By Tina Jepsen
Since founding her own design company in the 1990s, Argentia-native Andrea Guardiola has played a significant role in shaping the furniture and decor industry. Over the years, she’s owned her own business and helped manage the designs and offerings of some of the most prominent boutique and mainstream furniture manufacturers in the world.
As a prominent product designer and curator, Andrea shapes trends for Zuo Modern and influences others in the industry.
In this special interview with Andrea, House Tipster learned more about what fueled her desire to be a designer, and what inspires her lively creations with Zuo Decor.
House Tipster: Andrea, you didn't begin your career in design. Tell us about what inspired you to start your own business, Natural World, in Argentina.
Andrea: From a very young age I knew had an interest in design and fashion. In my first opportunity in retail, I began working for a boutique gift store where I was able to learn the trade business and begin to design and merchandise décor products. The very first week, I shared with my dad that we should open our own store and sell décor.
Through hard work and determination; combined with a passion for home décor; I have spent two decades learning the décor business while expanding my knowledge and experience.
House Tipster: You eventually began designing products for your business. What did you specialize in?
Andrea: In the beginning, we specialized in textiles. We designed and manufactured custom pillows, accents rugs, and some toys like organic fabric dolls.
House Tipster: What brought you to the US?
Andrea: Working in Argentina, I followed American fashion and interiors, which lead me to have a passion for the design world outside of South America. I also wanted to push myself and I was ready for a change of scenery, so I decided to look for opportunities in the US.
House Tipster: What drew you to Zuo Modern?
Andrea: CEO Luis Ruesga reached out to me, and talked with me about ZUO’s history of designing modern furnishings. We talked about the industry as a whole, and how the home accents category is evolving and growing within our industry. He asked if I would be interested in developing a line of home accents and accessories for ZUO.
Having worked in the home décor business in the US for the last five years, I felt this was the right time for me to develop my own collection, and ZUO Décor’s Division was born.
House Tipster: Can you characterize your designs? What makes your designs stand out from the rest?
Andrea: My passion is the Décor and Accessories Industry - I have learned that the home décor industry is not only vast, but changes with each season. I bring with me experience and a buying history that spans two decades.
Combining my own individual style and personality, I create our ZUO Decor products with inspirations I find in fashion, interiors, and the world around us. Constantly monitoring and analyzing the trends in furniture and fashion helps me design and create unique, one-of-a-kind products that bring a wide variety of styles. They help our customers tell their own personal design story.
House Tipster: What inspires you to create?
Andrea: I’m inspired by anything and everything that surrounds me.
I look for inspiration in fashion, fabrics & textiles, different cultures and their traditions, tv, art, and movies. Visiting trade shows, museums, art exhibits, and productions also inspire me. I never know where I will find the next inspirational design or pattern. I carry a notebook with me and am constantly sketching and creating.
House Tipster: Out of all your work, is there a certain design project that stands out?
Andrea: I can’t choose one collection because I like them all. I would say that I’m very proud of what we have presented in Zuo Décor in its first year: 3000 + products since I came on board with ZUO Feb 2017. It’s been a wonderful and exciting ride!
But none of our accomplishments would have been possible without our great team. From our visual and marketing teams, operations, reps, customer service, and warehouse guys-- we are a family.
House Tipster: What can we expect to see from you in the upcoming year? Are there any trends you anticipate in 2019 and beyond?
Andrea: I am very excited about the new collections we are developing for ZUO Décor for 2019. Without giving away all our secrets, I can share that there will be even more bold colors, including more organic materials with a blending of classic design elements with innovative textures.
You will just have wait and see. Or, come and visit us at the 20+ shows we exhibit at each year. We would love to show you around our showrooms and have you tell us what you think of our collections.
We do not doubt that Andrea’s colorful designs will continue to grace the shelves of retailers across the country and influence future designs from other industry manufacturers.
Be on the lookout for seasonal unveilings of new product from Andrea’s Zuo Decor department, particularly at trade shows like High Point and Las Vegas Market. Up
Next: Andrea will participate as a panelist at the High Point Market discussion, “How to Adapt to a Changing Industry” on Monday, October 15th, 2018 11-12:30 pm.
Thank you, Andrea. We’re looking forward to seeing you at HPMKT.