Larah and Dieter: A Power Couple in Design and Branding
On this episode of The Lounge, Nick chats with Larah Moravek from Dutch East Design and Dieter Cartwright from Warren Red. This power couple shares their journey from their design beginnings, the chance at meeting through a mutual friend, and how they have joined forces.
Getting to know Larah & Dieter
Originally, Larah is from Illinois. Her family moved to England, then Texas. She has been in New York for the past sixteen years. Larah loves Spanish and Portuguese wines and the movie Captain Fantastic.
Dieter is from Tasmania, Australia. He has been in the US for ten years now. Dieter enjoys beer, wine, and cocktails. Larah and Dieter met through a mutual friend/vendor and are currently married and live in New York.
How did Larah & Dieter get into design?
Dieter always wanted to be an architect. As his parents built their house, he followed the architect around everywhere. Dieter even went so far as to observe meetings between his parents and the architect.
He started to work towards becoming an architect, but was sidetracked as a beekeeper, then hair dresser, then back to studying architecture.
Interior design was never his initial goal. Dieter gained experience in bartending and working in hospitality, which ultimately proved invaluable in his design career. Soon, Dieter started working for a designer in New York, but then the economy dropped. He managed to combine getting laid off with starting his own company.
Larah was not interested in design until later in her life. She grew up interested in poetry and animals. Larah soon found out that she wasn’t cut out for working in a hospital, but she did start to understand how space affected people physically and mentally. She switched her major from biomedical science to interior design.
After traveling for six months, Larah was able to start her own company. Today she typically works on bars and restaurants and wants to create spaces that encourage good social dynamics.
Larah and Dieter began working on projects together and have even begun pitching together. This has allowed for them to expand their bandwidth and offerings to clients. Now Larah and Dieter have decided to merge their companies while keeping Dutch East focused on interiors and Warren Red focused on branding.
What does the business look like today?
Larah and Dieter employ two interior designers who work with them. They like to hire people with prior history in other fields, like law and construction.
As a business owner, Larah finds it challenging to balance big picture ideas and strategy with daily minutiae and client relations. She wants to understand and respect everyone. In addition, Dieter doesn’t have a lot of experience working for someone, so he likes to challenge the status quo.
How to get into hospitality
If you are a designer looking to get into the hospitality design industry, Larah and Dieter would first recommend understanding why this field appeals to you. While there is no right or wrong answer, it can be helpful to know what excites you.
They also recommend looking into who is building and hiring and making connections. Referrals and word of mouth are huge within the design industry. Most things come through an introduction or referral, not cold calls. Larah and Dieter are constantly trying to foster a larger network and engage with people.
Larah and Dieter mentioned that lots of change is happening. They want to allow for themselves and their employees to pursue personal passions and work towards common goals. They are interested in owning and operating a small hospitality location, perhaps a bar.
To learn more, please visit Larah and Dieter on their website.
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