About this presentation
Jonathan Adler is now synonymous with the irreverent designs — pottery, housewares, furniture and beyond — that he sells around the world, but it all started with a college professor who didn’t believe in him. After receiving discouraging feedback about his ambitions to be a potter, Adler wandered around New York City doing odd jobs that usually ended with him getting fired.
After some soul-searching, Adler returned to his true love, pottery, and learned the value of ignoring the expectations of others and following your dream. Here, he injects his trademark wit while sharing how he found his underlying message of “irreverent luxury” as his business evolved from pottery to pillows to rooms.
Adler preaches that we should keep other people’s opinions out of our creative process and attributes his success to his disdain of focus groups and feedback.
0:51 – “I’ve done everything ass-backwards in my life.”
1:21 – How he got his start. “I always wanted to be a potter”
2:29 – His first job at a talent agency. “I was absolutely unemployable”
4:08 – His start as a potter, and why he wanted to do it differently. “My greatest hope was that I could hawk my wares outside a rainsoaked craft fair”
5:45 – “I wanted to make pots that were groovy and graphic and spoke to my heart”
6:40 – Have a “F*** it” attitude. Follow your heart completely.
8:50 – Don’t just make a statement and refine it. Don’t be hemmed in by your “brand.”
9:47 – Making Pillows (and other well-crafted work).
11:13 – …and then he figured out his brand.
11:55 – Understand the underlining message of what you are trying to communicate throughout all of your work.
13:41 – Why not make rooms?
15:20 – “I loathe other people’s opinions and I hate focus groups.”
17:20 – The anti-focus group he uses to judge his work.
About Jonathan Adler
Seventeen years ago, a little-known potter named Jonathan Adler was thrilled to receive his first order from Barneys New York. He couldn’t have dreamed that today, in 2012, he would lead an international design company offering decorative accessories, tabletop collections, bedding, furniture, rugs, pillows, lighting, and fabrics, all featuring Jonathan’s signature Modernist forms, bold colors and groovy graphics. Jonathan is obsessed with creating beautiful design mixed with impeccable craftsmanship. His motto is “If your heirs won’t fight over it, we won’t make it.”