In conversation with: Theres Hoyos of MAIE

Moving to a new home during lockdown gave Theres Hoyos the time to develop her business MAIE, a brand of sustainably sourced and artisan made homeware and furniture

Tell me about the circumstances that inspired you to start the company? The idea for MAIE first came to me when I had difficulties finding certain pieces while furnishing my own home. My quest for furniture items that were transparently made and better for the planet eventually led to more sustainability consulting projects by day and interior design projects by night.

MAIE aims to provide conscious consumers with made to order options for furniture that do not compromise on design, form, function or materiality. I spent years delving into consumer needs and behavioural patterns across categories in my role as a marketing consultant. This led me to put consumer pain points at the heart of my approach to building MAIE

On a more personal note, I moved to a new home on the first day of the first lockdown in 2020 and consequently had the luxury of time to think about every single corner of our home, along with a deep dive into the materials we live with. I became and certainly still am fascinated by conscious choices in materiality and what it means to create safe homes for people and planet.

What is the MAIE company ethos? The MAIE manifesto is to make moments matter, with an emphasis on those little everyday home moments – the in-between moments that make up life.

I realised that a lot of people around me were constantly trying to escape their homes for inspiration, adventure or even relaxation. Given how much time we spend in and around our homes, our brand ethos is intrinsically positioned to inspire moments well lived, at home.  In short, at MAIE we see space as an enabler – a frame for inspired living. The MAIE aesthetic is purposefully subtle and muted, and so is the inspiration for drawing on triangular shapes, the most stable of forms for our launch piece, The Coffee Table.

Urbanites spend around 87% of their time indoors and space serves incredibly powerful behavioural cues. One of my key influences in designing The Coffee Table was to “bring calm home” during these uncertain times and to create surroundings that inspire you to be the best version of yourself. Your home, your centre of gravity, your way.

Theres aims to use sustainable materials as well as promoting local artisans

Where does the name come from? Our name is pronounced just like ‘my’. Because this is all about the individuals living with our pieces. We aim to inspire and elevate their everyday home moments, with the motto ‘your home, your way’.

Maie is a female name of Hebrew origin and loosely translates into drop of the sea. A beautiful analogy to how our homes are our respective drops of the sea.

What makes your stone tables special? At MAIE we believe in longevity as a corner stone of sustainability. Natural stone was a conscious choice for a piece that lives in the heart of many homes, The Coffee Table. One of the most enduring materials, marble relies on centuries of geological compression to form. The unique colours and markings result from impurities in the bedrock, including minerals that draw veins when exposed to heat. Quite literally, a beautiful reminder of earth’s history.

Once stones arrive in the UK, The Coffee Table is fashioned in a proudly waste-minimising manner with offcuts repurposed into accessories that are included with every order. Stones are sourced in line with high quality standards to create pieces that will truly stand the test of time and even show moments well-lived in their patina. We work hard to establish which stones are at a risk of over extraction. It is for this reason, that we don’t feature a Bianco Carrarra marble, for instance. Our selection of natural stones features some lesser-seen, lesser-known variations.

We set our standards high. We are committed to working with materials that are durable enough to outlive our generation. Essentially, materials that will make for modern heirloom pieces. The vision MAIE holds for the industry is that the conversation, and with that, the paradigm shifts to higher standards without compromises on design, form, function or materiality.

Offcut stone is re-purposed to make coasters

How do you see the company growing in the future? Our growth strategy centres around building a design-driven and planet-positive brand that serves the needs of a growing generation of conscious consumers. In other words, we are seeking to offer alternative design options for increasingly mindful consumption in interiors.

Our business model integrates sustainability at its core. Pieces are designed by MAIE and crafted by local artisans and makers – a talented group of craftspeople whose skillsets are at risk of becoming extinct in the UK. Made to order pieces come with a so-called MAIE Manual, a care guide to ensure a lifetime of MAIE moments – because we are working hard on building a community of shoppers who believe in buying fewer but better pieces.

At the root of what we are building with MAIE is a deep appreciation for local craft. MAIE aims to make a difference for the good of people and planet by connecting end consumers to local craft through design. What we like to refer to as slow craft for slow living.

We will be rolling out new launches on a piece-by-piece basis, following extensive material research and testing. Ultimately, we would like to create a bespoke, made to order sub-category within the broader furniture category that allows seamless access to local craftspeople and solves the somewhat forgotten waste stream left behind by fast furniture.

Environmental concerns are of the utmost importance to us at MAIE and we have pledged to give back from day one through 1% For The Planet, amongst others. We are actively tracking our impact by prioritising natural or non-virgin materials and are working towards carbon neutrality by putting local craft first in our expansion plans. 

If you enjoyed this feature you might also enjoy my interview with furniture designer Christopher Duffy of Duffy London

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