Eye On the Prize: By making styling trophies, Eva Schone comes in first (Austin Monthly; August, 2015)

Original Austin Monthly article here.

32_ALIST_EyeOnThePrize.jpg

Eva Schone is a sentimentalist. The living room of the 40-year-old designer’s Brentwood duplex is filled with the type of plants her family owned while she was growing up in East Germany. That same feeling of love and acknowledgment is evident in the products of her company, Trophyology, a boutique design firm specializing in sophisticated, high-quality trophies, plaques and gifts.

Trained as an architect at the University of South Florida’s School of Architecture and Community Design, Schone started her business after seeing a need in the market and—frankly—receiving one too many chintzy awards. “I was proud of the recognition, but I never felt I wanted to show any of them,” she explains. So she set out to create heirloom-quality awards that reflect the same kind of excellence as that of the trophy recipients. In 2011, while traveling around Europe, she designed her first collection. Upon her return to Austin, where she has been living since ’06, she went to the American Institute of Architects chapter and presented the Emerging Professional Award she had once received and a prototype for a redesigned version. The organization responded: “How do we order?”

Since then, Schone has collaborated with several local and national organizations, including Austin Energy Green Building, Corgan, Hanger, Inc. and Savant. In May, business-to-business magazine Counselor listed her as a successful entrepreneur and trailblazer in its annual 2015 “Hot 25.”

Trophyology’s custom designs can take several weeks to complete. Schone approaches them as architecture projects, creating 10 to 20 models before handing off her drawings to her contractors, who make the pieces using North American hardwoods and locally sourced materials. The results don’t come cheap, with trophies ranging in price from $275 to $575. But even a stationery box displays a handiwork that comes from the heart and expresses gratitude and appreciation. In fact, when asked who her dream client would be, Schone gets a little misty. “I have a sweet spot for all of the people who made the Berlin Wall fall down,” she says. “That was such a big deal, and I don’t want to forget that. I’m very grateful for the people who helped.”