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Meet Sara Haynes and Lisa Staugaard of Iridium Interiors in Hawthorne

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sara Haynes and Lisa Staugaard.

Sara and Lisa, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
In 2015, we met at a house party in Echo Park and from our first conversation, we realized we had so much in common. Lisa was selling vintage clothes and Sara was refinishing furniture for fun at the time. We became inseparable and started sourcing beat up furniture, restoring it together in Sara’s backyard in Mid City.

About two months later we decided to make it into a legit business, opened our website and named it Iridium Interiors. The name is an ode to our shared love of chemistry, iridium being a rare metallic element that comes from almost exclusively from meteorites. We love the metaphorical aspect iridium has to vintage furniture and how well it embodies our values of reducing waste through the process of restoration. Like iridium, well-designed vintage furniture is in limited supply and requires thoughtful practices for reuse and renewal.

The first few years we did the business part-time while Lisa was working as a materials chemist at a failure analysis lab and I was studying design at CSULB. We feel our different backgrounds give us a slight edge and a unique perspective on product restoration and design. In 2017 we moved into a studio in Hawthorne with other artists where we set up a small woodshop for furniture restoration and a ceramics studio. In December 2018, we opened a showroom in the same complex. We’re currently working on our first line of ceramics and furniture, set for Fall 2020.

Good luck with the upcoming line launch!  Fall 2020 will be here before we know it! You’ve made a lot of progress, has it been a smooth road?
Starting a small business is hard work, but so rewarding. It’s just the two of us doing everything so we wear many hats. It can be challenging at times but always exciting to continue learning every aspect of business from product photography to accounting.

We’ve focused on organic growth and small deliberate steps forward to build a solid foundation. One of the hardest challenges has been to get the word out that we exist! More and more of our client base is from word of mouth, so we know we’re on the right track. We’re so thankful for our wonderful customers who spread the word.

Getting the word out is definitely a huge challenge for new businesses, but I think the focus on organic growth and building a solid foundation is great. What else should we know about Iridium Interiors?
Iridium Interiors is a women-owned vintage furniture and housewares store focused on affordable high-quality furniture and timeless design. We specialize in 20th century home furnishings and carry an eclectic mix from the early 1900s to the 1980s. Everything we offer at Iridium is an extension of our own personal styles. The Iridium aesthetic is all about mixing materials and pieces from different periods; an interior designed in this way is able to communicate personality in a way that isn’t possible if you use solely modern era designs.

With so many vintage stores in LA, what sets us apart is that everything we do is centered around sustainability, attention to detail and most importantly reducing waste. The majority of the furniture we get has been through 50+ years of use without any upkeep, making it hard for some to see its full potential. We’ve developed a keen eye to see past superficial damage and envision what a piece could be with a little TLC. We’re inspired by redirecting pieces from landfills, bringing them back to life and providing a sustainable alternative to the furniture market that will ensure future decades of use.

We work to create lasting relationships so that our customers can openly ask us questions. Say a piece gets damaged in some way or they want to know the best way to maintain it. We want them to come to us as a resource. Our customers are encouraged to text us with questions or ideas any time. More than other retail shops, we work directly with them on a personal level to help them find the right piece for their unique space. We believe you should be inspired by your surroundings and that good design helps you do that. We want to make that easier and more accessible for everyone.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
We’re so fortunate to be in Los Angeles where people are increasingly becoming aware of their environmental impact and are choosing to support local business. Los Angeles is really special because of its blend of cultures and diversity and because of this there is a surplus of many different types of furniture from all over the world and different time periods. There’s always something new to find here, some piece of the past waiting to be discovered.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:

Iridium Interiors
(interior photo with window) Gilded Hearth + Jordan Moore Photography

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