Behind the Design: Ivy Design Firm Saffron + Poe
Ivy Design Firm Spotlight: Saffron + Poe – San Francisco, CA
Johanna and Fiona – how did you get where you are today?
We are both originally from the Bay Area and currently live in San Francisco. We started working side by side in 2013 at a high-end residential interior design firm in Pacific Heights and immediately became friends. One night last March, after one too many Moscow Mules, we started talking about our dreams and aspirations. Although we loved the company we were with and were collaborating with truly talented designers, we felt that something was missing. We discovered that we had the same unfulfilled dreams – traveling the world, pursuing our passion for design & photography, and most of all, finding some small way to make a difference in the world. After some soul searching, we decided to launch a global sourcing company that is also a boutique interior design firm. One month later, we found ourselves on a one-way flight to Bali to begin seeking out beautiful handcrafted pieces and the amazing artisans behind them!
Saffron + Poe is on a mission to globally and ethically source traditional, handcrafted goods for the modern home. How do you make that happen?
We are currently partnering with artisans in Bali and Morocco to create one-of-a-kind pieces for the authentic modern home and plan on expanding to a new country each year. We strive to uplift our artisan partners and their families by providing a steady flow of business, and eventually, we’ll be giving back a percentage of the proceeds to the artisan communities.
How do you balance running a retail business and interior design business at the same time?
We won’t lie, running two businesses simultaneously is hard work! We often forget to eat, sleep, or sometimes breath. The main thing that gets us through it is having a solid partnership; we would not be where we are today without each other to uplift and support one another. Even though obstacles are often thrown our way, we continually receive signs from the universe that we are doing exactly what we should be doing, and always remember to listen.
Where was the last place you traveled for business and what were your favorite finds? Which country is next on the list?
We recently returned from Morocco where we found the most stunning rugs handwoven by women in the High Atlas Mountains. These rugs are unique to any we have seen on the market and we can’t wait to launch or Morocco Collection soon! Next, we hope to partner with artisans in Ecuador and Peru, seeking goods such as beautiful Alpaca throws and unique handwoven rugs.
In all of your travels, which country is your favorite for sourcing and working with local artisans?
We have had the most amazing experiences and met such talented artisans in both Bali and Morocco, there’s no way to choose a favorite! We feel so fortunate to have been able to visit and experience these incredible cultures (even if we were working around the clock most of the time, and sometimes pulling all-nighters).
San Francisco is where you’re based – who are your favorite local vendors to source from and work with?
We have been working with local artist and woodworker Aleksandra Zee to design and commission several beautiful pieces for our residential projects. We love coming up with unique custom installations for her wood creations such as a barn door and/or a headboard. We also frequent places like the West Coast Craft Fair or Alameda Flea Market to discover and support local makers, finding one-of-a-kind pieces for our clients.
What projects are you currently working on?
In order to balance managing both a retail business and a boutique interior design firm, we take on only two projects at a time. We are currently putting the finishing touches on our Contemporary Cottage project in Mill Valley, and our Wishing Tree House project in San Francisco. Because of amazing clients who have given us the flexibility to express our design vision and aesthetic, these projects have been a dream! We are gearing up for our next projects (a San Francisco home and start-up office), and can’t wait to see how they come together.
How does designing make you feel?
Design gives us all the feels! It makes us feel alive, passionate, invigorated, and at times, overcome with anxiety (we’ve all been there!). When we are in the depths of the design phase of a project, it is hard to think about anything else. Sometimes we catch ourselves half asleep in the middle of the night designing a project in our heads. Often our best ideas come to us in these late hours of the night, or even in the shower!
What’s your business mantra?
In our design business, we strive to create a balance and communication between objects, a balance between the elements, and a balance between the past and present. Our goal is to create livable, timeless spaces that tell a story about their inhabitants. We love the thought of mixing the old world with the new, incorporating layers of texture and history. In our own lives, we are constantly seeking a balance between work and life, but the fierce passion and love we have for what we do blurs the line between the two.
Why did you join Ivy?
We have both worked extensively with pretty much every software for interior designers out there, and each one has been time consuming and convoluted. Ivy is extremely intuitive and lets us spend more time on design, and less time on the paperwork and accounting!
What have you learned from the Ivy Designer Network?
We just attended the first Ivy Designer Meet Up and were blown away by the network of inspiring designers all wanting to collaborate together. In the past, we have found the design industry to be very closed off and secretive, but Ivy has created a supportive community of designers wanting to help each other out (and even share their sources!). We are so happy this is the direction the design world is moving, and are excited to ask questions and share our insight on the Ivy Facebook group.
How does Ivy help streamline your day-to-day workflow as an interior designer?
We used to use multiple programs each day for time tracking, proposals/purchase orders, invoicing, image boards, etc. Ivy has made it so we only have to open one program for all of our needs, and complete them quickly and efficiently. It doesn’t hurt that the graphic design is so pleasant – we are designers and like to look at pretty things!
What’s an Ivy feature you can’t live without?
We love the Ivy Product Clipper – being able to grab the images and information for an item with the click of a button makes the specifying process fun and easy!
Here at Ivy, we’re more than just a software. Our mission is to provide interior designers with the community, resources and tools needed to manage your business beautifully. Are you searching for a business management tool to help streamline your workflow as an interior designer?