The Creation of Citra Studio: What Caused Us to Start a Furniture Studio
I’d love to be able to tell you that Citra Studio is a fairytale come to life – that Jess and I have been passionate about furniture and interior design since we started drawing with Crayons. The truth is, Citra Studio was not something born from our young imaginations. It is something more: the culmination of passions, interests, skills, and life experiences that we have picked up over the years. The entrepreneurial spirit that drove us to create Citra Studio was one we’ve shared throughout our lives. The rest of the factors that lead us here were built up over time.
Though I’ve always had a talent for art in general, I truly found my calling with furniture and interior design in college. My close friend, fellow classmate, and former roommate Rebecca Keating shared my interest in entrepreneurship and I joked with her often about how Jess and I would eventually go into business together. After all, every designer needs an engineer to make a project’s vision complete. After graduating and starting my first design job, it became clear to me that being a designer was not the only thing I wanted out of my career. I wanted to take full control of my success story, and craft a career that allowed me to be more than just a designer.
Meanwhile, Jess started his first full-time job in engineering. His focus and drive was on climbing the corporate ladder and making his way to the executive level. Three years later, he found himself burning out at age 27, working 70-80 hours a week, with more of the same impracticality in work-life balance ahead of him. Stressed and frustrated by “the system”, Jess switched companies and looked for a new path. Breaking out and starting his own business was always intriguing to him, but an option that seemed far-fetched at the time. It was around this transition that Jess reached out to me, asking if I had any side projects in mind - something small we could build together and possibly sell on Facebook Marketplace. We did end up dabbling in a few projects here and there, but nothing really stuck long term.
Then it hit - the true catalyst behind the creation of Citra Studio. The coronavirus swept over the globe and I was laid off due to the lack of work it created. The total upheaval of the economic climate caused by the pandemic completely changed the employment game. Suddenly, it was just as risky to find new full-time employment as it was to start a business! This time I reached out to Jess, and asked if he would be willing to work on a big idea with me. He almost immediately agreed. The desire to build a business from scratch had always been there, but now the perfect opportunity to try our hand at it had presented itself, and we weren’t about to let it pass us by.
In the beginning, the idea for Citra Studio was simply a furniture and decor store that housed my own designs while Jess would help engineer and produce them. Quickly, the concept for the store grew into something more powerful. Pulling from good and bad experiences in our careers, we had a strong desire to create a business that embodied the values that we share and the culture and practices we believe a modern business should have. Looking around at the current furniture industry, we saw affordable, but cheaply made, run of the mill options. We also found beautifully made and attainable designer furniture, but in designs that are decades old and can be found anywhere. Enter Citra Studio. We wanted to give rise to designer furniture that is new, inspiring, and risk-taking. We wanted to create a design studio that treats furniture as an investable work of art that facilitates full expression of self through your home, that produces collections with intention and purpose and rejects wasteful throwaway practices. We had our vision, and dove into creating just that.
It took many iterations to reach our final vision for Citra Studio and we’re incredibly proud of what we’ve created. Citra Studio is our answer to uninspired, low-quality home goods you’ve seen a thousand times. We aim to deliver long-lasting, truly unique pieces of art that are entirely “yours”. This is why we produce every design in numbered limited runs, accompanied with a note from the designer regarding the creation of each piece. It’s more than just a piece of furniture. It is art with a story and personality. Although all designs currently available have been created by yours truly, in the future I won’t be the only designer serving up expressive works. We hope you enjoy the beautiful furniture we have to offer and that you’ll keep in touch and check back for featured designers to come.
Learn more about Citra Studio on the About Us page.