Aspen resident starts furniture design company after hiatus from industry
November 7, 2015
Hillary Brigid is returning to her first love.
An industrial-design student, Brigid started working in the design industry in 2000. She had her own interior architecture and design business in Denver, focusing on work for nightclubs and restaurants.
"It was difficult because I was a woman in a man's field," she said. "It was a learning experience."
Nine years ago, she moved to Aspen, and fell out of her profession when she had her son. Even as she started working in the service industry in Aspen, she never quite abandoned design.
"Everyone when they saw my designs was like, 'Why are you here?'" she said. "I got a lot of encouragement."
So about 18 months ago, Brigid took a bold step and started designing again. She just launched Mak.it Design Co. and works out of a studio in the Basalt Design Center, where she hand crafts one-of-a-kind furniture pieces.
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Brigid finds herself playing with elements of iconic styles, streamlined looks and Asian influences.
"At first, I was fighting it," trying to stick to one theme, she said. But then she decided to embrace it.
"I'll gather inspiration from anything I see, from someone's silhouette down to a children's playground," Brigid said.
In her creative process, she'll sometimes come across pieces that are similar to her ideas, such as some push-pin-inspired furniture that looks similar to a stool she made.
"Instead of getting frustrated when I see a design that's similar to mine, I use it as an opportunity to pursue my design abilities further and to create something fresh and new," Brigid said.
Brigid hopes her pieces can be multifunctional, like a coffee table she designed with a built-in magazine rack that she noted also could work for sitting.
"Around the world, spaces are shrinking, so having furniture pieces with dual purpose is really important," she said.
Brigid believes furniture should be used and loved. Unlike a lot of home decor lines available today that are made to expire, Brigid uses materials such as hardwood, natural stone and steel to make products that last.
"I want to create pieces that are heirlooms," she said. "I want to bring that back to the mainstream."
Brigid has found clients in the valley as well as opportunities in Dallas. Both markets have an affinity for unique, handmade products, she said.
Mak.it pieces can be viewed at Brigid's studio in Basalt or online at http://www.mak-it.com.