Timur Yumusaklar has served as president and CEO of F. Schumacher & Co. since 2015. The exec, who hails from the tech and fashion realms, sat down with EAL to chat about how the company preserves its heritage without taking up permanent residence in the slow lane.
What are some of the most notable changes you’ve implemented since coming aboard the company last year?
First, let me say that I have been fortunate enough to have what I consider to be the most dedicated, motivated and knowledgeable team in the industry, and everything at F. Schumacher & Co. is a team effort.
Under Dara Caponigro’s creative leadership, we have nearly doubled our studio teams and are introducing almost twice as much product each year. We have gone back to our roots, and our product—fabric, wallcovering, trim, and floorcoverings—is more iconic than ever.
Our philosophy behind all of our evolutions is to put our customers first and at the center of our functions. Not only is our product innovative, but in order to help designers stay ahead of the trends, we debut new introductions every single month.
Our brands are stronger and more accessible, and to accommodate our customers, we have implemented training programs and recruited great talent who place an emphasis on service, product knowledge and professionalism. We strive to partner with our customers, and the goal is not to sell, but to inspire and problem solve.
What does the brand represent to you?
Think about this: Both of our brands [Schumacher and Patterson Flynn Martin] create a lot of original art and we also have one of the largest privately held design archives in the country. We sometimes recolor and resize archival patterns, and then reintroduce them into the market and they’re an instant hit. Some of those patterns were popular over 100 years ago! Isn’t that amazing?
Marketing, sales, business aside, great design is just great design. I am proud to say that our company stands for great design. And more than that, we believe that great design changes lives—it challenges, inspires and expresses. And we believe that great interior design transforms spaces, experiences, and has a profound and positive impact on everyday living. Great design makes us more aware, connected and happy. We stand for that. And we are very proud of the fact that we can partner with and inspire the world’s most talented interior designers to create transformational spaces. Interiors, and homes in particular, can and should be an intimate and creative expression and we champion designers and their role to create and facilitate personal and beautiful spaces.
Astratto and Mediterraneo, from Patterson Flynn Martin's new Artigianale collection
How does your prior experience in fashion/tech influence your role today? How did it help prepare you?
To me, fashion and interiors are similar in that both are creative mediums for self-expression. And yet, at the same time, both are subject to higher-level, macro trends. Having worked in fashion before interiors, I definitely understood that dynamic coming into this industry. The clichés about the influence of changing technologies are understatements.
Technology has an undeniable influence on our everyday lives and certainly our industry is no exception, but we see it as one of the largest opportunities in the market. As a customer base, interior designers are decentralized and highly individual, so we have responded by streamlining the shopping experience for designers. Our website and mobile investments have been a huge boon because there is so much value in the ease of use and efficiency for our clients. For designers, time is precious! Our digital marketing channels have also been very successful—our social media is second to none in our industry and it has allowed us to better communicate and understand our customers. Our company will never resist technological change; we embrace and further it.
Schumacher's Shangri-La collection, a selection of printed grasscloths launched earlier this year
What are some of the initiatives we can expect at the company, and in the market, moving ahead?
In terms of design, we are witnessing a return to maximalism. We see it, we feel it, and we believe in it. Designers are more confident and adventurous than ever, gravitating toward bolder patterns and colors. I think that those of us in the industry who are design leaders are embracing this transition, and our company, having such a long and rich history of design, is uniquely positioned for the current trend. People are also spending more time at home and consequently investing more into their interiors. We see the market for interior designers as rather strong and growing. And all ingredients combined, the future at F. Schumacher & Co. is much brighter than its past, and that’s saying a lot!