• Sun. Jul 3rd, 2022

Amy Pastre and Courtney Rowson on 13 years of operating a studio and the place they consider design is heading subsequent

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Headquartered in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, the Sew Design Co. has been a real ardour undertaking for longtime buddies Amy Pastre and Courtney Rowson. Just lately named the Greatest Small Agency in america by HOW Journal, it is behind recent identities for Parchie – a vibrant analogue watch model created by Cara Barrett – Kudos, a sustainable all-natural diaper model created by feminine MIT graduates, and Reese Witherspoon’s life-style model, Draper James.

It has been 13 years since Amy and Courtney launched their studio. We wished to study extra about how they constructed their enterprise and survived a worldwide recession and pandemic, whether or not they really feel the design trade has modified – for higher or worse – and what they really feel is in retailer for designers subsequent.

It has been 13 years because you launched SDCO. Did the worldwide financial disaster spur you to begin your company?

Courtney: We began the enterprise for causes unrelated to the 2008 downturn. The timing was proper for each of us. Profession-wise, we had been able to make the subsequent transfer. Charleston is a small metropolis, and 13 years in the past, it was even smaller. We would had nice experiences working for businesses in Charleston and different cities. Nonetheless, we felt that to advance creatively, beginning our personal enterprise was the subsequent logical step.

Amy: Although it wasn’t logical to begin in the midst of an financial disaster, we knew that we might be positioned for fulfillment if we may make it in that market. We began lean and cautiously optimistic and nonetheless function that method at this time.

LeCreuset © SDCO Partners

LeCreuset © SDCO Companions

Wheelies © SDCO Partners

Wheelies © SDCO Partners

Wheelies © SDCO Companions

Rosebud © SDCO Partners

Rosebud © SDCO Partners

Rosebud © SDCO Companions

How did the pandemic evaluate to 2009 for you? Had been there any similarities?

Amy: The pandemic was completely different largely as a result of we had been a longtime firm versus simply beginning. We instinctively know the right way to be environment friendly and simplify our spending to guard our group and their jobs. We had been additionally lucky to have constructed a various vary of shoppers over time, so whereas shoppers in some industries needed to pause, others accelerated due to the excessive demand for his or her services or products.

You continued to thrive in the course of the pandemic. Did the teachings of 2008/09 put together you for the shock?

Courtney: If we realized something from the early years at SDCO, it is cautious optimism and a willingness to pivot. We’re lucky to have a resilient group, they usually rapidly adjusted to the quickly altering world and work atmosphere. The pandemic compelled us to consider our office, processes, and relationships in new methods. It additionally opened up a considerate dialog about what we want as individuals and creatives to proceed nurturing {our relationships}, feeling impressed, and thriving.

Does being a female-founded company ever have any adverse response?

Courtney: Some of the stunning issues I’ve realized since launching SDCO is the shortage of ladies management positions in our trade. Whereas being a female-founded firm actually has challenges, now we have chosen to see it as a possibility to set an instance for different females in our subject. Many purchasers choose our agency as a result of we’re female-led, they usually really feel an actual connection to our story. The identical holds true for potential workers who resonate with our work and the chance to be a part of a female-founded and led group. In some small method, we hope we are able to advocate and help different ladies within the trade.

At SDCO Partners. Photography by Julia Lynn

At SDCO Partners. Photography by Julia Lynn

At SDCO Companions. Images by Julia Lynn

Courtney Rowson at SDCO Partners. Photography by Julia Lynn

Courtney Rowson at SDCO Partners. Photography by Julia Lynn

Courtney Rowson at SDCO Companions. Images by Julia Lynn

What do you each carry to the desk?

Amy: We each carry a excessive degree of thought and consideration to our tasks. We care in regards to the particulars and push ourselves to create holistic options that actually mirror the consumer and model. Courtney has an unimaginable capability for meticulously researching an thought and looking for out the correct companion to assist us execute it.

Courtney: What’s made our partnership profitable is collaboration, mutual respect, belief, and the flexibility to utilise one another’s strengths. Our design aesthetic is complimentary, but we every carry completely different views to the dialog. Amy can mix unrelated issues in a method that feels evocative. She has a superb eye for textures and creating areas and types that really feel layered and nuanced.

How has the design trade modified in 13 years?

