May 25, 2023 | Spotlights

Armin Driver, Copeland Furniture

by

Designing with Passion and Purpose

For our May 2023 member spotlight, we had the pleasure of speaking with Armin Driver during the April High Point Furniture Market. 

Armin is the Design Director at Copeland, a renowned furniture company, and her journey into the furniture industry was unique. Join us as we delve into Armin’s experiences, inspirations, and valuable insights into the world of furniture design.

Q&A

WithIt: Armin, we’d love to hear how you initially got involved in the furniture industry. Could you share your story with us?

Armin Driver: Sure! My path into the furniture industry was different from most. I studied interior design in India and then pursued a woodworking program at the College of the Redwoods in Northern California. 

While searching for job opportunities, I kept asking people, “Where can I find a job?” Then someone referred me to Tim Copeland and said, “You can ask him. He’s in the industry.” When I asked him and he goes, “Oh, we’re looking for somebody.”

After sharing my work, I joined Copeland and made my move into the manufacturing side of the furniture industry.

WithIt: We didn’t realize that! What made you believe Copeland was the right fit for you?

Armin: Several factors made Copeland an ideal fit for me. 

Firstly, it’s a small company that specializes in solid wood furniture, which is what I studied for at the College of the Redwoods. Additionally, my role at Copeland is diverse, allowing me to contribute not only to product design but also marketing and other creative aspects of the company. 

The constant innovation and variety of projects make it an exciting and fulfilling job. It’s not boring. We are constantly doing new stuff all the time. I could not do a boring job. 

WithIt: What advice would you give to students aspiring to be in a similar position?

Armin: My advice would be to do thorough research because real-world experiences often differ from what you learn in college. Seek internships, collaborate with professionals, and gain a comprehensive understanding of the industry and how it functions.

WithIt: How involved are you in the manufacturing process? Do you spend much time in the factory?

Armin: I’m actively involved in the factory. As a small company, we collaborate closely, and I’m often on the floor, engaging in discussions, attending production meetings, and overseeing various aspects of manufacturing. It’s advantageous to have our production facility nearby. It facilitates seamless communication and efficiency.

WithIt: With WithIt’s current focus on mentoring, do you recall any standout mentors in your own life?

Armin: Yes, absolutely. I’ve been fortunate to have mentors both in India and the United States. One notable mentor was an architect named Nari Gandhi, who tragically passed away during my time working with him. His influence and guidance were instrumental in shaping my design perspective. His legacy as a renowned architect who worked with Frank Lloyd Wright continues to inspire me to this day.

Meeting him was a coincidence. My whole life has been a series of coincidences. I always admired his work, and I worked at a company in India at the time with two partners. One of the partners had worked in Italy and there were some visitors coming from there one day. So, they asked if we could meet Nari Gandhi. 

Because we had a cultural religion in common, I called him and left him a voicemail. He liked my name and wanted to know what it meant so he called me back. Eventually, we started working with him, and I was kind of the point person. 

WithIt: Okay, but now we need to know what your name means since he was so curious about it. 

Armin: It means dweller of Paradise in Persian. My ancestors were from Persia but fled to India in the seventh century. 

WithIt: Did you always know you had a tilt for the design world? 

Armin: Creative? Yes. I hated studying science and math. Just didn’t like it at all. But I loved art or anything creative. So, yes, I did feel I didn’t want to go down a traditional career path. 

In my job now, there’s some amount of math, but it’s more geometry than calculus. 

WithIt: Apart from your work, what are your hobbies or interests outside of the furniture industry?

Armin: I enjoy watching movies and shows in my free time. Sometimes, unexpected sources like movies or observing the world around me can spark new design ideas.

WithIt: Lastly, does living in Vermont influence Copeland’s essence and design approach?

Armin: Living in Vermont undeniably influences Copeland’s essence and design approach. The state’s natural beauty and emphasis on sustainability have a profound impact on our values and inspire us to prioritize environmental stewardship in every aspect of our work. Not only how we design the furniture, but also everything we do in the factory. 

WithIt: Finally, what would you say is your favorite part of your job?

Armin: I would say the wood. I’ve always liked wood, its warmth, and what you can do with it. It’s got so much variety and character. 

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Armin’s journey into the furniture industry, her dedication to design, and her commitment to sustainability exemplify her passion and purpose. As the Design Director at Copeland, Armin’s creative vision and hands-on approach have contributed to the company’s success. We are excited to see how she continues to shape the future of furniture design with her unique perspective and expertise.

No matter where you are in your career, we hope you found inspiration from our conversation with Armin.And if you’re considering WithIt membership for your professional journey, find out more about WithIt’s mission here or make the decision to join today.

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