Austin-based Rowena Lei continues to capture our attention with the understated beauty and subtle sophistication of the artisanal handcrafted goods she offers through August Sage—from ceramics to furniture and so many things in between. Lei collaborates with artisans all over the world—Kenya, Mexico and beyond—to produce modern home decor with uncompromising materials and master craftsmanship. Read on as we chat with Lei about her endeavor.
Tell us about yourself. I grew up near Seattle and moved to Austin in 2016. I’m first-generation Chinese-American. Over the years, I slowly transitioned into a creative direction—with a house remodel, studying interior design and then with August Sage.
Why did you decide to launch August Sage? I began feeling wasteful styling my home with meaningless pieces. I would hold on to a few treasured items from my travels that were made with time-honored artistry and technique, and it dawned on me: I wanted things people had taken care to create. I valued natural materials and soulful craftsmanship.
What does August Sage offer? Hand-crafted, natural-material home accents.
Describe your aesthetic. A juxtaposition between raw and refined, with neutral, earthy materials in elegant forms. At August Sage, we embody sophisticated and philosophical ways of living, such as Japanese wabi-sabi.
How do you support artisans around the world? We deeply value our artisan relationships. Our partnership support connects them to the global economy and helps them develop business structures. The goal is to create opportunities for them to pursue growth in their own business, or to explore other personal passions.