Be Original Americas is a campaign devoted to educating and influencing design professionals and manufacturers on the economic and ethical value of authentic design while protecting and investing in its future. Niche is a proud member, joining the fight with over 100 well-known and respected brands. For the third summer in a row, Be Original Americas is hosting a Design Fellowship. Over the course of seven weeks, this year's fellows, Defne Kansu and Janell Leung, have the opportunity to learn about all facets of creating innovative, high-quality products through hands-on, in-the-field learning. On Monday, they spent time at Niche's headquarters and fully immersed themselves in our design operation.
Defne is originally from Turkey, but she is currently studying Industrial Design at Virginia Tech. When asked why she applied to the Be Original Americas' Fellowship, she said: "As a Fellow, I feel proud to represent an organization that supports originality and authenticity and I think being a participant of Be Original Americas’ fellowship program will shape me greatly as a young designer." You can read more about Defne here and follow the rest of her journey on Instagram @id_efne.
Janell was born and raised in the Bay Area. She is currently in her fourth year studying Architecture at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a minor in Sustainable Environments. When asked why she applied to the Be Original Americas' Fellowship, she said: "This hands-on approach to a wide range of industries will give me a lot of insight and a thorough understanding of the process respective to each field." You can read more about Janell here and follow the rest of her journey on Instagram @dwellwithjanell.
Their Time at Niche
Defne and Janell began their day in the Hot Shop, where our talented team of artisans versed them on the glass-blowing process from start to finish. They quickly tried their hand at production, assisting in the mold pit as our gaffers blew our signature Solitaire pendants.
Afterward, they went straight to the Cold Shop, where they learned to drill and hot pop glass to ensure that our products have a clean finish before they are shipped.
After a quick break for lunch, the girls proved their photography skills with the marketing team, observed how the sales team handles orders from interiors designers and architects, and then they assembled a pendant light with the warehouse team. They finished their day in our product development department, learning how each design begins with a sketch, and how it is transformed through various stages, including CAD and CNC, until a perfect mold is created for the Hot Shop team to use in production.
Defne and Janell were naturals at Niche, and we wish they could have stayed longer. But they both have plenty more to learn in the design world, especially at their next stop at Herman Miller. You can keep following along with their travels and experiences here.