“I’m so glad I’m not in the office right now, because my employees are so tired of hearing this story,” says interior designer Ryan Saghian, who has called me on his way home from a client install on a Friday evening at 5:30 p.m. I’ve asked him to tell me how he got into interior design, and his response stops me for two reasons. First, he’s actually kept an appointment for a Friday 5:30 p.m. phone interview after a grueling day installing furniture. Second, he has the kind of self-awareness and modesty that few people with an Instagram following of 320k+ exhibit.
Saghian was an early design junkie. “I was always redecorating the house as a kid. Even when I was 5. I was lucky that my parents, traditional Iranian Jews, gave up on me being a doctor or a lawyer and encouraged my passion,” says the TK-year-old Los Angeles native. “In high school, I realized I was gay, and like most gays, had a hard time fitting in, so I’d drown myself in design mags and blogs.”
At age 15, he started working for Woodson & Rummerfield, where he stayed for five years. After studying interior architecture at the Art Institute of California, his dad turned their garage into a design studio, where Saghian started his independent career, mostly doing projects for family and friends.
When Instagram was released, he started posting things that he liked, his project boards, but also things like his homework. “A big part of my career blowing up was due to social media, but I’m actually one of the most insecure people. I wouldn’t really scroll through to look at anything and didn’t even realize that I had become a bit of an influencer,” he says. “But one day last year, I was posting a lot of pro-Israel stuff, and I started looking at my DMs more. I realized that one out of every three messages was, ‘Where did you get that?’”
The idea hit that he could put together a commerce site that gathered all of his favorite finds—typically from hard-to-find makers across the globe that he’s discovered at international design shows. The robust site offers everything from a bedding collaboration with Matouk to affordable artwork, furniture of all kinds, and killer accessories—like black mirrors, dripping-bronze sculptures, and vases so chic, they don’t need flowers.
“I describe my taste and style as ‘eclectic,’ but a lot of people hear that and think ‘tchotchkes,’” Saghian says. “It’s really just about putting juxtaposing elements together and letting great design shine though.”