Monday, May 10, 2010

Behind the Design - The Harbinger Company

Good morning everyone.  I hope you all had a wonderful weekend.  Ours was amazing, and included the addition of a new baby - our friends welcomed their new son into the world early Saturday morning, he is absolutely perfect!!  Congrats Meg and Ryan!! 

This week's Behind the Design features Yvonne from The Harbinger Company.  Yvonne's work is absolutely beautiful, I don't think there is a single piece from her collection that I don't love! 

Where does your inspiration come from?
I am easily inspired by things I find interesting or things I can make better. I love patterns of all sorts, so most of my jewelry and boxes so far are inspired by patterns in nature, architecture, geometry, etc.  I also love maps of all sorts, even before I was an urban planner. I am also inspired by artists and designers such as Mel Kadel, Shepard Fairey, David Ellis, Ryan McGinness, Jason Munn, BLU, Ghada Amer, and so many more. I also love ethnic patterns and textiles. I am also inspired by impactful design that helps improve lives and does more than look pretty.

Do you have a spot you like to go that helps you feel creative?
I find being alone helps me be more creative. I usually work at my desk in my bedroom and play a little relaxing music on the computer.

Where do you do most of your work?
I turned my kitchen into a studio, so I do the more heavy duty work there, such as sanding wood pieces, sewing, and painting. Otherwise, I like working in my room where I can watch TV or movies on the computer while I make things.

How did you come up with the name for your business?
Finding a business name is extremely difficult. I spent about a year before I decided on The Harbinger Company. I learned the word "harbinger" in freshman year of high school in an English class. The word really stuck with me. I knew I didn't want to use my own name because it doesn't have a ring (Yvonne Hung). I liked how "harbinger" was forward looking, a real word that not many people knew the definition of, and sounded both Chinese and English at the same time. I like how "The Harbinger Company" sounds like it's from classic literature and has a weight to it.

Your favorite thing to make?
I love making lots of things. Although The Harbinger Company sells lasercut bamboo jewelry and wooden boxes, I actually make a lot of other things not for sale...yet. I love painting, drawing, and mixed media art. I love graphic design, which I did a lot of as an urban planner/designer. I also make handbags, even though I'm scared of the sewing machine, but I love the finished product.

What is your all time favorite design from past or current collections?
This is a hard question. I am currently obsessed with these cork and leather bags I made by hand. I'm considering selling them to the public this year, but not sure it's worth the investment yet.

You couldn't run your business without __________?
My sister Ginny, who's been extremely supportive and proactive with helping me do the marketing, sales, and modeling. Also my computer, since online sales is a huge part of my business.

What advice do you wish someone had given you when you first started your business?
Don't underprice yourself! And leave a price margin for wholesaling. You don't have to work with retailers you don't think would fit your ideal market.

Coffee of tea?

Favorite magazine/blog/daily read?
Notcot, Notcouture, Svpply, Designmilk, Fecal Face, Business Week, Good Magazine.

Do you have any hobbies or creative outlets other than your work?
I have a never ending list of projects: paintings, handbags, lampshades, doors. I think I can integrate these with The Harbinger Company in one way or another in the future.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, money and time being no object, where would you go and why?
I'd love to go places with rich ethnic folk art and textiles, such as Peru, Bali, Kenya, or Morocco. Places with a beach would be nice too since San Francisco is always colder than it seems.

If you had to spend a year on a deserted island, what 5 things would you take with you?
A good friend
An ax

Thank you Yvonne for participating in this week's Behind the Design.

Photos courtesy of Yvonne, The Harbinger Company.

Yvonne can be found at:

No comments: