Maker Monday: An ASPIRE Exclusive Interview With Ryan Schultz and Travis Nagle

How we furnish our homes reflects who we are as consumers, both in terms of aesthetics and the footprint we create when we buy furniture. Thanks to companies like Medley, who specialize in creating simple ways to purchase not only affordable but sustainable furnishings, our thought processes as consumers become more streamlined. Medley thrives on an ethos of listening to customers, creating tailor-made pieces, and serving quality craftsmanship. Who said we have to sacrifice style and comfort for eco-friendly products? Introducing this week’s dynamic duo Ryan Schultz and Travis Nagle, founders of Medley.

Medley’s main focus is to deliver products that are healthy for the environment and your home. They research and derive sustainable materials to allow you to have a non-toxic and eco-friendly space.

Andrew Joseph: Describe your design style as if you were explaining it to someone who cannot see.
Ryan Schultz: Very interesting question! I’d inherently turn to sound and touch. In your home, you typically don’t want your furniture making noise, so I’d look to remove this from the equation, leaning heavily on touch. Ideally, the materials we select feel comfortable and inviting, as well as substantial like they are supporting you. Our furniture should welcome you in and offer an enjoyable tactile experience as long as you’re in it.

Andrew Joseph: What is something you hope to see trending in design in the future?
Ryan: More heirloom consumer goods that are made with purpose, and a story. We don’t need more stuff out there, we need better-made objects in our lives that function and bring delight, and for a very long time.

You can find plenty of Medley furnishings made up of twine and jute, which holds together the frame lining. These premium materials set a high-standard and long term quality.

Andrew Joseph: If you weren’t a designer, you’d be a ….?
Ryan: Chef. I’m intrigued, and have a ton of respect, for people like Dan Barber and what he’s created with Blue Hill Farm. When you approach food as Dan does, diving all the way back into creating healthy soil, you have the ultimate respect and understanding of your medium. It opens things up creatively in a big way.

Andrew Joseph: What’s the weirdest thing a client has ever asked you?
Travis Nagle: If Ryan and I wanted to go to their wedding in New Zealand! We made a beautiful sectional for them with a Paul Smith stripe fabric and ended up connecting with them on a more personal level. We didn’t end up being able to go, but we were very flattered to be invited and it certainly was an unexpected opportunity.

All of Medley’s pieces are proudly handbuilt in Los Angeles, California. Since each furnishing is handmade, this provides a unique and one of a kind product for your home.

Andrew Joseph: What’s your design pet peeve?
Travis: I tend to be a minimalist, so I would say when something seems over-designed. I love a good embellishment or some personality, but I think design should have a perspective or intention and sometimes products can just have a sensibility where they are just trying to be loud. Also, I really don’t like brand names being prominently featured. Let the design do the talking!

Andrew Joseph: What would your dream project or dream client be right now?
Ryan: I’d love to see a boutique, eco-friendly lodging concept come through the pipeline, preferably off the beaten path with a connection to nature. I’d love to tailor an experience with the furniture that mirrored what the guests would be experiencing at the getaway, hopefully showing how even when indoors you can feel a connection to the outside.

Pictured here is the Kirnik Sofa. Ryan and Travis wanted to design a modern sustainable couch that minimized waste but did not sacrifice style.

Andrew Joseph: What are you most proud of?
Travis: Building a fast-growing and profitable company without any outside funding is something that seems more and more rare, but we’ve been able to do that with our focus on innovation and real consumer value. It’s very challenging because a lot of other brands have millions of dollars in funding these days, but it also forces us to run the business in a smart and impactful way because of limited resources.

Andrew Joseph: What’s inspiring you in life (in the industry) right now?
Travis: In the past 6 months I’ve been spending more time hiking and backpacking, so just getting more connected to nature has been great after years of living in more of an urban setting. It’s such a great reminder of how beautiful and durable natural materials can be in the wild, and how we need to continue to make efforts as a culture to protect it.

About The Maker | Behind Medley are two brothers, Travis and Ryan. The brothers grew up outside of Sacramento, California, in a hippie household that taught them to tread lightly. Back in the early eighties, they were the only family on the block with a solar-powered camper in the driveway. A few years after college, they entered the furniture business together, with their first showroom in their living room. The more they learned about how furniture usually gets made, the more they were sure that they wanted to make it the best way possible, with clean, eco-materials, local manufacturing, and an emphasis on quality and comfort. Since the brothers have been learning all that they can and trying to further the conversation on sustainability in the industry. Together, the brothers and co-founders want to change how an industry thinks about making furniture, and also change how people think about what goes into their homes.

Andrew Joseph is a regular contributing editor for ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME magazine. See more of his work here.

Like what you see? Get it first with a subscription to ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME Magazine.

Facebook Comments
No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME is seeker and storyteller of the sublime in living. It is a global guide to in-depth and varied views of beauty and shelter that stirs imagination; that delights and inspires homeowners as well as art and design doyens. Collaborating with emergent and eminent architects, artisans, designers, developers and tastemakers, ASPIRE creates captivating content that savors the subjects and transports with stunning imagery and clever, thought-provoking writing. Through lush and unique visuals and a fresh editorial lens, ASPIRE explores what is new and undiscovered in art, interiors, design, culture, real estate, travel and more. ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME is an international narrative and resource for all seeking the sublime.