Alissia Melka-Teichroew is the founder and creative director behind the NY-based byAMT design studio. She designs home goods, furniture, and jewelry. In addition, she also works as a collections curator for eBay and freelance art directs for various clients. Since she has her hands so full in the design world, we were interested to learn more about her background, her business, and her favorite sources of inspiration.
Did she always want to become a designer? Not at all. While some designers dreamed about art from the time they were kids, this was not the case for Alissia. She grew up in Holland where, as in France, you are asked to choose a career track from a very young age. Throughout elementary and high school, Alissia gravitated toward subjects related to sociology and anthropology. She strayed from the curriculum only to take a craft class in high school and art history in college.
The big push to make a career switch finally came after visiting a friend in design school. “My eyes opened and I thought wait a minute this is really interesting,” she said. But getting into design school was a challenge in itself. She had low hopes since “only 70 out of 1200 or something get in” but she beat the odds and then pursued her design education passionately. Although this wasn’t her intended path, she views her career switch as “a nice surprise.” One look at her creations and we’re sure you’ll agree.
After moving to New York in 2005, Alissia founded byAMT Studio. Over the past 10 years, she’s designed and produced a variety of successful creations but she doesn’t have a favorite. Instead, she regards each project individually and enjoys the process of seeing it through from start to finish. “Coming up with all these ideas and seeing them fall into place… with everything lining up, like the materials and details of each object, that’s my favorite part,” Alissia said.
She told us the stories of some of her most popular creations:
One of her oldest designs, ‘the diamond ring,’ “was the first one that I self-produced in the US at a more mass level,” she noted.
Her ‘strap collection’ of leather bags and baskets was conceived as part of a specialty exhibit by a hardware retailer. She chose leather straps for the base because of the contrast they represented: “If you look at it from a housewares perspective, it’s more female because it’s leather and soft, whereas coming from a hardware store you tend to think of men and heavy, dark, rough materials.”
The idea behind the ‘jointed collection’ initially grew from studying 3D modeling in grad school. Like most of her designs, the jointed jewel pieces came out of playful exploration. “The whole point behind the first one was to look at traditional sort of shapes and over-exaggerate them in a way because I wanted to celebrate these very simple yet recognizable shapes,” she said.
With the holidays upon us, we asked Alissia to recommend her favorite unique gift ideas from her eBay shop. These much-loved pieces are her top picks:
- Diamond Acrylic Ring
- Diamond Silver Ring
- Inside Out Champagne Glasses
- Little Big Trivet for AREAWARE
- Cle USB
Lastly, since she’s a curator for eBay, we asked Alissia to share her best shopping tips and favorite searches and listings and she certainly didn’t disappoint. Here’s the 411 on her eBay finds: “It’s always hard to find new screws or little parts for Eames chairs so everything I’ve bought has been related to Eames products so far. But I honestly kind of enjoy mostly looking at all the vintage stuff that’s on eBay, particularly the furniture but also the electronics.” Like us, she wishes she had more space in her apartment to buy all the design classics she loves but for now she just puts them in her personal curated collections. Check them out right here.
Or, browse byAMT on eBay, here.