Ashley Stark Kenner is Creative Director of STARK, which is a 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 and has been a go-to resource for various top interior decorators for decades.
Ashley was raised in New York City. From her young ages she wanted to be part of the Family Business, she mentioned during one of her interviews. Her interest was supported by her grandmother, who frequently took her to the STARK showroom as a child in order to learn the business. A life-long fashion enthusiast Ashley, redecorated her own bedroom when she was about 14 years old.
After some period of time, when STARK acquired the iconic fabric house Old World Weavers, Ashley was taught about everything connected with textiles by its founders, Iris and Carl Apfel.The Apfels often stayed with Ashley late into the night, they were quizzing her on nuances of jacquards and brocades. Ashley’s love for fashion greatly influences her work as STARK’s creative director, as she draws from current trends to develop design and later “translates” them into the most luxurious rugs and carpets.
Ashley considers her grandmother as the main source of inspiration. When she was little she remembers that her grandmother always took her to the their family’s company, STARK, and teached her about different types of carpets and rugs. Ashley remembers her grandmother as a very strong, powerful woman, an idol whom she always wanted to emulate.
For Ashley growing up in a family which has its own Family Business has lots of advantages. She said that her work is in her blood and that she devoted her whole career to expanding and bringing the company to a new phase. STARK is Ashely’s passion and for her it was a very exciting opportunity being The Creative Designer at STARK and being able to cut her teeth from very young ages, learning so much about the business before she even actually worked there.
Ashley talked about different challenges and highlights during her tenure at STARK. When she first joined STARK, at that time the company was ruled by only men, primarily by her father and uncle and it was a very long time since the feminine touch had been lost. She fought for colors that were soft like grey or lavender which will obviously go on to become the best-selling colors of the company. Gaining the trust of her father and uncle was a real challenge for Ashley. The greatest tenure of working in STARK was working tirelessly to create designs and after traveling to Nepal and India, to see how everything is being made.
The most important lesson of this strong woman was to always trust in yourself and your instincts and always stand up for everything that you believe in.
Ashley Stark has an Instagram account with over 1M followers. On this platform, she mainly shares interior design or how they design a townhouse. But she also has a highlight calles “OOTD”. Here you can see various looks of the designer and maybe this will inspire you to make changes in your style.
Ashley graduated from Brown University, in New York, where she studied business and history.
As for now she lives in New York with her husband and two children. For Ashley maintaining the work and life balance was the hardest. “Having two children under 3 was a huge awakening but eventually you found your groove and realize you don’t have to be there for everything” – mentioned Ashley during one of her interviews.
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