Even when just fresh out of college and living in a studio in downtown San Francisco, designers Rachel Gant and Andrew Deming had a clear mission from early on: to spread a standard of design that celebrates both art and utility. The duo did just that when they founded YIELD in late 2012, a multi-disciplinary design studio that marries a streamlined aesthetic with artistry and sustainability, creating fresh products that range from jewelry to furniture.
That's right: they make it all. But what makes YIELD especially unique, and successful with both their ETSY and ecommerce shop, is the unparalleled craft behind each individual product. From amber tumblers made from borosilicate glass to vegetable tanned leather sling backpacks, the St. Augustine, Florida-based studio handcrafts every item, conscious in creating little to no waste, with the intention that their products be the kind you buy for keeps. This is no easy feat but Gant and Deming offer some insight into how it's done: "We knew from the beginning that we wanted YIELD to be a brand with many types of products, defined more by our values and a way of life than by any specific product. Our approach to determining what products we produce has been pretty simple: what do we want for ourselves?" Gant says.
We chatted with Gant and Deming about their best sellers (check out their Ceramic French Press, which they designed when they were unable to find a version they'd be happy to leave on their counter, so you know, made one themselves), fresh movements in design, and which pieces you'll find in their own home.
Apartment Therapy: What is the best-selling item in your ETSY shop?
Yield: The Photo bar. It's a magnetic wall hanging photo display. I think people love to have an elegant and flexible solution that allows them to hang many sizes/quantities of prints with little effort.
AT: How about a bread-and-butter product?
Y: Our collection of French presses have really taken off. The refined but hand-touched form seems to strike a chord with many audiences.
AT: What's something that people don't think about in your line of work?
Y: I think from the outside, there's often more focus on the design of a product and less awareness of the challenging work that goes into manufacturing, operations and logistics. That's where the real heart of the business lies. It's an amazing thing to produce a beautiful one-off ceramic piece, but an entirely different challenge to scale up a manufacturing operation and maintain quality and integrity across a whole product line.
AT: Does living and working in St. Augustine inform your designs and approach?
Y: When it comes to living in St. Augustine, I'm sure the tropical climate, the small town feel and Spanish architecture all serve as inspiration in one form or another. We've also noticed that our location has an impact because we are not specifically tied into any design scene like you might have in Brooklyn or elsewhere. We are literally off an island and just making what we want to make.
AT: What items do you use most often in your own home?
Y: Our Spun planters & stands really do have a large presence in our home. There's one in almost every room. At some point or another, we've used pretty much everything at home. It's important to live with your work to understand how it functions and how you can improve it. Currently we have multiple Duotone coffee tables, and use our Double-Wall glasses daily.
AT: What feels fresh to you right now in the landscape of design?
Y: The addition of more texture and fluidity to a minimalist foundation. The art and design communities have been deep in a minimalist movement for some time now, and the latest direction has been upending the sterility that it can sometimes possess. Using minimalism as a basic structure while experimenting more with the final materials and forms allows more maximalist-leaning concepts to have room to breathe, letting the beauty within the chaos to shine.
AT: What celebrity would you like most to buy one of your products?
Y: I'd like to see Stephen Colbert using our product on his show, as long as it doesn't turn into one of those GOOP parody segments.
Click through the below gallery to see some of our favorite pieces from YIELD!