The Home Trust International (HTI): What first compelled you to enter your business field?
Jonathan Haywood (JW): The Possibilities. When I was 18, I started buying and flipping homes. I found that I enjoyed the hands-on approach to renovation. The first one was very simple improvements to a very small house, but I discovered that I had a knack for installing cabinets, tile, fixtures, etc. When concrete found me, a whole new world was opened in that now I could create the fixtures such as countertops, vanity sinks and furniture. There were so many sleepless nights spent researching and imagining all the possibilities with this amazing and completely misunderstood material. Since then, I’ve been refining skills and techniques while pushing out in new directions, trying to stretch myself and the material.
HTI: Who has been the strongest influence on your career?
JH: My wife Ashley has easily been the biggest influence on my career. Can you imagine how bananas it must have sounded for me to say, “Ashley, I want to start a business making high-end, designer concrete?” I had no idea if anyone would see the beauty and potential I saw in concrete, yet she was amazingly supportive of my madness and constantly asked the hard questions that I needed to answer in order to get where I am now. When I sold my first concrete company and went to work for the new owners, only to discover that the role they put me into made me miserable, she was there to encourage me to leave and start fresh. Since then I have put out work of which I am most proud. Many of those pieces I designed and made for her!
HTI: If you could have told your 20-year-old self-one thing, what would it have been?
JH: Fail faster
HTI: Please tell us about your family and your personal life.
JH: I am blessed with an amazing, brilliant and beautiful wife and best friend, Ashley. Together we are launching two rockets named Alexander and Elijah. My passion for design, concrete, and furniture flows from the studio to our home, where I am constantly under some phase of improvement, with Ashley and the boys helping as much as possible.
HTI: Is there a common thread that runs through all great products?
JH: Attention to details. As Charles Eames once said, “The details are not the details. They make the design.”
HTI: Do you prefer the country or the city?
JH: A little bit of both. I love the stillness and quiet of the country, but the city is great for entertainment.
HTI: In what ways has your company or your industry changed over the years?
JH: In the past 10 years, concrete has really seen a big upswing in popularity. People are beginning to see it in a more refined way, not simply cold, rough and synonymous with Brutalist architecture.
HTI: The one thing I’ve had forever is:
JH: I don’t keep things. Nothing is sacred, everything is sacred
HTI: What do you miss the most?
JH: My mind! Ha-ha! I miss the days when I thought I knew everything.
HTI: What is your favorite object that reflects extraordinary design and why?
JH: Aston Martin One-77. The lines are so fluid it looks like the car is moving when it is parked
HTI: What makes a room?
JH: Harmony. All the parts carefully designed to flow together
HTI: What place most inspires you?
JH: The mountains.
HTI: Please tell us about your taste in the arts?
JH: I have a great appreciation for music of many genres. Jazz, Blues, Funk from the 70’s. Oldies are great to me because they’re usually so positive and upbeat. For books I mainly read non-fiction on subjects that interest me. I’m currently reading a book about physics, one about Charles Munger and Warren Buffett, and a guidebook on Italy.
HTI: When you’re not working where are you most likely to be found?
JH: Working on my house, fishing or swimming with my family,
HTI: What makes a great organization?
JH: A great leader. According to The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership a company can only be as great as person at the helm and I truly believe that.
HTI: Why The Home Trust?
JH: A Rising Tide lifts all boats. I hope to better understand how to serve the luxury market and how to better design, create, and communicate luxury items
HTI: If you weren’t in your current field, what would you be doing?
JH: I can’t imagine a life without creating. I have the great luxury of having both my hobby and my work as one and the same.
HTI: Who is on your personal ‘Board of Directors?
JH: My wife, Ashley and the author Rob Bell (I don’t know him personally, but I consider him my spiritual counsel).
HTI: Jonathan, thank you for your time today. Congratulations on being a Leader in Luxury + Design.
Jonathan Haywood is a designer concrete industry visionary and leader. His work has been featured across numerous television networks and shows. Jonathan’s work has shipped throughout North America and Latin America.
Béton Studio creates furnishings to be handed down from generation to generation. Jonathan summarily rejects the notion that products are made to be thrown away. He is committed to providing a relational element to each piece he creates; “heirlooms with a story behind their creation.”