It’s a busy Friday morning at the trendy Tala Coffee shop in Highwood. Jessica Margot (Federighi) sips a foamy green matcha chai while her business partner Elizabeth Scott enjoys a latte.
They are polished and poised and ready to talk about their eponymous Margot Scott Design furniture brand, but there’s also a more intimate sisterhood vibe that might make you think these two Lake Forest designers have known each other for decades.
“Should we tell her how we met?” Margot asks, smiling at her partner.
The answer was “sure,” as if they were about to let us in on an inside secret—unfolding the story sentence by sentence, each one of them chiming in unison.
Both are formally trained interior designers and both formed their own firms around 2004. Scott, who grew up all over the country, moved to Lake Forest to raise her daughters—14-year-old Isabelle Lisk and 10-year-old Aurelia Lisk—15 years ago. Margot, a North Shore native, lived in downtown Chicago with husband Dante Federighi until about 7 years ago, when she also moved to Lake Forest to raise her two children—9-year-old Dante, Jr. and 8-year-old Luca.
And even though they happened to live in the same Lake Forest neighborhood, it was a member-based organization called Designer Collaborative in Chicago that finally brought these two entrepreneurs together.
“I had an event at the Merchandise Mart a few years ago and a colleague said ‘you should come and check out this group … there’s someone from Lake Forest’,” Scott recalls. “We met at one of the subsequent meetings and realized we lived right up the street from each other.”
It was kismet.
“We both love the same things, we eat healthy, we work out,” says Scott. “Sometimes we even finish each other’s sentences, which is rare to find!”
As interior designers, they each kept their own roster of long-standing North Shore clients but a friendship blossomed immediately. One day, Scott says she was showing Margot some one-of-a-kind products she was sourcing for a design project and the idea to join creative forces.
“I was working on a rug collection,” she explains. “Jessica came to me and said “I want to do that with you … and create a line of tables’.”
And just like that, in 2018, Margot Scott was born.
“We know what the market is missing and what we need for our clients,” says Margot.
The concept is genius. The two designers take commissions from their individual clients for bespoke solid wood furniture pieces in Walnut and European Oak, and then have their Chicago area craftspeople to bring the design to life.
“They hire us because they want something that no one else has,” says Scott. “They want a high-end piece that’s locally sourced, and at a fraction of the cost of some other bespoke furniture lines.”
Margot continues, adding: “My clients aren’t always interested in spending $14,000 on a coffee table. We want to provide that custom look and quality, but now they might say, ‘I’m not going to just get a coffee table … I’ll get a few other pieces to go with it’.”
“We know when we design that we are creating timeless pieces made with impeccable details, using beautiful solid wood material that can be taken from one home to the next. And that’s what we will always design,” Scott adds. “They can mix and match and that’s our whole goal, to create a piece you’re going to have for 20 years.”
The six pieces in the current Margot Scott line aim to evoke timeless sophistication and elegance while also providing function and durability. Just about a year into the endeavor, they could not be more thrilled with the feedback so far and how quickly demand has grown.
“Both of us are very Type A doers. We get stuff done. We’re juggling a lot but we empower each other so we get things done even faster together, like a well-oiled machine,” says Margot. “We’re also very grateful that it’s happening at a faster pace than we realized.’
While a brick-and-mortar storefront is not part of the business plan anytime soon, having their pieces showcased at luxury design showrooms and other high-profile venues around the country is. Just last month, for example, the duo unveiled their new line to an exclusive list of VIPs at Ferrari Lake Forest in Lake Bluff.
“Design is a changing world,” says Margot. “I love what I do more today than I did 15 to 20 years ago. The furniture is an extension of what we’ve always been doing. We’re just riding the wave at this point and very excited about what’s to come for Margot Scott.”
As Scott chimes in, “We’re driven and know where we want to grow our business.”
And then at some point in this frenetic storytelling, they stop, look at each other, and smile.
“Jessica and I are almost like sisters,” says Scott, finishing her chai. “I don’t think that comes twice in a lifetime. We are very lucky.”
For more information about Margot Scott, visit margot-scott.com.