“You have to struggle a little bit,” Zak Profera is fond of saying. He would know. Over the past two years, Profera, the founder of cult-favorite New York textile brand Zak+Fox, has grappled with plenty of challenges, including a romantic breakup as well as the loss of his longtime Shiba Inu companion, Shinji (who inspired the Fox in his company’s name). From hard times emerged a soulful and ambitious collection called Harvest, which debuted in Paris last month. A series of short stories and films that the designer created to accompany Harvest include some heavy imagery, like an old man contemplating a scarecrow in a desolate field. But the work, he points out, is more nuanced.
“The collection itself is really vibrant—dare I say Technicolor. It’s not some depressing-looking collection by any means,” Profera tells host Dennis Scully on the latest episode of The Business of Home Podcast. “If you dig deeper, it’s not about ‘Beauty comes from loss’ or ‘Beauty comes from pain.’ It’s more about change.”
Elsewhere on the show, the designer discusses why he expanded into rugs, the process of moving into a new showroom, and why efficiency has been key to growth in an uncertain economic climate.
Crucial insight: Though Profera is mostly known for the artistry of his textiles, one of the keys to his recent success is developing a better enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. “All the stuff you don’t see in running a business is very, very critical to its success. It’s like when you build a house, and you really don’t want to pay for the installation because you don’t see it—it’s behind walls,” he says. The new system “cuts out steps, [creating] less room for human error. It’s nice to have everything integrated so our showroom partners can see all of our inventory and understand it fully and request it on their own. All of that saves time. So, technology is huge for us.”
Key quote: “[In developing a rug collection,] a lot of things failed. Making rugs is a very different language than fabric or wallpaper. I had to learn about technique, weaving, yarns,” says Profera. “There’s something about [the idea that] unless you struggle, it’s not worth it.”
The Thursday Show
BOH executive editor Fred Nicolaus joins host Dennis Scully to go over the biggest news in the industry, including a ban on renovations in Beverly Hills, how luxury brands are reaching the one percent, and the fate of the formal dining room. Later, Helen Allen, executive director of The Winter Show, discusses the rise of young collectors.