There I was, early 2020, enjoying the life of designing rugs and, BOOM! Next thing I knew we all were adjusting to life being thrust on us by this COVID situation, and as I’m sure, like me, you’re waiting with bated breath for the world to go back to normal. On a personal note, what “life in lockdown” made me realize was that although I had furnished my home to its entirety, it was missing one major factor. Cosiness, and so as we attempt to do when we have plenty of time on my hands, I embarked on one of my DIY projects.
Firstly, hanging up paintings that had been in corners on the floor longer than I would care to admit. I then went on to move some furniture around, sanding down and painting a long-forgotten side table with leftover wall paint, finally culminating with improvements to what has become my new favourite space. I explored ideas I had of minimalism, with less clutter and fuss, in an attempt to keep it as simple as possible.
I moved my office desk and placed it in front of the window in order to take advantage of the view. I also transported a lovely but neglected, plant and my newly acquired chrome light to the window as well. I then finished off the space with some candles, a little painting of my muse, Frida Kahlo, and a fluffy Berber Rug which my cat claimed as its new bed.
The next revelation that came to me was to find a solution to a persistent problem that’s been bothering me. “How do I start this blog?” For the longest time, I’ve asked myself questions like:
Should it only represent Mae Rugs, and be separate from me?
Should it represent me and the things I love, or the designs that inspire me?
Two people made me see the light. I started following Ashley Stark, as her style was something that really resonated with me as unique and remarkable. Like her, I could show all the things that I have an affinity towards and love. Everything from decor to fashion, nature to night skies, and how these very different worlds mish-mash and inspire me. In turn, making up what I would call my design aesthetic.
So now that I’ve seemingly found my ‘aesthetic’, I still had to find my ‘tone’ or ‘voice’ so to say. I remembered receiving a Skinny laMinx newsletter, where Heather’s writing style came across just as open and honest as if she was talking to a friend. Her vulnerability in the way she wrote about all the various trials and tribulations associated with being a strong businesswoman, was something I found to be somewhat inspirational given the climate we’re all facing. Not only did I find it to be engaging and thought-provoking, but an approach I could only wish for with my Mae Rugs blog. With her, I found my “voice”, and as we do when we have a newfound voice, this is me welcoming you to my little world.
A Brief Reintroduction
My background is in BCOM Law, which traditionally is not at all a creative area of study by any means. So much so, that when my brother Matteo needed me to help out as a temp at his rug store, I jumped at the chance to get involved. During those early years, I learned everything I could about design and colour theory both from him and his fantastic clientele that I was more than happy to deal with.
Fast forward ten years, and I could have never imagined that and I would have Mae Artisan Rugs and what it is today. A business filled with the most memorable and creative clients who afford me the privilege to dream up designs for the spaces they love, and a canvas to express my creativity and imagination.
For those of you who don’t really know me too well, growing up in this Industry was both fun and incredibly daunting. Some of you might not be aware, but I am the younger sister of “Paco” (Paco Rugs). As such, I always felt that there was an expectation that my aesthetic to be similar to his design aesthetic. I recall on one of our long chat’s, which many of you in the industry know that he loves to have, he told me to always remember “that I am not him”. I am Mae, and as such, I need to do my own thing in design. He said,
With this encouragement in hand and willful ambition in mind, I slowly started understanding and showcasing my love of design. Which over time I came to realize is feminine, with a touch of masculinity and lots of ‘granny colours’ or ‘Pastel tones’, ultimately a Human-Centered Design approach.
I went on to launch my first collection of rugs, something I called Japan-Esque. A fusion between the minimalism of Japanese design viewed through the lens of a modern colour palette. An abstract depiction of my European upbringing, set against the rich heritage of my family’s middle eastern roots. From the learnings of my first collection, I’ve gone on to launch collections inspired by my interests in the cosmos, Night Sky collection, as well as art collections inspired by my continued awe and wonder of nature. I’ve gone on to step out of my comfort zone and have had colourful collaborations with KLûK/CGDT, whom I’d consider to be dear friends of my brand. The past six years have not only been both unique and challenging but filled with sleepless nights and excitement. Running Mae Rugs has been a whirlwind that has taught me so much that I will always be grateful for.
Mae Rugs in the Post-COVID landscape
Life it seems is not without a sense of irony. During the lockdown period, I had the unfortunate event of having a flood at my store. My office’s walls, display units, art and some of my favourite rug samples, were all destroyed. Funnily enough, I didn’t see this as a “Why me?” Moment. Rather, I instinctively realized this ‘gave’ me an opportunity to redesign my space and achieve everything that I had in mind for Mae Rugs. I used this time to do a mini rebrand, everything from corporate colours to rethinking the shop layout. Letting go of the old, and welcoming in the “New Normal” in a Post-COVID era. The experience reaffirmed one of my favourite saying as a child, the overused but ever true, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. I’m reminded to be grateful for what I have, the friends, family and loved ones I hold dear. Those are the things that seem to matter in the end. I will leave you on that note. I hope you enjoy these updates, and I can’t wait to share more of these with you on my blog.
Until the next Rug Riff,
In good design