When you chat with professional creators, you hear some common themes:
1) It can get lonely spending so much time working on your own.
2) Finding new customers is tough.
3) Retail spaces are expensive and managing them is enormously time-consuming.
Architect Tina Dhillon and Interior Designer Brooke Hatfield have a deep understanding of these creator themes. Designers Collective is the firm that these two long-term friends have built to bring artists and customers together. “We were both working at home,” explains Dhillon, “and realized that we preferred a more active studio environment to the relative isolation of working at home.” “We trust each other implicitly,” adds Hatfield.
Hatfield and Dhillon bring in local artisans when Designers Collective is mapping out interiors for clients. They also run pop-ups where they invite a curated mix of Vancouver creators to display and sell their wares.
“Being designers, we love beautiful objects and beautiful spaces,” says Dhillon. “We have, over the course of our careers, built up our resource pool of artisans, makers and tradespeople that we could confidently recommend. What really surprised us was how good we were at selling and promoting work we believed in.”
“We saw that Vancouver has so much talent,’ adds Hatfield, “and we got so excited to share that with the public. I think the difference was we had a personal connection with each of the makers, so were able to share their story with customers. We discovered people really like the story behind the product.”
“We are a hotbed of innovation in urban design through our widely admired ‘Vancouverism,” says Dhillon. “The combined influence of a profoundly beautiful First Nations art, a spectacular natural environment and the multicultural matrix of the Pacific Rim make this a powerful engine of design.”
Starting February 4th, Designers Collective will launch their next Local Love Pop Up in advance of Valentines Day. Included will be neon artist Andrew Hibbs, winery Clos du Soleil, Joanna Baxter and her Lover Fighter leather bags and succulent arrangements from Botany Living.
Gallery owner Ian Tan has agreed to host the Local Love Pop up. “Finding space is the hardest part of holding a pop up shop,” says Dhillon. “When Ian agreed to host it, we were on our way.”
“Ian is a very innovative thinker,” says Hatfield. “The collaboration will bring unique eyes into the gallery, but will also bring unique eyes onto the vendors’ work.”
Dhillon and Hatfield encourage Vancouverites to tap into their own creativity. They run hands-on workshops like: Making Mala Necklaces, Styling, and Making The Most of your Space through Space Planning. In June, they will run their second Design Tour in Los Angeles.
“There is nothing like experiencing the architecture, design, fashion and food of other places to really get your creative juices flowing,” says Dhillon. “It can be the people you meet or the things you see, but the heightened awareness of being in a new place has the unique ability to teach, because instead of being told something, you are experiencing it.”
Given their collective expertise, what advice do the Designers Collective duo offer to those of us who are trying to make our own home interiors look good?
1. “Edit to keep only what you really love.
2. Curate what is left.
3. Get advice from a professional, even if it is just a consultation. A few nudges in the right direction can make all the difference.”
And from Hatfield:
4. “Be yourself. Figure out what makes you happy in your space and work with that. Your space should tell your story.
5. Don’t just wing it. Come up with a plan for your space and do each room as your budget allows. Rooms evolve. They don’t happen overnight.
6. Have cohesiveness from one room to the next. This doesn’t mean everything should match! It means that walking through your home, you can relate one room to another.”
Written by Elizabeth Newton
* Photos courtesy of Designers Collective