After relocating from the City of Dreams to the Big Apple, Kate Reynolds nurtured her creative insight through interior design and textile consulting. Studio Four NYC, a textile design studio and showroom, is a product of Kate’s business aspiration and shrewd design skills. The studio guides clients through design projects by materializing each client’s idea into a custom textile, wallpaper or rug.
Kate, in partnership with Stacy Waggoner, founded Studio Four NYC in the summer of 2009. Kate and Stacy shared previous work experience in the sales department at AM Collections. A more corporate company purchased AM Collections and proceeded to move the business in a direction less appealing to Kate and Stacy. Upon transitioning into the business world as partners, they discovered a void for smaller artists in New York. When they attended the International Contemporary Furniture Fair in May 2009, the two were introduced to many more textile artists from other countries who were looking for New York showroom representation. “Our thought was to start bringing some of these lines into the New York market and just see what happens,” shares Kate, “and luckily for us, our design clients were excited about all of the new products we were introducing.”
One of Kate’s first Studio Four NYC memories is walking through the International Contemporary Furniture Fair, excited to find artists who would bring sensational talent to the NYC design market. “We didn’t even have proper business cards yet, so we scratched out the name of our former company on our old cards and wrote in Studio Four NYC … classy,” Kate recalls with a laugh. “Luckily some great people had faith in the two of us, and Studio Four NYC began!”
Kate and Stacy poured relentless time and effort into the Studio Four NYC start-up, establishing their sweat and financial equity. “We worked into the wee hours getting things up and going, but it was always fun and exciting,” Kate says. Celebrating a successful launch, they hosted a chic opening event for the studio. As the celebratory date approached, the water tower on the building broke a week shy of the party. “All of the water rushed out, and there was a waterfall pouring down the elevator shaft! You could open the door and see the water pouring down,” remembers Kate. Resilient when confronted with unexpected complications, Kate and Stacy managed to throw a festive bash amidst the water whirlwind.
Throughout the Studio Four NYC start-up project, Ann Temple, Kate’s mother, contributed to the business with hands-on advice and services. A Columbia interior designer, Ann fostered her daughter’s creativity and impacted Kate’s design career. Ann and Bobby, Kate’s father, bought four different Columbia homes to live in preceding Kate’s college career.
“My mom never wanted a house that ‘fit in’ or conformed to a traditional South Carolina home. I think every time my parents bought a new home people thought, ‘Wow! They’ve lost their minds buying that place.’ But then my mom and dad would collaborate to transform each house into the most amazing homes imaginable,” shares Kate. “My mom has never been afraid to be true to herself or her style.”
Kate implemented her parents’ individuality into her own New York endeavors. Studio Four NYC cultivates originality not only through innovative design techniques but also through their Studio Four Handwovens collection, an exclusive custom line of textiles developed and woven in the studio. Soraya Shah, the Studio Four NYC professional weaver, intermixes intriguing color combinations and patterns to create this special line. “Soraya is a skilled textile designer. I love her ability to think outside of the box — her mastery of color sharpens her design sense. If you have the opportunity to watch her work on the loom, you realize just how magical her ability is,” shares Kate.
A favorite fabric of Kate’s from Soraya’s designs is called Orbison Stripe. One of the first handwoven fabrics she designed for Studio Four NYC, the intricate textile is a stripe with about six varying shades of blue. “It’s calming and beautiful … I have it as a bed throw at home and adore it,” Kate exclaims.
Studio Four NYC works with interior designers and architects on custom projects, while also selling many retail products through their website and showroom. The studio sells fabrics, wallpaper and rugs and introduces global products to New York from the far distance of Bali and Istanbul to the close proximity of Brooklyn. Studio Four NYC focuses on collaborating with clients to custom design and manufacture original rugs and fabrics. “It is a very hands-on process, and we work with some of the most talented designers around the world — it is a complete luxury for me to get to work with such talented people and be a part of their design process,” Kate says.
Studio Four NYC maintains a constant buzz of interchanging textile and interior design ideas. The ever-evolving clientele and design projects create a diverse and exciting schedule for Kate. “There is no typical day at Studio Four NYC — every day is incredibly different, which is one of the reasons I love my job. Routine bores me,” says Kate. “My day is a mixture of meeting with vendors and clients, working on new product designs, discussing business strategies and addressing surprises that pop up.”
The occasional celebrity visitor perusing the showroom never fails to shake-up Kate’s schedule. “It is always a surprise to walk out of my office and see a famous figure like Marisa Tomei chatting with Soraya about a custom fabric,” Kate says.
The online component of Studio Four NYC addresses a different market of varying décor products, accessories and children’s items. “I am excited about the Studio Four NYC children’s items we’ve added to the online store. My mom always designed the most fabulous rooms for me as a child, and I love creating the design scheme for my boys’ rooms.”
Studio Four NYC continually implements expansion and improvement, including a recent construction that expanded the studio space to a different floor and a new addition of products crafted in the United Kingdom and Australia. “Starting Studio Four NYC has been one of the best decisions of my life,” says Kate. “I am continually challenged and excited with the endless possibilities.”
And the item she misses most from Cola Town? A Groucho’s STP Dipper!
What is your favorite Columbia restaurant?
I’ve always been a big fan of Mr. Friendly’s. I am also super excited for my friend Porter Barron’s restaurant to open on Franklin Street downtown this October. It is called War Mouth and they are going to specialize in local Midlands cuisine and freshwater fish.
What part of the city do you miss most?
I always liked to drive and walk around Shandon when I was living in Cola. My best friend lives there now so it’s still a favorite part.
What is your favorite location?
My in-laws’ back porch is a pretty unbeatable spot to sit and have a refreshing cocktail.
What is your favorite thing to do with your family in Columbia?
It sounds kind of boring but I’m pretty simple, sitting in the front or back yard and catching up is always fun and relaxing for me. NYC is so busy, and this activity is the opposite. I miss it.
Do you think you would ever move back?
My children would certainly be thrilled! They think S.C. is the equivalent of Disney World. Maybe one day.
What was your favorite thing about living in Columbia?
The friendly people!