This month’s interview is with the Hayneedle.com creative director and a dear friend, Jill Rizzo. I have worked with the Hayneedle brand since I moved to Omaha in 2009 and have gotten to know the company, and Jill, as constantly striving to bring great things to their customers.
It's possible that Hayneedle.com may be best known for their endless options for outdoor furniture and decor, but they offer much, much more to an online shopper. That includes pieces full style for kids rooms and the baby nursery, but that doesn’t mean you will always find them in the Baby & Kids department. Like with most of my shopping for baby and kids spaces I don’t limit myself to the Baby & Kids department and that is what is so great about shopping Hayneedle.com. They've got you covered. The style and inspiration might come from a durable outdoor rug (if its good enough for outdoor its good enough for that play room) or find the perfect pouf under Living Room.
With top brands, competitive pricing, free shipping and the ability to buy everything from that comfy glider to a stylish diaper bag for you and hip one for dad too – shopping Hayneedle.com is where its at to save time and money.
Q & A: Jill Rizzo
A minimalist, who's big on style, evolving a brand and herself
Q: How would you describe the online shopping experience on Hayneedle.com?
We have one of the widest and deepest indoor/outdoor assortments out there and are always striving to give the customer different ways of finding what they are looking for as well as inspiring them to check out different looks and trends and styles. so Our Style Gallery is a great place to find more curated looks for specific styles or space needs! We will continue to evolve this customer experience in the world of inspiration so stay tuned! We also design and create our own product lines that you will find on Hayneedle.com… Belham Living, Coral Coast, Boomer and George, Classic Playtime and MORE! This allows us to listen to our customer needs and feedback, and deliver products, in both style and quality, that are similar to the higher end brands on the market, but at a much more affordable price point.
Q: What trend in kids design do you see as the most exciting right now and can you share a few products customer might find in that style on the Hayneedle site?
Black and White is still a trend – which I love! There is so much you can do with it and it is gender neutral…plus you can layer in any texture or color with it. I tend to like keeping things neutral with the visual impact of black and white and softening it with sheepskin, lighter woods, metals, and natural materials and fibers. Here are some products I love that carry out this theme:
Gray Wood or Metal as a material for kids bedroom furniture creates a lovely soft modern look for a girl or boy. These are some of my favorite items pulling in gray. The bed frame is one of our newer items which I am excited about. It is a modern take on an industrial style vintage bed – a pewter colored metal which plays well with the gray theme.
Geometric Patterns and Color – this is probably a nod to the 80’s and how it is being revisited but in a new way with color and pattern. Great especially for the tweeners! (those in between younger ages and teenagers) A lot of energy and bright cheery funky goodness with a nod to the past.
Q: From my working relationship as stylist with the Hayneedle brand over the past several years I am well aware of the vast product categories one can shop on the site. What’s the most random, (interesting) item you have purchased from Hayneedle.com?
My husband would call this random :) …but I purchased this wonderful cowhide geometric patterned accent pillow for our bedroom. We have a very minimal bedroom and this was a bit of a statement piece on our bed - along with a fluffy cream sheepskin. I love the texture and warmth that cowhide can add to a room – this was a different take on cowhide with the geometry pulled into effect and added a level of interest to our minimal style profile:
The kids are begging for this pool item… it is def more interesting than the accent pillow and is currently in my shopping cart.
Q: As the creative, how involved are you in the product design? Do you have opportunities to be involved with the color choices, textile patterns, etc? Have you ever had a great idea and brought it to the product designers for execution?
In the past our Product Development team pulled me into the planning and design discussions surrounding our Carter Collection Dining table and chair set.
Being a big mid-century fan, I was able to help play a role in the refining of the details – like the curve of the chair seat, the ration of seat to back sizes, the shape of the table top and how the legs related to the table. When you are designing furniture – (and anything for that matter!) everything is in the details. And this piece was a wonderful example of collaboration and the role design can play outside of the marketing department!
The designers have also played a role in the designing of some of the past fabric patterns for our outdoor cushion and pillow collections. We don’t currently play a large role in the product design but it is something my team and I feel very passionately about and are excited and willing to participate in any way we can!
Q: I know you are personally a huge fan of the Scandinavian and Nordic styles, lots of black and white, pattern, texture, etc. What is it about this look that does it for you?
