A Conversation With Schoolhouse Electric’s Co-Creative Directors



Last January, we sat down with Schoolhouse Electric, a brand that set up shop in 2003 as a way to showcase older products reworked for modern times. Almost a year later and a brand new product line under their belt, we chat with co-Creative Directors Brian Faherty and Sarah Culbertso about their new Fall product line.

Life+Times: You just launched Schoolhouse’s new Fall product line.  Where did you find inspiration for this season?
Brian Faherty:
I find inspiration in the everyday things that surround me. What are those objects that have lasting quality that make you smile…from a trashcan to a canvas firewood carrier to an interesting graphic poster. They’re found at flea markets, garage sales, in various forms of media…blogs, old and new shelter magazines…movies that are styled just so…
Sarah Culbertson: All over the place. Inspiration comes from a clock in the backdrop of a movie, travel, fashion, vintage finds. Typically these random inspirations merge themselves into a product idea in the middle of the night. I am forever sending myself cryptic emails at 2am.

L+T: What new product are you most proud of?
I love the new art collection. It’s hard to find reasonably framed art or banners that compliment what you all ready have.
SC: It’s too hard to pick just one. These were my babies for almost a year. Really though, I am most proud of expanding the look and feel of the assortment. At our core, we always have a woodland feel, but we really branched out into other facets and color ways of who Schoolhouse is.

L+T: What’s one of your favorite design trends right now?
I’m not a big follower of design trends as it relates to home goods. In fact, I do my best to not get caught up in what’s “in” or of the “moment.”  It’s not that I have my head buried in the sand when it comes to trends, I just find that the products we develop are more interesting when I’m not too influenced by trends.
SC: Brass. Always brass. The mix of traditional masculine shapes with vintage feminine details and patterns. Stripes; layers of texture and pattern on pattern.

L+T: What do you like most about working together?
I like the Ying and Yang of our relationship. At the forefront of how we process materials, designs, forms, patterns, colors, etc., and how these relate to product is our values and vision for the Schoolhouse brand and staying true to our beliefs in what the brand means to us and our customers. It’s a very collaborative working relationship. We are both very passionate about what we do. The sun rises and sets with this notion that what we offer means something and the exchange and promise that we make to our customers is paramount to that notion.
We typically are on the same page when it comes to design and brand. We can walk into a room of 100 items and nine times out of ten we pick out the same thing. That cohesiveness allows us to clearly lead and direct the look and feel of the products, packaging, catalog and other visual aspects of the brand. We also don’t take ourselves too seriously, this is important when you are sharing creative ideas or visions, you have to be trusting enough to throw out ideas with abandon. Typically our best ideas come in bouncing these ideas off each other,  to create an even better idea that neither of us thought of on our own.

L+T: What’s in store for Spring? Any hints as to what we might see?
I think Sarah is more in tune with Spring than I am! I’m a latecomer! I’m building fires at home and nestling In with the family right now! Let me get a couple naps in then I’ll be ready!
We are looking to increase texture and pattern in our textiles. Working with new artists is always an exciting part of our process. We love reaching out to artists that we admire and are thrilled when they want to be part of the Schoolhouse brand. Ventures into new accessory categories. I can’t reveal all yet!