We’re always amazed at the incredible amount of talent floating around our head office and retail stores. It’s a wonderful and inspiring thing to be surrounded by so many creative people. We wanted to give you a taste of what it’s like to be a part of our little family, and hopefully inspire you in the process, so we sat down with designer Carla Zacharias to learn all about her role here at EQ3!
Carla joined the product development team a little over 3 years ago, and has been bringing fresh, new designs to the EQ3 product line ever since. She’s a fantastic designer and has a great eye for detail. She’s also a go-to for the latest in design and colour trends, and has a deep understanding and appreciation for the craft of handmade rugs. This girl knows her stuff!
Read on to learn more about Carla’s work…
Image source: portrait of Carla by Charles Venzon
EQ3 Tell us about your role here at EQ3. What does your job entail?
CARLA ZACHARIAS My official title is Accessory Product Manager. My job is to develop, design and manage the creation of accessory specific products which include, but are not limited to lamps, tableware, rugs, and textiles. I oversee the entire process of a product from design brief to retail introduction. The process of any new launch of a product includes responding to a marketplace need, working with designers or designing, finalizing colours and materials of a product, finding a supplier, overseeing any manufacturing challenges, working with the graphic team on the packaging of a product, and finalizing product placement in the store with the visual team. Or to put it simply, my job is to develop product.
EQ3 What is your design background (educational / work)?
CZ I went to school at the University of Manitoba in the Faculty of Architecture and graduated with a Bachelor of Environmental Design, specializing in Interior Design. Within that time, I also had an opportunity to be part of a furniture design studio.
EQ3 How did these experiences prepare you for your position?
CZ The furniture studio prepared me for understanding materials and the importance of designing a product around the characteristics and the properties of each material. For example, wood is a living material and will shrink, grow, warp and change colour overtime, and understanding these properties is important for the design of a product, and can be celebrated within a design.
We also did a lot of space planning and floor planning, which have really helped me understand how people use space and furniture; and, that essentially affects everything that we do here at EQ3 in terms of product.
EQ3 Let’s talk about designs you’ve done for EQ3. Can you highlight a few of them? Any favourites?
CZ My first design that went into production was the Zach Rug. Some newer designs would include the Plaid and the Duplex bedding which just hit stores this fall, as well as the Chess Rug, Roscoe Rug and the Castra Rug. Coming in early next year are oiled oak stumpy wall hooks, and a collection of table linens. The Cheese Board, Cutting Board and Pizza Board were a collaboration with Creative Director Thom Fougere.
EQ3 What about the products you’ve brought in as a buyer. Any favourite finds there?
CZ Definitely Urbio. The Tino Pendant. And, the Tiller Rug.
EQ3 We’re curious…what was your last EQ3 purchase?!
CZ A Reverie Sofa and loveseat in Durango Rio (leather).
EQ3 You get to travel a lot for work. Where have you been? What experiences stand out most in your mind?
CZ I have been to India, China, Taiwan, Germany, and Sweden. The place that stands out most is India, of course. I really got immersed in the handicraft side of production and the skills and crafts that are involved with that, especially the handmade rugs. Did you know it can take up to a year to make a hand knotted rug? Unreal! I also always really enjoy travelling to Europe…because of the coffee…and the food.
EQ3 What other perks come with the job?
CZ Because we have to be aware of the marketplace, global trends and emerging design trends, a major perk in my job is that I’m “forced” to read blogs, magazines, and attend design shows. I think it’s awesome that that is part of my day-to-day tasks of working. Obviously, another perk is travel. I get to travel to places in the world that I would probably not have had a chance to otherwise see. I normally get to visit the locations unknown to tourists, getting a real feel for the culture. Also, how can you not enjoy working in an office environment with so many young, creative, talented people.
EQ3 Your job requires you to stay on top of design trends. How do you manage this? Where do you look for inspiration?
CZ Definitely at shows. I think the biggest show for inspiration would be Ambiente in Frankfurt. A lot of the well-known design brands showcase their new products and the show focuses on up and coming design trends and overall good design. It is always interesting to see how common materials are being transformed into design ideas – products you wouldn’t normally expect. Other inspiration comes from blogs, there’s always design weeks around cities, magazines, visiting design orientated retail stores while travelling…that type of thing. Sometimes just a weekend at the lake. I might see something that inspires me…the look of it, or the shape, and then that becomes something else.
EQ3 Do you have any reading recommendations – sites, blogs, magazines or other publications – that we should check out?
CZ The EQ3 blog…haha! Also, My Scandinavian Home (myscandinavianhome.blogspot.com). I love European and Scandinavian influences.
EQ3 What are you currently working on? What’s next for EQ3’s accessory collection?
CZ This spring we’re launching a collection that focuses on cottage living: textures, materials and natural, rustic references will be a key part of the collection.
I’m most looking forward to the Fall 2014 collection, but I’m not saying anything more about it!
EQ3 Guess our readers will have to wait and see! So, it’s clear that your job here at EQ3 keeps you busy. But, when you’re not working, where would we most likely find you?
CZ In summer, at a lake, or on a patio. In winter, coffee shops or cooking/baking in my kitchen.
EQ3 What are your 3 must-have tools for living and working…things you can’t live / work without?
CZ Pantone swatches, Illustrator & AutoCAD, and EQ3’s ice cream club.
Thanks Carla! We really need to find a way to join that club. It sounds amazing.