podcast | May 20, 2024 |
Projects, products, parties: Why Buchanan Studio loves to design them all

When Angus and Charlotte Buchanan met at 14 years old, they had no idea they would one day not only be married, but leading one of London’s buzziest design studios. Before going out on their own (both came from entrepreneurial families), Charlotte had a 10-year career in advertising and Angus worked in editorial art direction under fashion photographer Mario Testino and production designer Michael Howells. When their first child was born, they wanted a career shift, so they found a small office space and gave themselves six months to test out working together. In 2018, Buchanan Studio was born. After garnering attention for a flat they designed, the duo moved into restaurants and now plan events as well. “Knowing [your partner] in their work capacity is a different side of each other that you’ve got to figure out,” Charlotte tells host Dennis Scully on the latest episode of The Business of Home Podcast. “It’s a really interesting balance in terms of navigating that and figuring out strengths and weaknesses and where you meet.”

A few years ago, the couple made their way into a different part of the industry: product design. “We had this inkling that moving into product was going to be a good way to express ourselves as a brand and as a business without it having to be through a client or through a project,” says Charlotte. During the pandemic, the duo used some of their marketing budget to create the Studio chair, which was a quick success both critically and financially—sales of the piece have helped bring in regular income that helps smooth out cash flow. “The products have taken on their own brand form and allowed us to absolutely have this sort of overnight revenue and reach new audiences. It’s also allowed us to create work for ourselves and create this avenue of creativity that brings all of the studio into it,” says Angus. “The furniture side of things has completely broadened our horizons on all levels.”

Crucial insight: The couple encourages their team to “get off the algorithm” and not be consumed by social media, so as to keep originality in their designs. “We’re all fed so much visual information all the time, that we’re all coming up with all the same ideas,” says Charlotte. “You think you’ve had an idea, and it feels original to you, but by the time you’ve got it out there, it is not original because everyone else has been informed by the same stuff.”

Key quote: “Everything we do in the studio is because of team participation,” says Angus. “It’s purely communication—you can be as good as you want technically with drawings, but if you can’t communicate that idea to the tradesperson, to the client, it’s not happening. I think that the events [we plan] extrapolate that need and highlight that people who can do it will fly.”

This episode is sponsored by Four Hands. Listen to the show below. If you like what you hear, subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

The Thursday Show

BOH executive editor Fred Nicolaus and host Dennis Scully discuss the biggest news in the design industry, including earnings reports from Arhaus and 1stDibs, highlights from Legends, and what’s behind a surge in custom furniture. Later, retail columnist Warren Shoulberg joins the show to chat about Wayfair’s first venture into physical retail.

This episode is sponsored by Loloi and Annie Selke. Listen to the show below. If you like what you hear, subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

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