Meet Jade Joyner of Metal + Petal
By Robin Gibson
"A lot of designer firms are not truly transparent in their pricing. We are 100% transparent and we pride ourselves on our very direct approach." — Jade Joyner
Jade Joyner, along with her husband, Graham, foundedMetal + Petal,a full service interior design firm, in Athens, GA back in 2016. Together, they "pair simplicity with decadence, masculine with feminine, Southern style with European flair, and sophistication with soul," as described by the company's website. In that relatively short time frame, the duo has amassed a huge following and media attention fromRachel Ray,Martha Stewart,HGTV,Southern Living,The New York TimesandCoastal Living,to name a few.
An Alabama native, Jade spent almost 15 years in Europe working on interiors and opened her first interior design firm in Budapest before returning to her Southern roots. We recently sat down with the designer to talk about what inspires her, what sets her firm apart, working with a spouse, and what she expects from Metal + Petal's exciting expansion to Charleston.
What about Charleston made you want to do business here?
JJ: We love the South and we knew we wanted to be in the Mecca of the South. For us, that's Charleston. We love the people, the vibe, the European lifestyle. Charleston has great energy. We also noted the presence of a lot of traditional designers here who create “coastal” interiors or “sweet” designs. All white, precious places. While we think that’s fabulous, it's not us.
We have a badass factor in all of our design work and that has been most welcomed by our Charleston clientele. We are not bringing Charleston to Charleston, we are bringing a whole new aesthetic. A new look. A new way to work with a design firm. A new approach. Our intention is to serve clients that want transparency and international designs that speak to the client’s lifestyle.
How does your team at Metal + Petal differ from other interior design firms?
JJ: We are absolutely unique in our approach to design. There’s no one like us. And I do not mean only aesthetically. A lot of designer firms are not truly transparent in their pricing. We are 100% transparent and we pride ourselves on our very direct approach. We are simply here to help you create beautiful interiors and work with your budget, not to pull the wool over your eyes.
I tell my team: we are not curing cancer nor are we saving lives. We are just making beautiful interiors that allow our clients to live and work well. It should be easy, fun, and creatively fulfilling. Aesthetically, we are modern traditionalists who push boundaries in intentional ways and embrace uncommon beauty.
What are some pros and cons to having your husband as your business partner?
JJ: I love this question. Early on, friends of ours who work together in their own business gave us great advice. They said, “make sure everyone stays in their own lanes”. Graham is the CFO, so he makes all the money decisions. He also runs all the installs and build-outs. I don’t get involved or second guess his decisions. I run about everything else and he doesn’t pick paint colors or manage many clients. We stay in our own lanes. Some days, I don’t even see Graham.
The hard part of working with your husband is that it’s very easy to fall into work conversations when you are home or out on a date. So we have this brilliant visual we made for ourselves (with the help of our marriage counselor) which is when we walk in the door to our home, we put the briefcase down.
We remind each other of this almost daily. If we are out for dinner and I discuss work, he will gently nudge me and say “I left my briefcase in the car,” and we redirect to our personal life. While we love being in business together, and we live and breathe our work, we are a family first.
"I don’t design anything weird but I do embrace the spaces, working with them — not against them, incorporating fresh ideas, and providing a fresh take on a traditional approach."
Favorite spaces to design and why?
JJ: I began my career working with young families in their residences, so my heart will always belong to making a beautiful space for new families. Lately, I have been working on a lot of residential projects for clients and their 2nd homes. That’s fun because there’s usually a bit more creative freedom in those types of projects. Commercial projects are my favorite because you’re challenged to manifest the brand in a physical space.
Having started in advertising and marketing, as a business owner I deeply appreciate the components of a brand. Everything we do as a company is to add depth and value to our brand. We created our headquarters in Athens to be a home for our brand and it has been so impactful for our business. We have a lot of exciting projects going on in Athens, from spas and yoga studios to event and office spaces. We look forward to making our mark in the commercial landscape of Charleston.
Describe your design style in three words?
JJ: Modern. Traditional. Bespoke.
Best piece of business advice you ever received?
JJ: The best piece of business advice I have ever received is to listen to your gut, trust red flags, and don’t cry in the office. Business is business. It’s not personal, even when it feels like it is. Your business will tell you when it’s time to hire. Your business will tell you when it’s time to expand. And once you see a red flag, whether with an employee or a client, just know there will be many more and act accordingly.
We understand you have plans to open a studio here. Any locations in mind?
JJ: While it’s very hush-hush for now, we are looking at a space right now and hoping to sign the lease in July. We will start with our studio, which will initially be open by appointment only, and then grow it into a second location for our Athens store and studio very quickly. We plan on having an opening party to launch our new space in September, and we can not wait to help more clients in Charleston.
"We have a badass factor in all of our design work and that has been most welcomed by our Charleston clientele."
What do you most look forward to in the Charleston market?
JJ: The growth, architecture, and rich culture of Charleston create the perfect opportunity for a creative revolution. We look forward to meeting residential and commercial clients who are willing to push the envelope and make their mark on the city. We also look forward to creating a home for ourselves in such a tight-knit market that invests in only the most spectacular things.
Are there any future CHS projects you feel comfortable teasing?
JJ: So. Many. Good. Projects. Coming. In. Charleston. We’re working on a few new builds and a bunch of beautiful remodels, and are currently in talks with a few commercial builders since our commercial work is just outstanding.
What inspires you more about the Interior Design industry and/or your team specifically?
JJ: Design is always evolving. Every day I learn something new. Whether it’s a new method of painting or new material. You never truly conquer design. It’s an art and a skill. I am always expanding my creative hats and pushing myself to do more, try more. I am also fearless in design and allowing myself to feel limitless has been one of my greatest gifts to myself as a professional. I don’t design anything weird but I do embrace the spaces, working with them — not against them, incorporating fresh ideas, and providing a fresh take on a traditional approach.
Where do you feel your most creative self?
JJ: I'm most creative in my studio with my team working on projects or styling a client’s house. I love our creatives and the amount of passion we all throw into our work. We all have such a great deal of love for all of our projects and clients. We truly love what we do and invest in our projects. I use travel to get inspired and I travel often. It breaks up my daily routines and gives me a new perspective. Having lived in Europe for more than half my life, exploration in travel is where I thrive.
Editor's note: Images provided by Charlotte Berger PR and used with permission courtesy of Jade Joyner and Metal + Petal. See Discovering Grit's own Cortney Bishop for additional coverage of designers by Charleston Grit.