Founded in France, success built in The States and finally a showroom in the UK. I chat to Benni Frowein of Schumacher about the company’s history, future and why it took so long to get here
When was the company founded and where? Frenchman Frederic Schumacher founded the company in 1889, the same year that the Eiffel Tower was inaugurated for the Expo in Paris. He left his hometown and opened shop in New York where he started selling the most sumptuous fabrics to the American high society. I love the fact that until today, Schumacher is owned by the same family.
Can you describe the Schumacher style? We celebrate beauty, craftmanship and joy. For over 133 years, our own design team has been creating the most captivating collections of fabrics, wallcoverings and trimmings. Deeply rooted in history, we weave the current zeitgeist into everything we do. With over 12,000 products, we believe we offer something for everyone who loves original design and cherishes craftsmanship.
There was such a positive atmosphere at London Design Week – do you see this reflected in the textiles that customers are choosing? 100%! It is so exciting to see that interior designers and design enthusiasts want to bring joy into their homes. We clearly see people turning to patterns, colours, textures and a new, fun way of mixing-and-matching.
You have collaborated with a variety of designers. Is there anyone you have your eye on now for future collaborations? I don’t want to lose my job by giving away too much. But yes, we have a lot of very exciting collaborators from different industries and backgrounds on the horizon for 2022 and 2023. Particularly exciting is the collection with Haiti-born fashion designer Victor Glemaud that is launching any minute.
As well as the fabrics and wallcoverings you sell rugs, furniture and accessories. Can you explain the thinking behind that? We are a design house with a very clear vision on how to live beautifully. We wanted to bring this perspective beyond fabric and wallcovering into all aspects of the home. It works well. We now have the Schumacher signature rugs at the London showroom.
You opened your first London showroom at DCCH last year. What took you so long? In hindsight, I am asking myself the same question. I am just glad we are here now and that interior designers and design enthusiasts are welcoming our brand with open arms. From day one we felt we fit right in.
Schumacher has become America’s most iconic home design brand. The decision of coming to the UK and Europe was about returning to our origin. Our journey started in Europe, so it feels like home.
Do you have a favourite design within your collection? This is the question I always fear the most. With over 12,000 products, it’s close to impossible. I invite everyone to visit our showroom and they will find it equally hard to pick a favourite.
I personally have an admiration of embroidery. The expertise and endless patience that goes into stitching patterns of any kind is a miracle to me.
What is your favourite possession? I have an old travel bag that has gone around the world with me several times. It would be hard to not have it with me on my next trip.
What’s your favourite possession? For more answers from the world of interior design click here