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Meet Stephanie Castellon and Karem Ramirez of Novare Studio in North East Dallas

Today we’d like to introduce you to Stephanie Castellon and Karem Ramirez.

Stephanie and Karem, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Initially, we began RHINO, our original name, as our hobby while in Architecture school. We look back at it now and are amazed at our dedication and think ‘wow we were ambitious young women’ to make the time and keep this going through such an intense degree program. This all started as a way to translate our passion for design into something tangible. Early on in school, we were prepared and conditioned to use machines as tools for the design process for model making. We really saw this as an opportunity to continue our design learning outside of school. The best part for us was that we had control over the design process, prototyping, and making. The ability to transform a 3d form into a physical model really changed our views on prototyping and manufacturing. With access to digital fabrication in school, we transitioned our design abilities from architecture to art and other forms.

When we were not slammed with studio work, we would try our best to go to markets and craft fairs on the weekends. As we received fantastic responses from our clients, we decided to rebrand our studio. You see everything started as a creative outlet, but once we noticed people were actually interested in our designs, it encouraged us to grow our business. Our ambition is to continue exploring new digital fabrication methods, where our designs can come to life.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
The journey hasn’t been a smooth ride, but it has been filled with exciting moments. Our greatest challenge at the beginning was time management. Since we started this in our college years, we had to manage work and school, all while starting our small business. There were times when it just seemed easier to only focus on school but having each other to count on making it easier, and our passion kept us going. Thanks to the balance we made it through college, even though there were some moments where we would stay up to design a product in the middle of the night. For us it was normal, coming from architecture studio culture but nowadays, we still manage our full-time job as well as our store, all while getting a full night’s rest. It has become a bit easier, even with new challenges now.

We have no business background, so learning how to start and take care of our shop has been a challenge. Our eagerness to grow our store has kept us going and forced us to learn. Every day is different, and this is the main reason why we enjoy it. We’re always up for a design challenge and especially with our custom pieces.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Novare Studio – what should we know?
Novare is a design studio that connects art and design with digital fabrication. Our design aesthetic is unique, you can really see the influence architecture has not only in our designs but also in our process. One thing that sets us apart is that we have an exciting way of mixing a common material, such as wood, with modern fabrication. Mixing materials and methods are themes and ideas we hope to transmit through our pieces. We hope to show technology as a tool for making and an extension to visual dimension. We are known for mainly use the laser cutter, you can see how we work that element into our color pallet, and in the future, we hope to expand our machines.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
Our family and friends are our biggest supporters, we wouldn’t have had the courage to start a business without them. They still play an essential role in encouraging us daily. Our clients are also an important motivation for us. Their positive reactions to our designs give us such a fantastic feeling.

We would like to give a thank you to our friends who helped us along this journey and a special thanks to, Clodagh Ryan. She started with us back when we were in Architecture school, and we were known as Rhino by CKS. She helped us design and produce our very first products.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:

Gervy Ramirez

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