As a journalist and blogger I’m lucky enough to get to meet and interview some of the most creative women around. I was invited to attend a lecture ‘Designing for Small Urban Spaces’ at the V & A museum during London Design Week 2016. One of the elite design panel was the vivacious and entertaining Ruth Wassermann, Head of Design at Made.com. It was a great opportunity to find out a bit more about her…..
What’s the first thing you designed?
I originally thought I wanted to be an archaeologist until I realised it was much more interesting actually making things instead of trying to excavate them.
One of the first things I designed was a perspex and wooden letter rack. My mother still uses it today. And a triangular side table that was covered in vogue adverts that I was pretty pleased with at the time.
I’m from a very creative family. I love live music and I try go as often as I can. I live just outside London with my husband and son, Ernest, who is growing up to love music just like his dad who works in the business.
How does the design process work?
We don’t sketch half as much as generations of designers before us. We prefer to use CAD technology especially digital pin-boarding – it’s a great way to share creative ideas, especially at the start of designing a new piece. When I’m working on a new design I shut myself away and start madly pinning. We use shared boards to whittle our ideas into more defined briefs. The design process itself is very collaborative involving the entire design team.
To come up with a successful new piece it’s important to make sure there is a synergy between what we are creating and how it is communicated on the web site. I try hard to keep up with other teams within the business. The entire process can be incredibly quick. We can go from design to market in 8-12 weeks if we have to but more often we work to a schedule of about 12 months.
We have a great buying team at Made who give us a strong commercial direction to our design projects. We start off by suggesting crazy things and end up meeting somewhere in the middle.
We plan our collection every six months but launch at least two collections per week.
When and where are you at your at most creative?
I come up with my best ideas when I’m walking or cycling, especially when I am trying to think strategically. In terms of sitting down and designing with pencil and paper, it doesn’t happen enough for my liking but I find that numerous cups of coffee help.
What’s your favourite design you’ve created at Made?
I am particularly pleased with the weber rug. I have worked in furniture for over a decade and so it’s really nice to branch into something else, with more pattern and colour.
One key piece of furniture to invest in?
A sofa creates the backdrop to a room. I’d always recommend spending money on one you really love and investing in one that is uber comfortable is a must.
How do you switch off and relax?
It’s impossible to be caught up in work worries when I’m running around looking after my son, Ernest. My weekends whilst exhausting are completely work free.
Thanks to Ruth Wassermann for her family pictures and sharing her thoughts with me. Hope you enjoyed it. Keep an eye out for my next SmithHomeStyle Designer Profile.