Jonathan Adler - the king of modern chic design - was once told that he had no talent, that art was not his calling, that he should just give up. So how did he rediscover his love for pottery and become an insider of the design world? Jonathan also shares how a trip to Peru expanded his cottage industry into a prosperous company, how naivety and desperation resulted in opportunities, and why he doesn’t always follow his parents’ advice.

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1. Your main resource is yourself.

2. In times of naivety, desperation, and panic, we end up doing things that we'd never have the courage to do otherwise.

3. Collaborating with people outside of your own world is a win-win situation.

4. Don't be scared to branch outside of your style and your medium. It creates more opportunities.

5. Believe it or not, sometimes it's better not to listen to your parents.

6. You might make your passion a career, or let it stay as your side hobby. Neither way is right or wrong - just do what works for you.


Jonathan Adler website

Follow Jonathan on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook

Brown University History of Art and Architecture

RISD (Rhode Island School of Design)

Brown Daily Herald

Jacquelyn “Jackie” Rice, Professor of Ceramics at RISD (who Jonathan likes to drag in many interviews)

How to fax (maybe it’ll come in handy on your resume)

What it’s like to be a talent agent’s assistant

Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan, NY

Mud, Sweat, and Tears studio

Barneys New York

William “Bill” Sofield

Simon Doonan, Jonathan’s husband

Aid to Artisans

The inspiration Jonathan got from Peru

Pottery Barn

Fisher-Price Baby - Jonathan’s collaboration with Fisher Price


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