Driven by her love of classic European art and home decor, designer Alaina Young, together with her mother Nancy Young Mosny, founded Q Squared — a luxury melamine tableware company unlike any other.
Named the “pioneer of superior melamine tableware” by Tableware International, Q Squared became known for its high-quality, restaurant grade melamine products. Alaina’s award-winning, hand-drawn patterns and virtually unbreakable dinnerware pieces have been featured in national outlets like The View, InStyle, Vanity Fair, Hamptons Magazine, MarthaStewart.com and more.
Read Alaina’s interview below and get to know the Q Squared founder and chief creative officer.
Q: Tell us about yourself. How did you get started?
Alaina: I was born in New York City and grew up in Vienna, Austria and Sanibel Island, Florida. I was always very inspired by art and design growing up in several different places, which led me to a degree in Art History. I started my journey in design doing set and production design for film, and designing home decor became a natural progression from there.
Q: How would you define your personal design aesthetic?
Alaina: Breathing new life into classic design.
Q: Where do you seek inspiration to kickstart your creative process?
Alaina: When I’m working on a new collection I always ask myself, “Who is this for and what does she want?” Knowing my customer is a great kickstarter for me.
Q: How do you overcome creative blocks?
Alaina: When I feel “stuck” I like to take a step back and work on something else. Sometimes giving a specific design time to breathe and seeing it with fresh eyes helps me to move forward.
Q: Do you have any rules regarding design?
Alaina: It sounds cliché, but I think there are no rules! I’m really open to anything and discussing any ideas that might work. I love challenging traditional style and seeing how that pans out. It keeps things fresh and fun.
Q: Is there one design or collection that changed everything for you? What was it? And what do you think of it today?
Alaina: My Hampton Toile Collection was selected as the Dining category winner in NY NOW’s Best New Product Awards in Winter 2015. It was a labor of love and I still use it at home everyday!
Alaina: Currently, I feel like I’m doing everything that makes me feel good as a designer. I’d like to keep pushing myself to seek different kinds of inspiration in my life that I can share with my customers.
Q: If you were not a designer, is there another career path that intrigues you?
Alaina: I guess I really love being in design because I would love to get into men’s fashion. If I had to step away from the design field, I would love to work with dogs — maybe be a professional dog groomer!
Q: Is there one person who you admire or consider to be your greatest mentor or design inspiration?
Alaina: Beth Rubino is the production designer for Nancy Meyer’s films, and she is amazing. Her sets are like their own characters in her films and I love how everything she does tells a story. I like to bring a sense of that into my work.
Q: What advice would you give to young designers who are just starting out in a commercial marketplace?
Alaina: Trust yourself, don’t be an island, get feedback, be humble, and be nice!