In 2008 when we started as a wallpaper company someone said to me, “Wallpaper? Do people still use wallpaper?” It was the beginning of the recession, and there were far fewer boutique wallpaper companies than today. I remember Wendy Goodman’s first words of encouragement during the 2009 Brooklyn Designs show, I remember selling my first ever swatch set (Thanks Bella!), and I remember our first wallpaper order from Reshma Patel of Think PR who ended up representing Eskayel for the next 7 years. It was all such uncharted territory so all of these events seemed monumental.
Over time it was inevitable that we would expand the line from wallpaper to fabrics and rugs. This enabled the patterns to be used in new ways and opened up more possibilities for me creatively. Through amazing collaborations with ABC Home and Doris Leslie Blau, Eskayel gained a new level of exposure, which we are forever grateful for. Since then we’ve gone on to designing and producing our own rugs in house, as well as moving beyond printed fabrics to wovens.
We have been fortunate to collaborate with many amazing brands such as Cle’ Tile, Threads of Life, Dane Co, Chairloom, Anthropologie, Indego Africa, and Shutters on the beach to name a few. Beginning in 2014 , Eskayel Joined One Percent For The Planet and has since donated over 50,000$ to Surfrider foundation, Sea Shepherd, Mission Blue, Vital Action, Union of concerned Scientists, 5 gyres, and Greenpeace, in an effort to help fund organizations which are striving to tackle the dire environmental crisis effecting our planet and oceans.
Over the past two years, we’ve hit a number of other milestones including opening our flagship showroom, winning an ID mag Best of year award, and having our Eskayel filled apartment featured in both T Magazine and the Covetuer in the same month!
However, 2018 was actually one of the most difficult years since we started this journey. Towards the end of 2017, I felt a shift coming –I felt like all of the momentum of the last ten years needed to pause, and for the first time since the beginning of owning a business that I just didn’t know what to do. This uncertainty was frightening, and stressful in a new way that I hadn’t yet experienced. On top of this, I had just let someone go for the first time which left a big hole in our team, just as we were gearing up for one of the busiest trade show, travel, and production schedules to date. By the beginning of summer, just as things began settle down, our dog Kaya suddenly became ill and was extremely close to death for almost a week. Luckily she pulled through and is still with us. During her long and drawn out recovery we were able to take some time and focus to re-align many things in the company that required attention. We spent the rest of year re-working our website, sales systems, and many other administrative non-creative boring aspects of the business. This time also allowed me to focus more attention on strengthening my connection with our team.
One of the most unexpected and greatest pleasures of running Eskayel has been working with such an amazing team. Managing people well has been a personal goal of mine and over time as my team has grown I’ve come to realize that if I share my own values with my employees and offer a nurturing work environment, our collective experience working together can be truly special.
In many interviews I have been asked to give advice to other creatives or small business owners, to describe the most important things I have learned or the most important decisions I have made, how did I start, how did I build the company, milestones, setbacks, lessons, pearls of wisdom etc. but only one answer ever really comes to mind. That answer is to be true to yourself and listen to what your business is telling you.
The hard part is knowing how to listen, while trusting that you are on your unique path. Learning this is different for everyone. For me, it is deeply spiritual. The more my spiritual practice deepens (through meditation, yoga, and other modalities) the more connected I become to the instinct that drives all of my work. Many of the biggest mistakes I have made over the years came with that twinge of knowing things just weren’t right – oh if only I had listened to my gut! But after ten years in business I am proud to say Eskayel is not just about numbers, or success, or money, or fame, but about remaining true to an intuitive style of working and creating, to offer ways that people can bring beauty into their homes.
A client just gave us the gift of an astrological reading for the 10 year anniversary of the company. It said that as long as Eskayel follows an intuitive path of creating beautiful things, people will be drawn to it. For me Eskayel has always been intuitive and I find if I listen to the business rather than trying to push it in a specific direction it just flows to where it needs to be. Even during a difficult year like 2018 we were preparing ourselves for the next decade to come. I am super excited for where this journey with Eskayel will take us. I’m excited to spend next year renovating our first home and spending as much time here with our dog (and Eskayel’s best model) Kaya as possible. I am so grateful to my amazing team that worked so incredibly hard this year and most of all so grateful to you, our clients for following along all these years!
Wishing you a cosmic new year and decade to come!
Creative Director, Founder