Mind Your Business: Spotlight on 2 Yoke Design
2 Yoke Design is a four year old interior design firm focused on bringing sustainable, healthy practices into their design. The firm started in Portland, but recently moved to Southern Oregon. Even more recently, I sat down with Brienne Wasmer, who opened the business at her home in Central Point, a site that also doubles as a project itself; she tells me the plan is to convert it to a wellness bed and breakfast.
RVM: Can you tell me about your business?
BW: Certainly. 2 Yoke Design started in 2012 out of a desire to fuse two things I love the most, yoga and design. I had to take the chance, start the business, and go off on my own. It’s been going for four years, and I brought in a partner last year to help grow the business. Courtney, my design partner lives in Brooklyn.
RVM: How do you collaborate from such a distance?
BW: Good question! She heads up 2 Yoke East, and I head up 2 Yoke West. We travel a lot! We collaborate long distance. Soon we will launch a blog to explain our unique working model. With the cloud we are able to work together on the same document and be conferencing at the same time. It even feels more intimate than having someone standing next to you over your shoulder.
RVM: What tools do you use?
BW: We are almost exclusively Google. It’s been 95 percent stress-free, with some little kinks, like any technology. It’s phenomenal. She has three hours of work done before I start, then it works vice-versa where I work until I go to bed and she wakes up she has half a day of my work to check out. We also work in Adobe Cloud. And our book-keeping is in the cloud, so we can share it, and now we have hired a few interns. So, I can focus more on running the business. A lot of our business is focused on helping small businesses have the tools to succeed.
RVM: Southern Oregon is a good place to find small businesses?
BW: Very much, that’s why we moved here. Ashland has an amazing healing community and there are a lot of small businesses here. We have seen amazing crafts people.
RVM: You guys completed a local project recently?
BW: We had an amazing time at Cowhorn. Bill and Barbara, the owners have a special partnership in business and in life. They have a mission to provide a biodynamic wine in the valley that would be just exceptional in its flavor and quality and very true to the biodynamic process. The building is an extension of their sustainable belief system and is going for a Living Building challenge, which in my opinion is highest sustainable certification a building can achieve. We are in the process of a one year vetting process to get the certification after the building opened, which was in June.
RVM: What is the building like?
BW: From an interior perspective we wanted to glorify a huge sliding window that basically serves as a huge picture window to the vineyard. The room is almost like a white canvas to absorb the color of the wine and the vineyard. When you grab your first glass of wine you see the end product in addition to where it started. There is a constant wrapping the attention back to the land with subtle, sophisticated moves to help reinforce what they’re doing there.
RVM: What services did you provide?
BW: We did architecture interiors, we did the interior design, selected all of the finishes. Incredibly local, harvested and tooled, and installed, local people, local products. We are in the process of finishing an art installation there. Our full service package interior design package is going all the way from architecture all the way to furnishings. This was an excellent example of that, of the power of design when you carry it through and you have a holistic vision threaded until the very end.