Today we’re introducing you to female entrepreneur and powerhouse Krista Coupar of Coupar Consulting. Based out of San Francisco, Coupar, with a background in textile design, had a revolutionary idea: to combine PR services for interior designers with a collaborative “think tank” style space for designers to drop in and exercise their creativity — the first of it’s kind. With a fully run female team on her side and a focus on local resources, we were intrigued to learn more about how Coupar got started, her Silicon Valley approach to business, Krista’s take on design and media trends and what inspires her most.
24: What is your background?
Krista: My background is in textiles. I came to the Bay Area after college, and started working for The Silk Trading Company. After I left I did fabric importing and then began to work in interior design firms and that is where I learned the business. In 2005, I had the opportunity to work with interior designer Kendall Wilkinson. She taught me the ropes of both design and business and gave me generous access to a top team of advisers. It was basically my business school for the industry.
24: How does Studio Coupar support local designers?
Krista: We support designers in a multiple of ways. First, we have designers at Studio Coupar that our clients can outsource their work to when they need design support. Some of our clients use us on an as-needed basis for sourcing, CAD, budgets, proposals and construction schedules, others use our firm in lieu of having their own team of designers. We have a full team of designers—from senior designers, project managers, to expeditors and design assistants, and a team dedicated to installations. We work with designers, architects and builders to support their projects and processes. We do not work with the end-user. We are a trade-only resource since our passion is to grow and support the industry.
24: Where do you see interior design and media going in the next couple years?
Krista: I think we will continue to see a huge growth on social media platforms. At its core, art has always shared socially in some form or another, so I think the fact that our clients are publishing their work on social platforms is benefitting them in revolutionary ways, and will continue to. As more technology platforms develop that offer fast design, which I think is fantastic, there will be a need to differentiate what I call “design for all” and custom high-end design. To that end, I think interior design will follow what we have already seen in fashion: there will be fast design that mirrors the concept of fast fashion and then there will be the design houses that create bespoke spaces in the way that fashion houses create couture. The media will begin to differentiate a fast design space and a bespoke space. Right now in the online there are no real differentiators in what is design on a dime and what is high-end so I do think it creates confusion for people who are seeking design services or trying to understand what they want or what they can afford. I think overtime that will evolve as the channels evolve and you will be able to see which is which.
24: What design sites do you rely on for inspiration?
Krista: There are so many. I love RUE, MyDomaine, Design Sponge, Refinery29, The Peak of Chic, Elements of Style, India Hicks and 24 east 😉 I also love some of the second hand retail sites, like 1st Dibs and OneKingsLane.
24: If you could spend the night at any famous designer’s house, where would it be and why?
Krista: Anything designed by Julia Morgan. Hearst Castle is so magical, and while not my style per se, I like to be in spaces that take me somewhere: another time, evoke strong feelings, tell a story and all of Julia Morgan’s spaces do that. She is also synonymous to the Bay Area and particularly the East Bay for me, as I worked on a few of her homes when I first moved to San Francisco. And she was one of the first women in architecture. There is so much fondness tied to her work from my early days here, and that has endured for me as my career has progressed.
24: What do you love about living in the Bay Area?
Krista: The energy, what we are surrounded with: the best universities, world-class restaurants, the proximity to the ocean and mountains, and the entrepreneurial spirit. Living among some of the most innovated minds in the world is contagious. The energy here just buzzes. Its all really exciting. The people here are passionate about everything, from what they do in their leisure to their profession. We really tend to elevate here what could be mundane somewhere else. The Bay Area is just a very special place.
24: Where are some of your favorite East Bay places to go to?
Krista: I started my first company, a fabric store called Woven, in the East Bay because I loved the Berkeley and Oakland in the early 2000’s. The East Bay had, and still has, such an eclectic mix of food, art and culture. My favorite spots are: Chez Panisse (for a classic experience), Arizmendi Bakery-the pizza (my guilty pleasure), and the Claremont Hotel and Spa in Oakland (for the luxury experience).
Original images for 24 East by Jen Kay