Amy: We’re working far more holistically than ever earlier than, which is extremely thrilling. It was once {that a} consumer would come to us for a brand or an internet site. Now, they arrive to us to assist create, information and translate their enterprise by way of design, technique, and story. I believe it is a shift within the trade as a complete and signifies a deeper understanding of branding and the depth it could actually carry to a product or buyer expertise. What we do is not a static answer however slightly a system of options – from web site animation and print to immersive interiors and merchandise.

What tendencies are you seeing in 2022?

Courtney: Whereas we see and admire tendencies, we do not focus our options round them. We work to create particular, significant, and impactful options to every undertaking. That mentioned, a lot of our shoppers are excited by sustainability, and we love having the chance to search out and create options which can be recyclable, renewable, or minimise environmental influence. Our consumer Faherty is a DTC sustainable clothes firm. They challenged us to create extra sustainable packaging and discover methods to translate the in-store expertise, which is all about partaking with and delighting the client – to the digital area. The answer – a sustainable, streamlined, multi-platform packaging system that, when launched, engaged the client and created these significant moments of connection that weren’t making an attempt to repeat the in-store expertise however slightly translate it to the way in which we predict and work together with manufacturers on-line.

Kudos © SDCO Partners

Kudos © SDCO Partners

Kudos © SDCO Companions

Mount Lai © SDCO Partners

Mount Lai © SDCO Partners

Mount Lai © SDCO Companions

Parchie © SDCO Partners

Parchie © SDCO Partners

Parchie © SDCO Companions

What have you ever learnt most about your self in operating an company?

Courtney: To stay open and receptive to new concepts and methods of doing issues. We’re at all times curious and try to study day by day from our group, companions, shoppers and one another. Nevertheless, operating an company requires extra than simply being a great designer.

Amy: It is a real-time/real-life MBA expertise. It has been a great reminder to encompass your self with individuals who encourage you and help your progress.

What have been the most important challenges?

Amy: Being a enterprise proprietor requires quite a lot of communication. And as a visible designer, it may be a problem to recollect to speak in ALL the methods.

Courtney: We make deliberate selections about our progress. Whereas it is vital to us to nurture wholesome progress, we additionally need to keep a group that is sufficiently small for us to stay near the artistic course of and provoking conversations.

And the most important surprises?

Amy: That we at the moment are a group of 16 individuals. Whereas that progress has been very intentional, it has additionally been gradual, natural, and developed. We’ve grown when the wants of our shoppers have referred to as us to take action.

Whereas it is vital to us to nurture wholesome progress, we additionally need to keep a group that is sufficiently small for us to stay near the artistic course of and provoking conversations.

Brightland © SDCO Partners

Brightland © SDCO Partners

Brightland © SDCO Companions

Palermo © SDCO Partners

Palermo © SDCO Partners

Palermo © SDCO Companions

Are you able to discuss us by way of Brightland? What excited you about that undertaking?

Courtney: Brightland was one of many first DTC packaging tasks our studio helped think about and launch. After a deep dive into the olive oil trade, we noticed the potential for altering the visible notion of olive oil packaging and reworking it right into a visually pushed system that speaks to emotion. Our major aim was to design a model and packaging system that complemented the power and purity of Brightland’s olive oils with a design that was daring and fascinating to the buyer.

Brightland got down to remake the American olive oil and vinegar industries with reality and transparency, and we had been excited to be part of that disruption. Because the model continues to develop and evolve, we’re impressed by the problem to introduce new, compelling methods to inform its story.

The place do you see the design trade heading?

Courtney: Experiential design and integrative branding. Creating areas and experiences that really feel transformative, emotionally compelling, and related to a model’s story and objective. Introducing new methods for individuals to interact with manufacturers. Making design an more and more sustainable trade. Balancing the digital expertise with the in-person expertise. It is an extremely thrilling time to be a designer.

Yebo © SDCO Partners

Yebo © SDCO Partners

Yebo © SDCO Companions

Citra Brut © SDCO Partners

Citra Brut © SDCO Partners

Citra Brut © SDCO Companions

What recommendation are you able to give college leavers or graduates hoping to work at SDCO?

Courtney: Have a viewpoint! We try to create an atmosphere that honours every individual’s distinctive expression and expertise as a result of that is the area the place our particular person and collective expertise can develop.

Amy: Be curious. Ask plenty of questions. Be open to and make the most of the alternatives that come your method. By exploring avenues that really feel new or uncomfortable, you begin to perceive what points of design excite you most.

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