21 Feb Inspiring Interview with Leah Jack, VP of Product Design, Brintons
At Stacy Garcia, Inc. we are so lucky to work with our awesome licensees! Recently, our friend and talented carpet designer, Leah Jack of Brintons Carpets, was promoted to Vice President of Design. We couldn’t be happier for her and just had to know more about the path that led her here.
You’ve been a part of the Brintons family for 8 years. How did you get your start at the company?
It is quite a funny story really….only a few weeks prior to the job offer I had been asked “who would you work for if you could work with any carpet company?” and I had answered “Brintons!” I had always admired their dedication to trend setting collections. Pushing the boundaries of carpet design to make it more like art work for the floor. 2 weeks later I got the call that a position was available in America at the Dallas office and I just jumped at the opportunity!
Congratulations on your promotion! What’s your favorite part about being the Vice President of Design at Brintons?
Thank you! I’m really enjoying my new role. My favorite part about it would have to be that I now get to work more closely with every member of our amazing design team. They all have different backgrounds in art, design and sculpture and all bring something new to the process every day. They are and continue to be an inspiration to me!
You went to school for textile design, what drew you specifically to carpet design?
Yes I did focus on textile and surface pattern design at school but it was more fashion led. I loved fashion illustration and creating patterns for fabrics. Though I distinctly remember being attracted to the Brintons residential campaign in the 1990s in which Vivien Westwood styled models in clothes made of carpet! I still have those images torn from various magazines. My introduction to carpet design was when I answered an advertisement in a local newspaper for a trainee carpet designer and colorist with a nearby carpet manufacturer. I think my portfolio was so different and unique from the other candidates that it sealed the deal…and here I am 24 years later! I think what drew me to this field and continues to do so, is that it’s a different challenge everyday. There’s always something new to learn and grow from and ultimately the reward is to see your design work installed for millions of people to see….and walk on!
How large or small is your design team? How does this impact your design process?
I currently oversee a team of 17 designers in the Americas which we hope to increase in the near future. Most of the designers are assigned to support specific territories so they can build relationships with their Sales Executive and clients. These relationships and strong communication between the teams definitely impact and aid the design process. We are more like a huge family and strive to help each other when workloads are heavy and deadlines tight. We share design ideas and solutions on a daily basis and keep challenging each other to be ever more innovative.
You’ve worked with the Stacy Garcia team to create collaborations such as the Urban Nomad and Curator collections. What is your favorite memory of working with our team?
I had so much fun working with Stacy and her team on these two collections! It was interesting to see how another design team worked together and how I fit into that dynamic. My favorite memory was working with Amy on the colorations for Curator. I won’t lie – the palettes seemed a little alien to me at the time but once we started the process and seeing samples come through it all made sense! It pushed me to look at color and texture combinations in a different way and I started to bring that influence into my own project work.
We love the way you play with fun colors in your hair! We noticed your recent Ultra Violet hue. Did the Pantone Color of the Year inspire you to dye your hair or were you ahead of this trend before the announcement?
I was greatly inspired by the Pantone Ultraviolet! It is a color I’ve always been drawn to but had never tried in my hair before. I’ve constantly changed up my hair ever since I cut my own fringe, (bangs) at the age of 9 years old ….much to the horror of my poor Mother! I continued this tradition with many more years of eye rolling styles – a perm in the 80s, anything to look like Madonna in the 90s and I even did a Britney and shaved my head in 2001 ….before it was a Britney! I’ve recently been sporting pink roots as a homage to another of my favorite icons – P!NK …of course.
Four years ago, you interviewed Stacy for the Brintons blog. How does it feel to swap places and be the featured designer?
It’s a great honor! Stacy is a leading light in the hospitality industry. She is someone I consider a friend, true role model and a driving force for all women in business today.
For me personally, my goal is to “pay it forward”. I feel very lucky and privileged to have been traditionally trained by some of the best in the industry and not just designers. In my experience it is the designer’s role to be the nucleus of the project. Working directly with clients, the sales team, project management, planning, production and sometimes installers. It is our job to understand and collate all the relevant information and create a “carpet solution” that is not only beautiful but also practical and successful for the interior space. Working towards this goal will ultimately impact my initiative for Brintons in that the Design team will be further empowered and self-guided.