Textile designer Supon Phornirunlit always wows with him bright color palettes, bold patterns and must-have pillows.He started his first business- Supon Design Group-with just $1,000 at age of 25, working out of one -bedroom apartment in Washington,D.C.The first pillow Supon designed-Live live a Queen-was a tremendous success.After the success of this product, Supon launched a smart, savvy line of home accessories in 2007 called Naked Decor.We love his stuff so much, in fact, we just had to interview him to see how he does what he does.
How did you get into this field? When did you know you wanted to be a textile designer?
For many years, I served as the founder and creative director of an award-winning graphic design firm in Washington, D.C. We designed corporate branding for Fortune 500 companies. When I sold the company and began designing decorative accessories for my own home.My family and friends admired my creations and I realized that there was consumer demand for my designs. My first collection included several decorative pillows that were a hit with the press and customers. That’s how Naked Decor got its start.
How would you describe you and your company’s style?
My collections are definitely influenced by my love for pop art and animals. Everything is clean and simple and there’s always a little bit of humor in the designs. I love to make my customers smile when they see my work.
Pillows are the perfect home accessory because they can be switched out quickly to change the mood of your room or give it a fresh look. It’s expensive to change furniture or repaint a room, but a few well-chosen pillows can transform any space and make it cozy.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I love to travel and try to take a trip once a month. I’m always inspired by the sights, sounds, people and cultures of each place I visit. Also, my pets have always provided me with plenty of inspiration and there are definitely nods to pop culture in many of my lines. Most importantly, I try to find the humor, something that will bring a smile to my customers’ faces.
I read that you are the man behind the interior design of your house. Can please talk around the style.
Everything is clean and crisp, but yet it can create drama and be unexpected. The house and furniture serve as a blank canvas and then I use accessories, like my accent pillows, lamps and decorative items, to add that pop of color. Every room in the house also has its own personality and theme. I try to tailor the look to its function and position in the house.
Ever thought about being an interior designer?
Many friends have asked me to decorate their homes, but I find it much more fun to design products that will make it easy for them to do it themselves. I try to create designs that will reflect their personalities and provide the flexibility to personalize their spaces.
Do you live, run your business or achieve goals by any specific design philosophy?
Good design is just like a good outfit. It has to fit you.
What challenges do you face on a daily basis?
We are currently designing products that will be in the market six months or a year from now. Our real challenge is try to recognize the trends and figure out what will be hot next season. We constantly ask ourselves what consumers are going to like and love.
Tell us something unusual that happened in your career.
It’s ironic, I started as a graphic designer at age 24 out of my apartment. In a few short years, I was so successful and employed close to 50 people. I was getting tired of managing that many people and ended up selling the company. I always think that if you dont have fun with what you do, then you might want to do something else. I took a few years off, bought a new home and did a lot of travel. I tried to figure out what I wanted to do next. I knew that I didnt want to be just another graphic designer. During that time, I was submitting my home for a contest in a major magazine and it won the top prize. The editor of the magazine asked me where I got all of the pillows in my house and I told him I designed them. The magazine then published my website as a resource to get those pillows. We sold a lot of pillows and the next thing I knew, Naked Decor was born. From a few pillows my line has grown to nearly 90 products. If you are happy, then you need just go with the flow.
What are your plans for the future?
I’m continuing to expand my Naked Decor collections, creating new twists on our most popular designs and developing new products. Most importantly, I have to happy with what I am doing. I like to challenge myself. Doing the same thing over and over can just be boring.
What is your favourite book/magazine on design? How about your favourite site?
I love all home magazines especially foreign magazines, like AD, Elle, Living etc., Belle, Habitat and many more. Right now, I love Pinterest. I went there to see what people were posting and found it to be a good resource for my own research.
What you recommend for this year ?
I think we’ll continue to see big, bold graphic designs and strong colors. Even small accessories will make big statements.
What advice do you have for young designers or architects reading this interview?
First, figure out what you want to be and then do what you have to do to get there. If you love what you do, then it’s not work. Don’t be afraid to be yourself and let it be reflected in your work.