A Conversation with Adrienne Rynes
If you haven’t already, meet Adrienne Rynes, Collective Design's President of Design. Recently named an Influential Woman of Design by Luxe Magazine, with over a decade of experience in the industry, we sit down with her to talk about what sets Collective apart, what a day in the life looks like, and the why behind Collective’s greater purpose.
Describe Collective Design Group. What sets you apart in the industry?
Collective Design Group offers integrated interior design and architecture services. While our functional business is design, our greater purpose is to enhance the lives of others. That focus is what sets us apart, not just in the industry, but in the greater culture of our country. Personal connection matters deeply.
Did you always want to work in the design industry? Was there a pivotal moment that made this clear to you?
Subconsciously, I believe I always wanted to work in the design industry, but I didn’t start my career in interior design. My academic focus was business and communications. I also minored in art history, always having a passion for the arts and historical events that were documented through design. I first worked as a consultant for Accenture in Washington, DC, and then as a marketing director for a smaller firm in Western Massachusetts. It wasn’t until building my own home in MA that I discovered my passion for all things design. That passion drove me back to school to focus on interior design and subsequently start my own interior design business.
Talk about mentors who shaped and inspired you personally and professionally.
I’ve met so many incredible people throughout my career that have shaped and inspired me personally and professionally. There are two women who impacted me the most. First, my grandmother. She taught me to love and appreciate the arts. Growing up, we went to countless musical performances, plays, ballets, and museums. Her profound appreciation for creative landscapes and people fueled my desire to learn as much as possible about art’s history and the world’s storytelling through singing, dancing, and painting.
The second woman I met my sophomore year in college. I was a business student at George Washington University and was lucky to have an internship at a firm called WomanTrends, co-founded by a woman named Diana Holman. WomanTrends was the first company to analyze and interpret trends created by and affecting female consumers. Diana taught me how to research, analyze, and write about these market trends in the firm’s quarterly newsletter, whose subscribers included companies such as Bloomingdales and Estee Lauder. It was an incredible experience to be a part of a company that genuinely cared about women’s values and to learn from a woman as progressive as Diana.
Who do you consider to be the ultimate female icons of your trade? What unique strengths or points of view do you feel they bring to design?
Before my love of interior design, I had a love of fashion design. From the beginning, fashion represented culture, and culture and history have always driven trends in interiors. While Dorothy Draper paved the way for female designers with her vivacious color accents, we cannot forget about one of the most influential female fashion icons, Coco Channel, and her idea that “luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury.” This philosophy is easily considered when designing a home’s interiors. The functionality of space is equally as important as the design of space itself.
What goal do you have for Collective Design Group in the future? Why?
My major goal for Collective Design Group is to drive more progressive design in mountain markets, leading the communities in which we work, and leaving a legacy of positive impact for others to continue cultivating. Our greater purpose is simple – to continue to enhance the lives of others.
Are there any thought-provoking books, podcasts, or other materials you’d recommend to your colleagues and/or future female design leaders? Why?
I recently read, Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh, where the theme of the book is delivering happiness while living a life of passion and purpose. Recognizing that I discovered my passion for interior design later in life, I was enthusiastic to share Hsieh’s initial boredom with what society thought he should do versus what he was passionate about doing and why his passion led to greater success. That idea resonates with our team’s greater purpose of enhancing the lives of others. Ultimately, that’s what we’re all about.
Describe your typical workday.
Wake up early, Crossfit or skin uphill (new favorite sport!), and snuggle with my boys before having breakfast together and getting them off to school. At the office, I prep for my day, planning for meetings and reviewing design sets. Most days are spent on business development opportunities, connecting with new clients in the mountains.
What motivates and energizes you for your workday like nothing else?
Tuesdays. The entire Collective Team is in the office, including our interior designers from Summit County, Denver, and the Vail Valley. The energy that’s created when everyone is working collectively in one space, sourcing, scheming, and selecting fabric and wall coverings, is electric. The synergy when we’re all together, sharing ideas, and telling stories, is like nothing else. Creativity is at an all-time high, and the vibe is pure joy.
Talk about any projects or properties you’ve designed and/or overseen that exemplify your style, aesthetic, and unique professional skills.
Originally from New England, I have always loved the juxtaposition of old and new materials, creating spaces that enhance the overall feel of a home. Recently, our team finished a project in Breckenridge where we worked with the client to select reclaimed materials from their childhood region. While not typically common in mountain modern design, inserting history is both inspirational and relevant. Our market is not looking to preserve the past, but as designers, we’re interested in creating spaces that are unique to them and routed in their history.
If you weren’t in this profession, what would you be doing? Why?
I’d be a full-time mom with a wicked Pinterest account. I have two boys, 9 and 11 and they are my inspiration for everything I get to create. With them, I’d travel the world writing a blog about experiencing food, culture, and design as a family.
What does the future hold for women in design? How would you like to see the industry evolve with respect to the space it holds for women?
Recently, on a trip to Tuscany with my family, I took my children on a wine and honey tasting experience. During the honey tasting, the story of the honeybees was revealed, explaining that the male bee was critical in the reproduction of the species, but the female worker bee was ultimately responsible for all that sweet goodness that we love so much. Sounds about right to me and feels like everyone should know and understand that story!
Women in design will define the path of the vision, rather than simply participating.
Is there anything else you wish to add?
I’ve worked with a lot of different people in my career, but I couldn’t be more excited and grateful to my current team. They’re my passion and my inspiration. I’m currently at an all-time high, loving what I do, with the people I’m with.
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