Interview with Hawkins New York Founders Paul Denoly and Nicolas Blaine

Founded in 2013 by designers Nicholas Blaine and Paul Denoly, Hawkins New York is a customer favorite at The Post Supply. Their timeless design and modern take on home utility is underscored by their commitment to artisanal production. We love their view on many household essentials from towels to pillows to candle sticks. We are so honored that we got to chat with the founders to discuss their creative process and their inspiration.

Read our interview below!

 

 

We love the story of how Hawkins New York began - as a way to produce homewares you wanted and couldn't find elsewhere at the level of quality and price points you desired. Can you speak to what this creative process is like for you? How do you decide what to make next and how does that go from idea to execution?

We've moved around a few times, and the process of turning a house into a home has been the major driver in our creative process. We both feel strongly that a home is a representation of how one lives, and their values. For us, cooking and entertaining is a big part of our life, so we naturally gravitate towards tabletop and kitchen accessories. We also love to change things around often, mixing vintage with new products or rearranging items in our home as the seasons change, so that's the primary inspiration for offering many products in multiple colors. We love how the introduction or a change in color can totally change the vibe of a table setting and our range of color options allows for this flexibility. That way, our customers can personalize their space no matter what their style is. Most of the time the new products we develop come to us organically as we live in our home, but we’re always inspired by the artisans we work with and their process. We are fortunate enough to have established great partnerships throughout the years and oftentimes our partners will suggest a new item or collection to complement and enhance our existing product line. In terms of the creative process, it varies slightly based on the source of inspiration, but more often than not it starts off with a sketch. We then render the idea digitally so that we can fully analyze the proportions and design before going into sampling. Once the design is approved, we send it off to one of our manufacturing partners to create a prototype. Understandably, the first round often needs finessing, but this gives us an opportunity to live with the product for an extended period of time and see how well it fits into our lives. Sometimes the process ends there, however, usually revisions are made to improve the end use of the item. We might go through several rounds of this for some products, but if we need to make more than 3 revisions, that means we need to go back to the drawing board. When we get it right, we’re always anxious to make it available as soon as possible.

We adore that you have shared that home is your biggest inspiration. How has that inspiration changed over the years as places you have lived or phases of life have changed and evolved? What are you loving most about where you live and what you are producing at the moment? 

 

Our surroundings and the places we have lived have certainly shaped the items we chose to develop. We have always been attracted to color and materiality, but how both of these elements are combined evolves over time and throughout our lives. When we were spending most of our time on the east coast, these combinations looked different compared to the last few years where we’ve been spending more time in California. Being there more often has really reinforced our belief that you do not need to sacrifice style for comfort and ease or change your personal style entirely because the backdrop is different. We have really been into more pattern recently and find ourselves incorporating it more and more into our home. This is something that has seeped into Hawkins and can be seen in our two newest collections of textiles. The new Essential Yarn Dyed Dish Towels and Essential Striped Table Linens which will be available this summer, which we’re really excited about sharing with everyone.  

Our customers love your products and are excited by new items we bring into the shop. How do you think design and function can elevate people's experiences in their homes and their lives and what would you say the most important areas of the home to focus on would be? 

We believe that design by definition should be functional. Even though colors and materials are important, the utility of products should absolutely elevate people's experiences. When developing a new collection or item we always ask ourselves how the items will be used and its purpose — that’s our top priority. With the materials and colors we choose, those are there to further enhance the experience that each item can bring into your home and express a person’s unique interests and style. In terms of making your space feel like home, the most important thing to focus on is making sure you create a haven for yourself that reflects your values. We believe that home is the place where you alone, or you and your loved ones, can feel truly comfortable and at ease no matter what you’re doing, so you can't create a warm and inviting home without taking care of yourself first. There has to be a foundation of warmth and familiarity there that you can draw from and show in your space over time, through the products you choose to display and use. Given our love for cooking and entertaining, the kitchen and eating areas (dining room, patio) are always top of the list, but when we move to a new house, the first thing we focus on is the bedroom. For us, that’s our sanctuary. No matter how much chaos there could be around us, knowing we have that place to escape to helps us face challenges head on.

SHOP HAWKINS