The Interview — Ashley Stark, Creative Director of STARK
Ashley Stark Kenner is Creative Director of STARK, the legendary carpet and fabric company founded by her grandparents, Arthur and Nadia Stark, in 1938. STARK has been synonymous with the world's finest floorcoverings since its inception and has been the go-to resource for top interior decorators for decades. Ashley was raised in New York City, and knew that she wanted to be part of the family business from a very young age. Her interest was nurtured by her grandmother, who frequently took her to the STARK showroom as a child to learn the business. A life-long design enthusiast, Ashley redecorated her own bedroom when she was 14, and later, when STARK acquired the iconic fabric house Old World Weavers, Ashley was taught by its founders, Iris and Carl Apfel, everything there is to know about textiles. The Apfels often stayed with her late into the night, quizzing her on the nuances of jacquards and brocades. Ashley's love of fashion greatly influences her work as STARK's Creative Director, as she draws from current trends to develop designs and translates them into the most luxurious carpets and rugs. Ashley is also the design influencer behind @ashleytstark on Instagram. With over 685,000 followers and counting, Ashley has been rapidly gaining attention on Instagram thanks to her carefully curated inspirational design photos. Ashley is a graduate of Brown University, where she studied history and business. She lives in New York City with her husband and three children.
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How did you get started in your career and what lead you to your current role as Creative Director for Stark Carpets and founder of Scalamandre:
STARK is my family business, which was started by my late Grandfather over 80 years ago. I have wanted to be involved in the company my whole life and started interning at STARK in college.
Walk us through a typical work day:
I don’t have a typical day at work. I am often juggling my job at STARK and my Instagram @ashleytstark. I never know where my day will lead me.
View Ashley's Essentials
Who has had the biggest impact on your career:
My parents. Both of them have shaped me: my mom is always pushing me to do more, and my father has been an inspiration to me.
Biggest challenge you've faced in your career and how did you overcome this obstacle:
My biggest challenge was having children and figuring out the work-life balance as a mom. Every day it’s a struggle, but I have gotten better at it.
Your most recent beauty discovery:
I recently have become obsessed with Alastin tinted sunscreen. It always makes my skin look flawless.
A secret talent we should know about:
I am a very good surfer and skier. I went to the Junior Olympics for ski racing as a teen.
What’s a home trend you predict will catch on this year:
I think people are swinging a little more comfortable-traditional.
What do you love most about your work:
My freedom to be creative and to see my visions come to fruition.
What inspires your artistic process:
I am inspired by my travels and my visits to France.
Describe your personal style:
Funky-traditional with a bohemian edge.