Being comfortable with change and incompleteness in design (especially in your own home) can feel like a constant struggle. This design couple, however, embraces that nagging feeling of your space never really being “done”, and utilizes it as an opportunity for creativity and innovation. Their company, Pieces is not just another interior home goods company with a mission to deliver great design. With a surprisingly small team of people (only 3!) from all different backgrounds and expertise coming together, Pieces attempts to change how we think about great design, how to deliver it, and who it is for. Pieces was born out of a need for something that did not exist at the time in the home goods market, which is evident in its bold, unique, and playful color combinations that are customizable to fit virtually any aesthetic.
The founder and creative mind behind Pieces, Jenny Kaplan, previously worked in visual merchandising before starting An Aesthetic Pursuit, a full-service creative agency and lifestyling service. Out of this grew the need for more individualistic and personal home goods to incorporate into her clients lives that felt special. Her and her husband, Chris (who also happens to have a passion for furniture & interiors), started designing and creating the first product prototypes for what would later become Pieces.
By using their own home, a tasteful but undeniable bachelor-pad turned colorful feminine oasis, as a new product testing ground, it is truly the perfect place to get a taste of what makes Pieces so special. We pay a visit to their beautiful home in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and chat about what it’s like owning and maintaining a home goods business in NYC. Read on below!
Photography by Lindsey Swedick.
Please tell us a little about yourselves and Aesthetic Pursuit/Pieces.
Pieces is a home design product line founded by my Brooklyn-based creative agency, An Aesthetic Pursuit. The line is designed and operated by my husband Chris Corrado, our best friend Taisha Coombs, and me. As a group we use decades of design and production experience from various industries to rethink how we approach, deliver, and live with great design.
What inspired you to start your own business? What is your background in home design?
I have a background in visual merchandising, which eventually lead to doing interior design and launching An Aesthetic Pursuit. After spending lots of time sourcing for clients and not finding exactly what they wanted for projects, I started designing custom pieces for clients with my husband Chris. Chris also always had a strong interest in interiors and furniture. It made sense after a couple years of designing pieces here and there for clients to start a proper product design line. That is when Pieces came to fruition.
You mention that your own home was your first real home design project. What were some of the challenges in doing so and where did you draw inspiration for this space?
I moved into Chris’ apartment 6 years ago and although it was designed very well, it had a masculine vibe. We took it as an opportunity to blend our separate collections, and to start building a combined style of our own. Our home has become our testing ground for Pieces. Many of our ideas are derived from needs we have in our own space. As we evolve our style, it’s our own space where we experiment first.
What direction do you hope Pieces goes in the next few years?
We have a lot of ideas for our design business, from new collections, to events, to experiential retail. It’s all happening. You’ll have to just wait and see!
What’s the biggest piece of advice for someone designing their dream space for the first time?
Enjoy the experience and don’t rush it. It takes time to find a flow to work new items or ideas that you truly love into a space. You have to also accept that your space is really never “done”. Pursuing a finish isn’t really the point. Its best to be open about things always changing. Designing your space is like exercise, you can’t ever stop, it just has to be a part of your lifestyle.
What’s your current Pieces product crush?
From our first collection we really fell in love with our Cobble Beige terrazzo surface. We offer it in our Frame series side and coffee tables, our Float series side tables, and our Flux series dining tables. The terrazzo surface is really special. It can be used in an understated way to add a little fun texture to a corner of the room or it’s strong enough to be used as the centerpiece. In any way you use it the Cobble Beige terrazzo elicits reactions from people who see it.
What is it like being a small business owner in NYC?
Running a business in NYC is a double-edged sword. The possibilities are limitless. You’re surrounded by inspiration and opportunity everywhere you look. All that being said, NYC is a grind that can take its toll. It’s also one of the most expensive places in the world to run a business. We do our best to not get caught up in the rat race of NYC. If you’re not careful work can take over all of your waking hours. Sometimes even when you’re asleep! We work hard to segment our personal and professional lives but it’s not easy.
Top 5 places to visit in NYC?