantage of the incredibly talented crew we had. After three days of intense shooting at our home, I remembered how much I love the collaborative energy of a big production like this. Everyone has the same common goal to tell a beautiful story with rugs in a home. It was so rewarding and inspiring. A huge shout out to the photographer, Mark Weinberg, our stylist, Getteline Rene, the RugsUSA marketing team – Alex, Ali, Paul, Tara, and a big crew of lighting grips, PAs, digital and photo assistants, and, of course, my team – Jess, Gretchen, and Kaitlin (who did all the reels and were INCREDIBLE).
I’m the only one in that photo, but so many talented people are involved in this process from the start. I’m talking weaving, to marketing, customer service, and the in-house RugsUSA design team that took our inspiration and interpreted them into fresh rugs for your home. Witnessing it all is such an incredible process that makes me more grateful for everything I own that has been thoughtfully designed.
Thanks To The Whole Crew
It was three days of so many people moving fast, capturing all the things for all the platforms, and rugs are NOT EASY to move. It’s not like shooting pillows or vases, so a huge thanks to the production assistants who never get public love, but sweat so hard moving these huge things from room to room, under beds and sofas, etc.
Thanks Jess for being my partner in this launch, I truly couldn’t have done it without you, and thanks to my team Caitlin, Mal, Gretchen, and of course, Kaitlin Greene for all your creativity, support, and genuine enthusiasm for this new venture. I’m very lucky to have all of you, and I hope all of YOU love these rugs as much as we do. You can see them all here. xx