I like the clean minimalist lines, natural material palette and layering of textures. There is a geometric simplicity to some of the designs, and I feel like everything is well thought out and every decision is made with the upmost attention to detail and function. I also like the international flavor of African Mudcloth and Japanese Shibori textiles. Layering in textiles, and art from around the world add a story(ies) to the room. Every room to me needs to tell a story about the individual living there rather than being sterile and austere. Here are some items at Hayneedle that I am loving now…they are different takes on mid century as well as some really neat textiles that play into a more well traveled, international look. Nikki Chu line is gorgeous. – love her mix of texture and tribal prints with high quality materials.
Q: You recently took a trip to Iceland, what did you find most creatively inspiring that might end up being reflected in your work?
What first intrigued me about Iceland were the significant contrasts of the landscapes and colors – ice and fire. Bubbling hot pots surrounded by what looks like peaceful grassy fields being grazed by sheep and Icelandic horses. Beaches of round black rock being set against expanses of bright purple mountain flowers or electric green moss and fern. The jagged rocky formations rising out of nowhere and waterfalls at every glance. It was mother nature at her finest living and stretching and being the mightiest and most powerful I had ever witnessed. The extremes and contrasts were very inspiring.
The style/design there is very northern Scandinavian mixed with rustic. And that’s my thing! The city of Reykjavik is very supportive of the arts, and at every glance you see huge murals on sides of buildings, and quotes from poetry painted on the insides of hotels, coffee houses, their airport…apparently they read the most per capita out of any place in the world. So that alone is inspiring in and of itself! The imagination that is being supported and celebrated is like an open canvas for everyone to witness.
Jill explores Iceland and it's endless inspiration
Q: When designing your own space at home what is it that you inherently look to accomplish in any room?
It is a combination of things for me…it has to be style forward, comfortable and functional. I don’t care for objects for the sake of objects…I love things that function well, serve a purpose, and are beautiful to look at and comfortable/easy. Because I have kids, and a husband that likes to hold onto things (ha!) storage is big for me. I need to have an organized (as much as it can be with a 5 and 8 year old) and simple/zen space. A tidy space is a tidy mind (for me). Depending on the room, then I pull in the colors and tones and textures that make sense. Bedroom = quiet/peaceful/calm…grays, raindrop colored grayish blues, whites, creams…a lot of texture overlaying each other. But in the Living room where we entertain = we have charcoals, grays, creams with lots of texture but pull in punches of energetic color like the red womb chair, and printed patterns in reds, oranges, etc.
Q: Do you have a social media style crush and/or favorite blog?
I tend to read more print and online mags, but when I do read and peruse blogs, this is where I go:
for graphic design:
Other things I read on a regular basis:
Sunday NY Times
Children’s books (ha!)
And I am a Pinterest Junkie!!
Q: As a mom who is working and raising two children along with your husband, how do you find peace with the quality time you spend on each – work and life? Or are they one in the same?
I wouldn’t consider my work life the same as my home life. Sometimes it trickles across the boundaries due to deadlines or things I am researching and passionate about. I am always reading about design and searching for ways to evolve Hayneedle and myself as a designer. That never turns off. However…to get some peace in my life and be the best parent I can be for my children, I absolutely turn off when I am spending time with them. Much of the weekend is spent with my husband and kids doing things that bring us together and give us inspiration as a family. The work week can be intense and a whirlwind of activity so I found that getting up at 5:50am to do 30 -45 minutes of Yoga 4-5 times per week has saved my mind/body/spirit. Not only am I getting stronger and am able to keep up with the day and my kids, I am able to think clearer at work, problem solve and even multitask better. This was a tough decision because I am inherently a night owl. But it took a week of seeing the benefits to cause me to prioritize these quite moments of meditative Zen strength building.
Another thing I have noticed…is when I pick up my phone at bedtime to set the morning alarm, I have a tendency to skim news, Pinterest, my work emails, etc – because it is “just that easy.” The nights I force myself to put it away and pick up a book instead are much more restful peaceful fulfilling nights. The trick is to put that muscle memory to rest! (sorry for the pun…love puns)
Another thing I have realized…is it is OK to be where you are at. It is OK to leave a pile of laundry or unfinished business until you can get to it. It is OK to not check everything off that list at the end of every day. Being an action-based driver (who does have a bit of the restless artist spirit), this was a hard realization to come to. But as long as you CELEBRATE the things you DO accomplish – no matter how big or small. That is a healthy “set yourself up for success” approach to life - and it will make one a happier person from the inside out.
More Inspiration From Hayneedle
I am a self starter in pursuit of all things smart, savvy and stylish.