we want your job

We Want Your Job: Furniture Buyer

by Amy Azzarito

Design*Sponge/We Want Your Job

Growing up in a tiny town in Arkansas, I had no idea of all the amazing creative jobs out there in the world. Grace and I were huge fans of the job column in ReadyMade Magazine. Since that column (and the magazine) is not longer in existence, we decided to pick up the trail of some of the creative coolest jobs in the country (and the world!). Today we’re starting with the furniture buyer from one of our favorite stores, Terrain.  Andrew Palm is responsible for hunting down and creating all of the beautiful furniture pieces in the store, which means he has to have a knowledge of the Terrain customer as well as current trends in furniture and then understand where those two things intersect. If his Instagram feed is any indication, he gets his inspiration from traveling around the world. If there are any cool jobs, you’d like to know a little more, let us know in the comments and we’ll do some digging for you. –Amy

Design*Sponge/We Want Your Job

What did you want to be when you grew up?
An airplane pilot, an archaeologist, and an anthropologist. In more ways than one I kind of got to be all three. I am a frequent flyer for sure. I am lucky to be able to visit amazing cities and countries to find treasures to bring back to our customers. And I have the opportunity to experience many different cultures.

Learn more about Andrew’s job as a furniture buyer for Terrain after the jump!

Design*Sponge/We Want Your Job
Image above: This Windmill came from a farm in Texas. It brings scale and a sense of drama to our Styer’s location. I love that it represents the classic farm aesthetic while the windmill stands on its own as a beautiful form.
What did you study in college?
I started out as an Architectural History major with a minor in French. But one night as I was writing a paper on Palladian Architecture, my roommate at the time was carving block prints and printing fabric, I soon found myself setting up a meeting with the Dean of the Fiber Arts Department. I was hooked! I studied fiber arts with a fine art focus on weaving, screen printing, pattern design and installation arts.

What is the best part of your job?
Hands down the people. I work with so many talented and creative people not only in our offices but all over the world. Everyone has such passion for what we do and it all is translated into an amazing experience for our customers.

Design*Sponge/We Want Your Job
Image above:I snapped this on the street in Udaipur, India. The colors in India are so inspiring.

And the worst part of your job?
Honestly? I can’t say that there is anything that could be considered as such.

Design*Sponge/We Want Your Job
Image above: Actually the worst part of my job: Being away from these two girls! Wallis and KiKi. This picture was taken after 3 weeks away in India, UK, and Eastern Europe.

What have you learned about life from your job?
Going back to question #3. I have been so lucky to experience such a wide variety of places and cultures on all ends of the spectrum of humanity. Despite different conditions and traditions, we truly are all the same. It is very eye opening to have a broader sense of the world and to understand how vast and how small it is all at the same time.

Design*Sponge/We Want Your Job
Image above: I love the shades of green glass on these demijohn bottles found in Hungary.

Have you ever met someone else who does the same thing?
I am friends with many other buyers within our company and outside. It is always fun to share stories and resources. I think all buyers have at least a few things common.  A sense for exploration, a creative eye for form and function, and a passion for sharing a vision with their customers.

What’s next for you?
A trip traveling through the Northern Europe in search of unique and inspiring items for our customers! I will be looking for garden inspired additions to our Terrain Collective. After that I will be traveling throughout South East Asia in search of inspiration for Spring 2015.

Design*Sponge/We Want Your Job
Image above: Colorful wood carvings in an antique store in Ahmedabad,  India

What’s the holy grail in your field- what’s your Oscar?
I win an Oscar any and every time one of our customers falls in love with something I have bought for the store. It is so rewarding to be able to talk with our customers and hear what it is that they love about Terrain.

Design*Sponge/We Want Your Job
Image above: My cat KiKi checking out our courtyard fern garden. I planted everything last spring with ferns. I am obsessed with them at the moment!

And finally, what trend in your field do you see in the next year or so? What are you looking to bring into the store?
Outdoor Living! Our new Spring Furniture collection is about to launch and I am really excited about the mix of materials and reinterpreted garden classics that will be arriving. This season is all about classic outdoor materials in a range of finishes and colors, in combination with organic elements.

DS_Andrew 1

Suggested For You


  • Are you sure you aren’t willing to give your job away to someone as a really cool gift?

  • What a great column idea! Would love to hear about what an average day looks like (if such a thing exists) and what the hardest part of the job is (not necessarily the same thing as worst) in future posts. Andrew’s job does look pretty cool!

  • Grace, I’m just loving all the new features you’re offering this year. Thanks for your dedication to bringing us down new roads each day.

  • As always, you have an incredible knack of keeping it fresh and mixing it up, while maintaining the aesthetic, Grace. The new features are simply fantastic!

  • Please excuse my ignorance on this, but he’s listed Terrain and then Urbn as his experience. Urbn is Urban Outfitters? Or another organization?

  • @Susanna: URBN, Inc. comprises Urban Outfitters, Anthropolgie, BHLDN, Free People, and Terrain. Its HQ is in Philadelphia.

    This is such a cool column idea. There are so many highly visible and also more invisible creative career paths I would be so excited to learn more about, and lots of those cross-pollinate with industries we don’t consider particularly creative. Thanks for this!

  • Love the new column! You all have the best ideas. Where was this piece when I was in junior high reading House & Garden on the floor of my room?

  • Hi Andrew!!! Grace & team, this is just one of so many new features you guys launched this year. I’m so excited to see what else you have in store! And Andrew, yay! So cool to see one of our own at Urbn to kick off the series.

  • Hooray for this new series. And I totally loved that column in ReadyMade. Please try to find the most obscure jobs that we’ve never heard of!!

  • Great piece! And I am lucky enough to have worked with Andrew…and will be avidly following his adventures in the future!

  • Hey! Andrew is a great guy with a great eye. Terrain have really scored getting him on board. Apologies for the alliteration…….

  • What fun to see behind the scenes into Andrew’s work and life! Thanks for the peek within. I have always yearned to be a window display designer; the curation and careful selection of colors and textures and objects is akin to a painting or sculpture. I would love to read a feature on a stylist working with windows.

  • I would love to hear about what doing his job actually means, does he spend a lot of time at a desk in between trips, does he barter with vendors, who decides where he is traveling, etc. The personal likes and dislikes are interesting, but I would love to read more about how it all works and the job itself!

  • This is so much fun! I would love to learn about what it’s like to be a pattern designer. Who creates the patterns in fabrics, wallpapers, etc? What is that like? I’ve always been curious about that job ever since my first art class in High School when we had a pattern assignment and my teacher mentioned wallpaper designer as a job prospect.

  • Hello Grace and Amy!
    I actually came to visit design sponge to get a little business start up inspiration and the first post up was a “we want your job” post! Funny how life works out like that. I’m actually in the very, very beginning stages of working on my own home decor boutique. Exciting, but scary at the same time. I don’t have much experience, but I know I love product and working with people, so that’s a start. I was hoping you could interview someone who isn’t a buyer for a big company, but someone who is in business for themselves and might not have the luxury of a big budget to buy and travel. I’d be interested to know how they got into the business and how they started making their first connections with wholesalers. If there is a post somewhere in the design sponge world that already focuses on an individual like this I’d love if you could point me in that direction! Hope to hear back!

  • What kind of money does a buyer like Peter make? I am interested in making a career change from sales ( well known interior design furniture manufacturer) to the flip side of buying but want to make sure I wouldn’t be taking a pay cut to do so. Any insight would be appreciated!