Jeff Holtgen, founder of Silk Avenue, shares his thoughts on bespoke rugs and finally joining Instagram
When was the business founded and why?
Silk Avenue was founded by myself eight years ago. I had been lucky enough to be working for a world-renowned Persian family who had extensive experience within the carpet industry. As we had a lot of high-profile clients, including royalty and celebrities, I quickly learnt the importance of a faultless service, which is Silk Avenue’s main ethos today.
When I moved to London, I set up my own company. I took a calculated risk not to open a showroom. Doing so allowed us to offer a more tailored service that brought Silk Avenue to the customer rather than them having to come to us. Maybe more importantly, it also allowed us to offer the highest quality carpets at a much more affordable cost, as our overheads were significantly reduced. To this day I still stand by my decision. Silk Avenue has had remarkable success over the last few years and as our creative team grows, we are able to visit our clients in the comfort of their office or home and create fantastic custom-made carpets following an eclectic mix of design briefs.
How many staff?
In the Studio we have three senior designers who develop the designs for our clientele and our in-house collection. We have a much larger logistics team, acting on a freelance basis for deliveries and installation…. and then there is little old me, who is involved and supervises every element.
Where is it based?
The studio is in central London. We don’t have a showroom, as everything we produce is bespoke. Although you can visit the studio by appointment, 95% of the time we go to the client’s home, designer’s studio, and/or project. We are always on the move.
What is your latest significant achievement/project of note?
As you can imagine, in our industry, the more prestigious and significant a project is, the stricter the confidentiality clauses are – so my lips are sealed! However, I am extremely grateful that Silk Avenue has the ability to create custom carpets for these types of high-profile projects. We have been lucky enough to produce for luxury hotels and high-end residential interiors all over the world.
What is your best-selling product?
There is more than one, we actually have six: Mirama, Bellini, Torinese, Gikki, Freya and Umbrella
I’ve just discovered…
Don’t laugh… Instagram! Obviously I have been aware of it for ages but it’s only recently that I’ve become addicted! Talk about inspiring… Obviously Silk Avenue has had an Instagram account for years, which my team has been managing, but I’ve only just got the bug.
Who inspires me…
Due to the nature of our bespoke business, the majority of our clients are interior designers. Luckily, we are able to work for the best in the business, so the creative juices are continuously flowing. The colour palettes and visionary thought within the design process are always a joy to be part of and since every studio has a different aesthetic and approach, we are continuously inspired.
Along with the sometimes weird and wonderful requests, I ensure my team are creatively informed, with any new and exciting developments within the fabric houses, fashion and interiors as a whole. If you immerse yourself within interiors and fashion like we do, you are constantly inspired – that’s why I love what I do.
I’ve always been a fan of…
Travelling – in my opinion there is no better way of spending your time and money. Exploring new places and cultures never disappoints and is always a feast for the eyes.
My highlight of the last 12 months…
My daughter was born 15 months ago, so I don’t think you can beat that. She is a bundle of positive energy and her inquisitive mind is always a joy to witness. Actually, the idea for our Unico design, which is based on a coral reef, came while watching ‘Nemo’ with my daughter.
What can I say? She is a perfect addition to the Silk Avenue team.
My next design trip is to…
I take a lot of inspiration from nature and art and since I love floral designs I decided to go and visit Puglia, which is known for being the Garden of Italy – I’m hoping to come back with plenty of new ideas.