I love working with designers and their clients to discover their needs and sensibilities, and I love creating elegant solutions for them.
When she was sitting in math classes at Bucknell, Heather Harrison Moran ’90 couldn’t have imagined that the golden ratio and the Fibonacci sequence would one day play a major role in her day-to-day life. But as a managing director at John Lyle Design (JLD) and a managing partner at INOX, a high-end furniture design company, they do. “When I attended Bucknell, there seemed to be two paths for math majors — teaching or actuarial work. I just wasn’t that practical,” she says.
Granted, Moran started out in the insurance field, but after her company transferred her to New York City, she changed direction and started working instead as a licensed optician and sales manager at an exclusive eyeglass company, Robert Marc. That opportunity helped her hone her technical and design skills, while combining them with her love of numbers.
The luxury eyeglass company served clients that included Bette Midler, Uma Thurman, Vanessa Williams, Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver and even Steve Jobs. “Steve was so specific about every aspect of the frames — the proportion of the lenses and the rimless design,” she says. “Those glasses became part of the icon, just like the jeans and black turtlenecks. He must have bought more than 200 pairs.”
Fourteen years later another eyeglass client, furniture and interior designer John Lyle, came and asked Moran if she would be interested in overseeing his business. “It was perfect timing,” she says. “I was ready for a new challenge. I put in my resignation the next day.”
In the beginning, she admits she didn’t know what she was getting into, but now designing is like second nature. Moran’s design sense began with a love of antiques and the Art Nouveau period, but today a mid-century modern aesthetic resonates with her. “I gravitate toward strong, simple lines that let the materials shine through,” she says. “It’s all about proportion and scale. I love neutrals, grays and creams and whites, as they are restful and easy, with pops of color for interest.”
Today, she works for both JLD and INOX, training the staff at Lyle’s showrooms in 15 major U.S. metropolitan areas and even in Sydney, Australia. She manages each company’s brand and develops strategies for product sales to high-end commercial and residential clients.
There are some major differences between the brands — JLD uses a lot of exotic materials and has more breadth, whereas INOX focuses on stainless steel and has a smaller and more cohesive product line.
A recent client, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, called on Moran and her team at JLD to create a bronze bathroom accessory for his Long Island home. “I love working with designers and their clients to discover their needs and sensibilities,” she says, “and I love creating elegant solutions for them.”