Esther Müller-Schmidt is a woman on a mission. Following her pivot from IT to interiors, Esther has really honed in on her craft and made a name for herself in the industry. Whilst leaving a lucrative career in IT would be hard for anyone, Esther felt a real desire to follow her passion and has never looked back since.
Here, we chat to Esther about her plans for the brand, juggling life and career and what 2020 looks like for her…
Tell us about the journey that led you to launch your own brand?
Already as a young girl, I discovered my affinity towards textiles. At the age of 11, I was learning the basics on my mother’s sewing machine, and soon, I was creating my first interior and fashion items. With the years, I complimented my talent and sense of aesthetics with solid interior design training. Permanent presence at international design fairs and fashion shows keep inspiring my creativity. Apart from my evolution as an interior designer, I completed economic and language studies and worked for several years in the IT industry. Today, I solely focus on my passion for interiors.
You take inspiration from your African roots, can you tell us more about your heritage and life growing up?
Despite my completely German imprint and culture, I have always been interested in everything international and studiedEnglish, Spanish & French as foreign languages, as well as international business administration. After a career in the IT industry, my first daughter was born. But with my extraordinary interest in interiors and textiles, I went back to my passion, and as a result of that, somewhat accidentally, to conventional fashion wax printing materials. Very quickly, I decided to work with the Dutch textile company VLISCO. A textile giant for over 165 years, with an unbelievably large production volume for the most luxurious and high-quality wax print fabrics in the world! However, its primary market is West Africa, ours is Europe.
How did you pivot from working in IT to have your own interiors brand?
After having worked in the IT industry for big players such as IBM for more than 10 years, having previously worked for big companies such as L’Oréal, Renault, Mercedes and many more while studying business administration, having supported countless exciting VIP supports in my 4 years as an EXPO2000 ambassador, as well as major music bands such as the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen and many more, it was my turn to start the family. At the age of 30, I had my first beautiful daughter, soon after, my second. After that, it became clear to me that I wanted to pursue my textile passion.
Describe your ideal client…
There are, of course, different ideal clients and business partners! On the one hand, the selective project customers who equip restaurants, hotels, or luxury holiday homes. In addition, there are enthusiastic end customers, who show an enormous enthusiasm for very specific designs. Then, there are our business partnerships with interior stylists & set stylists, who repeatedly place our FASHION PILLOWS in very creative photoshoots and productions. Europe’s largest interior fair “Maison & Objet Paris” is something very special for me personally, as I was already obsessed with the dream of doing something professional in Paris as a teenager. My stepfather had been often at the fair, and that’s why I also wanted exactly THAT! My dream has really come true! Our interior label was one of the most clicked online brands presented by the “Maison & Objet” Paris, whereby we were presented with the popular FASHION PILLOWS at a very large exhibition stand together with other interior labels, right at the main entrance area. What a dream, crazy!!
With three daughters and a husband, how do you create a work-life balance?
With my three girls, they are now 12, nearly 10 and 2 years old, it’s a real rush hour. With my business experience, my natural talent for organisation, which basically stems from the desire for simplification, I even manage to find time for myself by strictly planning family, work, child and couple time. I then travel, or just meet friends, take time out at thehotel, etc. My husband has been so successful for 30 years with his hip-hop band “Die fantastischen Vier” that he, despitebeing a 5-time judge of “The Voice of Germany”, with several tours, TV engagements and advertising deals, still manages to pursue his passion of racing cars on the legendary Nordschleife at the Nürburgring, as well as private aviation. As you can see, our life is very turbulent, and this can only be managed with planning and steady nerves because our 3 girls always!! come first for us.
To date, what has been your biggest achievement?
Definitely the success at the Maison & Objet Paris! But also numerous appearances in interior magazines AND the great feeling of having sold out the first collection immediately after the presentation phase. Of course, we still have the patterns from the collection, which we lend exclusively for styling productions. These are very precious to us!
Working exclusively on your passion for interiors, what do you like to do to switch off from work?
I enjoy the smile of my children and holding their faces in my hands, spending time alone with my husband, eating cheese fondue every week and drinking exclusive wines, partyingwith friends. In that order..!
What does 2020 look like for you?
For me personally, it is always wonderful to have a new year! I love new things! Every beginning of the year is like a pardon. I feel like I can just rate everything once more and decide. I can also leave the old and anything heavy behind and try to remember all the gifts of life.
Looking back, is there anything you would do differently?
Oh, yes, of course! This is very easy! I say it with the words of my very loving grandma from northern Germany, “Estherchen, enjoy your life, enjoy it!” And that concerns above all, the little joys and moments! So, of course, enjoy everything even more, even in the job! Everything else often results from this!
For the private interior sector, I always recommend omitting as much as possible, to stay in a neutral colour world and then to style according to taste with usual accessories such as pillows, decorative objects, etc. The pillow can thus, for example, become very much a focal point. “FASHION PILLOWS – as a character of the room”!