We caught up with the brilliant and insightful DAVID CHARETTE and JAY BRITTO N/A a few weeks ago and have shared our conversation below.
Alright, DAVID CHARETTE and JAY BRITTO thanks for taking the time to share your stories and insights with us today. What do you think Corporate America gets wrong in your industry?
Corporate America is, by its fundamental nature, designed to be conservative in its solutions and in the market sectors. That, in my opinion, is dangerous because it means large corporations are not necessarily going to take risks–something that’s really important in interior design and architecture. Also, I believe there has been a lack of courage in corporate America and that’s part of the reason scandalous and dangerous behavior has been allowed to happen–as exposed by the Me, Too movement, etc. Lots of people knew bad things were happening but they did nothing, often due to worries about money. And that’s in part because of the structure of firms where principals own shares; it means that those principals rely on each other to vote, so they don’t call others, or each other, out on bad behaviors. Principals protect principals. You need to have systems in place and documentation in place that allow for people to be called out.
In my experience, I saw that promotions at large firms were often granted based on a conservative, toe-the-line advancement model. Employees were rewarded for being “safe” and not for thinking differently. And that’s a big problem for large firms because star architects do things that are bold. That make statements and are innovative and forward-thinking. Architecture and interior design are supposed to be art forms. But corporate America tends to play to the “up or out” mentality which is counterproductive to creatives and creativity itself. Those conservative qualities of the big architecture firms keep many people who have incredible ideas from seeking out those big corporate firms. Many architects and designers understand that if they want to create something truly visionary, it will probably need to be done outside the constraints of a corporate firm. Instead, they open their own businesses where they can explore their creativity and don’t have to contend with being underpaid and overworked as so many of us who worked as junior staff at big firms did.
Great, appreciate you sharing that with us. Before we ask you to share more of your insights, can you take a moment to introduce yourself and how you got to where you are today to our readers
David: BRITTO CHARETTE is a licensed and award-winning full-service interior design firm. We specialize in ultra-luxury residential interiors and are fortunate to have an international roster of fabulous clients. From our studio in Wynwood, Miami’s world-renowned neighborhood, we create custom furniture, accessories, and turnkey interior designs. We are adept at handling complex design challenges and pride ourselves on working collaboratively to provide clients with a comprehensive and unsurpassed design experience.
I am very proud of how our practice has developed since we first opened our doors in 2010. Our team is producing designs of the highest caliber and we are attracting and retaining incredible clients–clients who are like family. And I”m very proud of the fact that many of our clients return to us multiple times to have our team design additional residences for them. There’s no greater compliment than repeat business.
It has also been my mission to put office systems in place that allow us to stand out from the crowd. We invest in the best technology for our employees and our office. We also utilize programs and tools that streamline our design and accounting processes. Effective and efficient. It’s what helps us give our clients outstanding customer service.
We are a creative group and we really do love our work. It’s energizing to be in our office environment with a team that is constantly looking for ways to push forward. And we emphasize having fun. From our office lunches (I love to make chili for the team) to our annual Halloween antics (this past year we were dinosaurs (https://www.brittocharette.com/halloween-fun-in-our-wynwood-miami-studio/) to having our dogs Kylo and Midas with us every day, it’s just a fun place to be.
What do you find most rewarding about being a creative?
JAY: The most rewarding aspect of being an interior designer is when you see the design really coming together. And the ultimate is when delivering the project to the client. It’s so fulfilling to see how happy they are in their new home–how they are enjoying spaces that you created. Being entrusted with our clients’ homes and personal belongings and having that glimpse into their private lives is something our team takes really seriously. We are honored to have our clients’ trust.
I’m proud of our team and the work quality we deliver. Our longstanding goal is to be the best in our field and to create interiors that have our signature touch but that are unique to our individual client’s needs. Achieving that is the most rewarding of all.
Let’s talk about resilience next – do you have a story you can share with us?
DAVID: A story from my journey that illustrates resilience is from 2003 when I decided to make a big move and to live out West. I had made a promise to myself that I wasn’t going to spend another winter in Michigan. I knew I had to make a change because I wasn’t happy in my career. While Michigan is lovely, it was not my intent to stay forever. For me to grow, it meant I had to make changes, and taking a leap of faith by moving would present me with a great opportunity for personal and professional growth. October rolled around and I knew I had less than a month before snow would start. My dad helped me fix the brakes on my trusty Jetta, and then I was off. I left in a hurry with my resume copies beside me on the front seat and just drove west. I stopped along the way at sites that interested me and dropped off my resume at firms I was interested in.
I had a job offer in San Diego with a medium sized firm. But when chatting with a local business woman about my move across the country, she asked me why I was stopping there. After hearing my story she said she thought I’d love San Francisco and that I should check it out. So I did. I hopped back in my trusty Jetta and took Highway 1 to San Francisco. I’d been wanting to drive that stretch of highway for years, so it seemed perfect. I arrived in the city on a Saturday and received a call from a recruiter with a job offer. He told me my start date was Monday. So, without an apartment or anyone to stay with, I lived in the parking garage of what is now the Hilton in the Financial District in order to save money. I’d get up early, use their bathrooms, grab a piece of fruit and go to work. Then I’d eat lunch at a cheap but good buffet restaurant. I did that for a week while looking for an apartment and it was an adventure.
San Francisco turned about to be an incredible place for me. I found a place to live, roommates, and got to know the city. I took classes in Monterrey, took up rock climbing. Took skiing classes at North Star in Tahoe. I attended yoga nad meditation retreats in Big Sur and biked from San Francisco to L.A. And I did a lot of camping–something I had loved as a kid–including at Yosemite and also at rural sites in the state. Two of my biggest adventures were learning to skydive at Gilroy and learning to scuba. Freshwater visibility is a bit tougher, so being able to scuba in California was amazing. It was also an exciting chance to be solo–to really learn about myself. I also joined a gay running group at the Golden Gate Bridge.
Driving cross-country by myself–without a job waiting for me–and starting fresh in San Francisco was the beginning of a profound period of growth for me. The journey created the resilience. Knowing something isn’t right and then fixing it is the epitome of resilience. Fixing it creates confidence and confidence creates resilience and feeds it–it’s a loop. They build on each other. Resilience isn’t static, it’s like a muscle. You know when something isn’t working. You can ignore it but it will keep popping up until you address it. The greatest leaps of faith provide you with resilience and confidence. To avoid the pitfalls of regret, you have to do something. You have to move and keep momentum building in order to build resilience and live to your potential.
- Website: https://www.brittocharette.com
- Instagram: @brittocharette
- Facebook: Britto Charette Llc
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/david-charette-02b0494
- Twitter: @brittocharette
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAkYHeiKEXrMytFeSb9TO4w
- Other: Pinterest: @brittocharette
Photographers to credit: 1. for the image of the three glass accessories, the image of the three porcelain accessories, and the image of David and Jay: please credit photographer Franklin Castillo 2. For the pink champagne room: please credit Alexia Fodere 3. For the sunset lounge (image with a white sofa that hugs a mirrored wall on the left side of the room): please credit Alexia Fodere 4. remaining images can just be “courtesy of Britto Charette”