Early last year, I came across the work of ME Speak Design. GASP.
Shousugiban - a Japanese technique that chars wood, adding depth and darkness to an already beautiful specimen of wood and transforming it into a functional piece of art - was one of the cornerstones of their design aesthetic. Beyond that, all things Japanese seemed to resonate in every piece in their housewares and furniture collections, from the simplicity in form and intentional details, down to how they lovingly create these pieces together in their home studio/workshop in North High Shoals, Georgia. A die-hard lover of Japanese design myself, I am constantly on the lookout for local artisans that I can work with to create pieces for my own design business that reflect this passion and when I discovered what they are doing, I had to get involved.
You see, what I observed after the handful of years of living here in the South, is that modern design has started to creep in bit by bit and it also has a very unique expression. And ME Speak Design, in my very humble opinion, embodies what I have gleaned over time. Eric and Lori have built their business to reflect their marriage and mirror their design ethos. The result is the perfect balance of modern meets traditional, contemporary flirts with rustic.
The business model is simple: design, create, market and sell all from their central operation called HOME. Eric and Lori equally inspire and work on designs and each has their specific job when it comes down to the fabrication process. Eric handles the heavy loads and Lori will add her feminine touch by hammering and polishing. And she handles all of the administrative aspects of the business. She is the glowing presence behind all correspondence and marketing. Eric loves photography and is the lens for each piece that makes the cut, so they truly embody a one-stop shop. When I asked them if they plan on hiring on help in the future to allow for growth, they made it very clear that part of their mission is to have their hand in every aspect of the operation from start to finish so as to control the quality and love that are put forth into the world. And indeed it shows. Each piece is carefully crafted and they walk the talk. All of their designs take center stage throughout their household and are on heavy rotation for any and every occasion, daily. Whether they are hand forging a copper spoon or brass bowl or charring locally sourced wood to create their signature Oleole collection, ME Speak Design offers a variety of household tools and wares that can and should be made part of one’s everyday rituals in the kitchen and around the house. I personally have started my own collection and with each use, their passion and story is infused into my family’s nourishment with love.
Please visit their online shop to learn more about their story and to shop their houseware collections directly. They are currently represented by a very select few retail locations here in the South as well as nationally. I'll be sharing their home tour soon to illustrate how they “mespeak” their truth through design and family.