Last week we had the extraordinary pleasure of introducing to you some of our newest vendors at 2Modern: haskell. We learned early on in the interview that both the founders, adorable married couple Andrew Stoneman and Laura Haskell, have an eye for modern aesthetics but a passion for creating sustainable products for families and design lovers that will last a lifetime. We learned a lot about the company and the products last time, but we wanted to take a moment to delve into Andrew and Laura’s background to give you a better well-rounded picture of the people behind the brand.
Firstly, they were both born in raised in Southern California, so if you had any doubts that they know outdoor spaces and outdoor furniture, allow them to be quashed now. Laura has degrees in merchandising, marketing and fashion design, and has been a preferred resource for inspiration to the fashion industry’s elite labels in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and London for almost 18 years. She brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the aesthetics of the pieces, most especially the cushions and color palettes.
Andrew brings to the table years and years of business, sales and steel expertise, as well as a healthy dose of modern design tastes. Forming a perfect complement to Laura’s years in the fashion industry, he plans to continue to “expand the haskell design library, samples and accessory offerings with an eye toward creating a quality lifestyle brand.” Both Laura and Andrew love food adventures and are raising Laird, the most adorable 2-year-old we’ve seen in a long time. Enjoy this quick second part to their interview, and be sure to check Interview: The Haskell Collection (Part 1) first!
2Modern: Hi and welcome to the second part of our interview with the creative company behind the modern outdoor furniture company, haskell.
2M: I like that your furniture can either be with cushions or without—that it looks good both ways. But there’s just so much funness that comes in with your fashion and cushion choices. What were some of your ideas for bringing those in, and what were your inspirations for those color palettes and stuff?
Laura Haskell: I think the word “fun” is exactly what we’re going for. We wanted a sophisticated fun. So a lot of the pictures we saw of outdoor furniture in the ads were very serious and showed no people, or maybe a woman alone, you know, in front of like the Mediterranean—just very different from how we saw outdoor furniture used with families or parties in backyards and balconies and stuff like that. So we wanted to bring some fun into it, but also keep it sophisticated so like the pattern the suzani. We didn’t really see anything out there, like no patterns, or if there were patterns it was very—what’s the word—not an attractive color palette or design. The suzani is one of my favorite designs so we thought what if we brought that outside and brightened it up a little bit? We thought it went well with what you do outside, like barbeques, parties and get togethers.
2M: I was actually going to mention that I immediately noticed that you guys have kids in your product photos and that it looked like it was someone’s backyard. Do you guys envision your furniture working for everybody? Or did you have a really specific target market?
LH: I think it works everyone. I mean I see it—I lived in New York for 8 years—so I definitely see it on rooftops or balconies with singles in New York or elsewhere or residential or in the suburbs, backyards with families and kids. And with the choices of fabric, because you can go more sophisticated—we’ve just added gray and white cushions—so you can make it very monochromatic and you don’t have to go with the bright-colored suzani if you’re single.
2M: Yeah a little more serious—trying to be cool
LH: Exactly. You have that option. So yeah, I see it working with younger people, with older people, with kids or without. I think it translates to all.
Andrew Stoneman: One of the other areas, too, Adrienne, I agree with Laura. The residential market is obviously one of our targets and it can be for the single individual or can be for your family-oriented. The other area I think that we apply to is the hospitality market—boutique hotels and maybe even larger chains—and then in the commercial marketplace in terms of civic entities. One thing I didn’t mention that maybe I should have earlier, is our application to LEED criteria. And maybe not all your listeners are familiar with L.E.E.D LEED, which is Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design. LEED is an internationally recognized classification system for measuring the energy efficiency of buildings. And it’s a big deal in California and it’s becoming a big deal in a lot of states obviously. Our furnishings because of our recycled content can help developers qualify for LEED points in commercial development and multi-family, low-rise, mid-rise, high-rise developments. And by obtaining LEED points, it allows developers to qualify in some cases for rebates and subsidies. So our products can actually become an asset to an architectural development firm.
2M: Well I know you guys are fairly new having just recently launched, so obviously to ask what’s up next is a pretty broad question because it sounds like you guys have a bright future ahead. But what’s up next? Are you going to be adding any new lines…new cushions…new colors?
AS: We are. We have a new color palette like Laura mentioned, coming out by the end of April that’s going have some new solids, and we also have some other patterns in early development now. So I would look forward in the next ninety days for there to be additional choices, and fabrics. Then in addition to that we’re going to be augmenting the Series9 with an accessories line of outdoor planters. We have a planter system that will accommodate draught tolerate vegetation and it’s modular in design and you can mix and match the risers with the buckets. So I think that’s a great diversification to just the furnishings that we have. And then we’re looking to launch what’s going to be the Series8 line, which will have a lot of radius, soft forms, they’ll be a chaise, some specialty pieces there. We have some one-off chairs that are lounge pieces. So we have a lot of stuff on the drawing boards, many of them in the prototype phase and in sample design now. And we’re looking to get those out in the marketplace as soon as possible.
2M: I can’t wait to see all of it.
AS: Well it’s been our pleasure. We’ve really enjoyed it; it’s new territory for us. Fortunately we’ve been very well received, especially from folks like yourself and others and we’re just looking forward to growing and continuing what we hope is a growing trend.
2M: Well for more information about haskell, you can go to haskellcollection.com. For more fun interview podcasts, inspiring design advice and design posts, check out the blog at 2modern.com.