If you love contemporary design, then Oeuf NYC is almost certainly on your radar already. Founder and designer Sophie Demange invites us to take a peek inside her New York home and tells the story behind the brand.
When readers ask us where they can source a piece of furniture that we have featured, it often turns out to be from Oeuf NYC. In fact, there’s very little that husband and wife team Sophie Demange and Michael Ryan create that we aren’t coveting (or haven’t already bought). And after catching a glimpse of their New York home, complete with a trapeze in the living room and stacked full of vintage finds and curios, we asked French-born Sophie to tell us 6 things we didn’t know about her work and her family life. Welcome to Planet Oeuf.
The word Oeuf (which means egg in French) came very naturally. I love the word Oeuf. Visually I love those letters together and the sound of it. It epitomizes strength and vulnerability, fragility. I was pregnant with my daughter at the time we began the company.
I have a need, a longing for substance and quality, rooted since childhood. That’s how I was raised, quality over quantity always. Real conversation versus small talk.
The way you are in business is the same as you are in life. Your values transpire in everything you do. In our case it’s even more so since Oeuf is so much who we are. It’s wonderful but hard too. We can’t become complacent; there is nowhere to hide. We have to take responsibility for the whole package. It’s freeing and intimidating at the same time to be so exposed.
Overall I find working as a husband and wife team is very easy and I love it. To be completely honest most of the credit goes to Michael as he is the kindest, funniest and easy-going guy I’ve ever met. We work well together because we complement each other. There is no boss per se. We take full responsibility for our own Oeuf world, which is quite different. We trust each other to take the right decisions or make the necessary mistakes. Basically we give each other room to grow and seek each others advice and insights along the way. We don’t take ourselves seriously and are both pretty goofy!
I used to be my own worst critic, but I have loosened up. Today I would say it’s Mae, (my 13 year old daughter) but she’s my biggest fan too.
I don’t think I have a favourite Oeuf piece. They all correspond to a specific time in my life, meeting my kids’ needs and indulging design-wise with my husband. The Perch Bunk Bed/fort was designed for our then 6 year old son. I lay in that bed with him every night to read stories and sing or play with sheets to make forts. All the knitted goodies are sprinkled all around the house. We just finished a desk for Mae which we’ll be launching in October. Good design is having the actual user in mind. Form definitely follows function. And like many things in life, not cutting corners. It never works.
We have a trapeze in the living room. Nothing is that precious to freak out about in our house. I’m actually very relaxed, very democratic about things. I don’t care about china being broken accidentally. I do believe in beauty, appreciation of quality and living with objects that you enjoy and that you have a relationship with.
Being a strong advocate for my daughter when she was bullied in 1st grade and consequently bringing awareness to this very important and real issue is probably my greatest parenting pride. There were radical changes in the school after that.
I’m pretty good at being in tune with them and really, really hear them. I’ve learn to zip it (which is not that easy for me), be an active listener and respect their rhythm. I regularly fail at being consistent. Planning meals is an issue too, I just don’t know how people can keep up with that every day! It sucks the fun out of it. And I’m not a great role model for cleaning. Somehow every flat surface ends up being covered by some kind of pile…
My motto is: open heart open mind. I heard Seth Godin talk about that during a lecture and it stuck with me. I think about it all the time. I try to start each day with that thought and to be aware of the numerous slips throughout the day… If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s we are all courageous souls.
Family time to me means reading in a hammock with Mae, keeping my son Marius company while he is debriefing about his day, soaking in the tub. Movie night on Fridays, weekends in our lake cabin in the Catskills, holding their little hands, cheering my son when he plays soccer, doing a terranium workshop with my daughter, playing Pictionary, making an obstacle course in the house, or working on the garden all together.
I also really enjoy when we are all together doing our thing in the same room. Me cooking, the kids doing their homework, Michael working on a design… We really like just being together.
Three things you might not know about me:
If I wasn’t an a designer, I’d be… An advocate for underdogs.
All kids really need is… to feel loved and safe and trusted to be their authentic selves.
I’ll never, ever… know my left from my right.