The creative process can be sparked by anything from travel to clothing, and for Lori Weitzner, founder of Weitzner Limited, this is something to live by. Years of travel to places like India and Italy have influenced her textile designs, and today she’s proud to have created several successful product lines—each with a completely unique approach to texture, color and pattern.
Over the years, Lori’s products have been used by celebrities like Julianne Moore, Will Ferrell and even Beyoncé, as well as in public spaces like Google’s headquarters in New York City. She credits this success to the multifaceted appeal of her work. Touch, texture, function and so much more are all incorporated into each design, and it’s this attention to detail that’s taken her so far in the design world. Art majors: you may want to take notes on this one. Read on to find out how to get out of a creative rut and put that painting degree to good use!
How did you get your start in the design industry? Tell us your story.
I was a painting major while in school and my professor asked me what I was going to do to make a living. I said “paint,” and he said, “but what will you do to make a living?” That was when I changed my major to Textile Design. I have never looked back! It is a combination, in a way, between painting and architecture—and perhaps poetry!
Throughout your travels, which cities, countries and aesthetics have inspired you the most?
Hard question! All of them. Really. But if you had to make me select one, I would probably have to say India.
Tell us about your experience freelancing for the likes of Missoni in Milan.
Incredibly creative and inspirational, but also very lonely. I did not know anyone and did not speak the language. So, I worked all day and walked alone exploring at night. It was a life-building experience. I felt like I was the caterpillar becoming the butterfly during that period in my life.
How did you go about starting your business, Weitzner Limited? Did you face any challenges or setbacks?
I had this idea that the world needed something more innovative for walls. I floated the idea around and no one at the time seemed interested, so I went to the bank and got a revolving credit loan of $100,000! I started Weitzner on that! I am very proud. There have been many challenges along the way, but I would do it again.
Why do you think your products have such wide reach and mass appeal?
They speak to the soul. They are not just pretty, they excite all the senses. They are tactile and dimensional and thoughtful. That is, at least, what we try to do.
Where did you find the inspiration for product lines like Vernissage and Nature Redefined?
Everywhere and all things. But to name a few: nature, jewelry, architecture, handwriting, artifacts, mentors, children (mine especially), Paul Klee, universal symbols, light.
What do you do to get out of a creative rut?
I take a ZIG ZAG Day. This is where I have no cell phone or place I have to be, and I just go walk about. It’s very cleansing.
What do you think is next for the design world? What trends are on the horizon?
Smart products, meaning products that go beyond being pretty—that actually have an important function. Combining warmth with innovation. Touch, touch, touch. Things that can be individualized and unique.
What tips do you have for young creatives trying to navigate their way through the design world?
Go for what you want, not what you think is possible.
What’s next for you?
I am launching a book published by HarperCollins, which is coming out in October 2016. It is a kind of autobiography through color. I am very excited.