We sit down with the founders of Ebanista, Melinda and Fari Pakzad, for a candid interview about their company, what inspires them, and what’s next for the successful furnishings company.
What was the driving force behind the creation of Ebanista?
As luxury custom home-builders for 40 years, we had established relationships with some of the finest ateliers and artisans in our business and knew in our heart that other designers, architects, and builders would love the products we were creating for our projects, just as much as we did. Moreover, since we were so accustomed to furnishing projects on a grand-scale, we knew what products designers and architects (and homeowners alike) needed to furnish large luxury residences in a beautiful, intriguing, and unique way.
How would you describe the company’s evolution over the last decade+?
It’s been an exciting journey. Two years ago we introduced Collection Ten in celebration of our ten-year anniversary, which has been very well received and raved about by some of the world’s leading designers. The collection is completely handcrafted in Los Angeles and has expanded to include upholstery, case goods, beds, lighting, paintings, and accessories. It is so fresh and exciting, each piece with a couture-like sensibility.
What is most rewarding about working with your spouse?
Working together of course has its challenges, just like any relationship in life. What we would say is most rewarding is looking back on what we have built together as partners–both professionally and personally. If either of us weren’t part of this equation, we wouldn’t have achieved the same results. And now our daughter, Jessica, is running the business alongside us, and there is nothing better than seeing your child take over and care for something you have started from the ground-up.
How would you describe the Ebanista style?
Ebanista is simultaneously classical and modern, just the right balance between feminine and masculine. Styles, eras, and heritages are seamlessly mixed for a collected and layered feel. There is something chic and timeless about a grandly luxurious piece that has been carefully balanced against simple upholstery, a modern painting, or a clean stark floor.
What has been one business challenge you have faced and how have you overcome it?
We have to pick just one? Ah! I would say our biggest challenge came after we expanded so quickly in the boom of the market. When the recession hit, we decided to focus on our core markets and get as lean and mean as possible. That meant making tough decisions, closing showrooms that weren’t in major markets, and simplifying as much as we could. Thankfully, our strategy worked and we are so proud of how we have thrived after the recession!
What has been the most rewarding in terms of launching and building the Ebanista brand?
Watching the pieces in the collection come to life and adopt many different personalities–some shy and reserved, and some completely undeniable. From a vision, dozens of sketches and renderings evolve into prototypes. Scale, shapes, and proportions are scrutinized for both function and beauty. Layer by layer, finishes are applied until just the right effect has been achieved. Fabrics are skillfully chosen for each piece with a careful consideration to silhouette and finish. Every stitch, every seam is assessed for refined tailoring. Each detail is examined until finally, it is ready to be added to the collection. There is something magical when, after all of our effort, designers leave our showrooms feeling excited and inspired by the products we’ve developed.
What’s one design trend you are loving now?
Hmm…at Ebanista we have such a strong passion for timeless design–whether it’s classical, transitional, or what we like to call “Ebanista Modern,” that we really don’t pay much attention to trends. That’s a tough one!
Tell us about your inspiration for Collection Ten.
Collection Ten is inspired by all of the things we have loved or sought after as designers ourselves–from the perfect little parlor chair to grouping of completely unique drink tables–all done with a twist. We wanted to create something that felt classic yet new and fresh at the same time. But most importantly I think our biggest inspiration comes from the challenge of finding something distinctive to inject into each piece–if it’s not truly special, it won’t inspire.
What is it about Collection Ten that you think appeals to the design savvy?
Well this relates back to your last question–the uniqueness of the pieces –whether it’s an unexpected carving, am unusual finish, or a fantastic textile application. If we are creating pieces that inspire us, we know they are going to inspire other designers and THAT is what appeals to our design-savvy audience. They are getting the highest quality of furniture and objets d’art that can’t be replicated or found anywhere else.
What’s next for Ebanista?
Simply to continue doing what we love–designing and introducing products that surprise, inspire, and delight our clients!