Women in design: Egg Collective
AFTER MEETING IN ARCHITECTURE school, the founders of Egg Collective realized they preferred working together. “We discovered our design was better together, and when we went out on our own, we realized we had complementary skills in running the studio,” says Crystal Ellis, Egg Collective’s cofounder with Stephanie Beamer and Hillary Petrie. The trio operates a stylish showroom and office in Manhattan’s Hudson Square neighborhood and a woodshop near the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Their line of tables, seating, storage pieces, accessories, and lighting are coveted by interior designers and high-end clientele for their sculptural forms and high-quality materials.
Like many American designers of their generation, Egg Collective is largely in charge of the production and distribution of its designs. They make their own wood pieces and collaborate with a select group of New York–based fabricators in glass, metalwork, and upholstery. Within the studio, their duties are roughly divided among creative direction and press (Ellis), business management and client relations (Petrie), and woodshop operations and collaboration with fabricators (Beamer), “but in the end, we all wear a lot of hats,” Petrie says. (They have licensed a few pieces through Design Within Reach, but they say that represents a small portion of their business.)
In addition to their design work, Egg Collective is actively involved in creating a sense of community among their peers and affiliated creatives. Last year during New York’s Design Week, they organized and hosted a show called “Designing Women,” featuring female designers working in textiles, jewelry, lighting, and other products. “We loved getting to know these other women designers, many of whom we’d admired but had never met before,” Petrie says. “It really reinforced the sense of community.”
One unnamed male designer took the sense of female empowerment as a slight. “He asked, ‘why aren’t there designing men shows?’” Ellis says, with a laugh. “Basically, most shows are Designing Men shows. He really needed to take a moment to reflect.”
Rather than chasing trends, Egg Collective is playing the long game in hopes of creating a line that will endure. “It’s an evolving language, but things hang together,” Petrie says.
“We strive for a richness that stands the test of time,” Ellis adds.