Meet Malene B

Malene B. is an award-winning designer with a pulsating collection of bespoke carpets, fine art wall coverings and artisan tiles.

Though artfully trained by leading professionals in the industry, Malene’s vibrant upbringing, natural talents and driving ambition have also uniquely groomed her for a life of design. She was born to Caribbean immigrants in New York City, one of the most culturally vigorous cities on the globe, and raised near the Norwalk, CT beach on an enriching diet of soca, reggae, and folktales.

From a young age, Malene endeavored to cultivate the artistic stirrings of her soul. During childhood, she expressed this need through paintings. Later in her teens, her medium of preference was textile, and as a young adult, she found carpet design to be the perfect canvas for her visually vibrant aesthetics. In 1996, upon graduation with honors from FIT, she secured her first employment opportunity as a fabric designer. A few short years later, she became Nourison’s first in-house designer creating rugs sold in Bed Bath & Beyond, Macy’s and Home Depot. All the while, Malene personally continued her artistic expeditions around New York City, where she found inspiration in cultural communities, like the Senegalese vendors in Harlem. This only sharpened her desire for an immersive cultural experience, and so she flew abroad and never looked back. She visited Ghana on a cultural exchange program in 1995, and in 2000, she set out on a three-month backpacking tour through Southeast Asia. To date, Malene has toured over 25 countries.

Inspired by her travels, armed with experience of a successful career in design, and driven by the desire to build a design platform for her global artistry, Malene boldly launched the Malene B brand in 2005 and became focused on carpets in 2009. Her company, a M/WBE certified business, grew to attract the gaze of the luxury market, and fashioned a client base of sophisticated tastemakers with a deep appreciation for her globally-minded creations. Among these are Saks Fifth Avenue, Chatsworth Building, The Astor - Luxury Residential, Revel Hotel, The Baystone Hotel in Mauritius, Duke University, Avalon and Arianna Huffington. Today, Malene B is also a proud partner of Kravet and Goodweave.

An Alumni of the Tory Burch/Goldman Sachs 10K Small Business Program, Malene has flourished under years of support from media and the design community. The Malene B brand has been featured in a slew of both national and international publications, websites, radio and TV programs, including Interior Design Magazine, House Beautiful, New York Magazine, HGTV Magazine, Luxe Magazine, Morning Joe and MSNBC Your Business.

Now in its seventh year, Malene B is once again going through a thrilling transition. Under the flagship of the newly-created Malene B Studio, her growing collections include wallcoverings and tiles.

From her love of travel to her continued work with artisans worldwide, Malene has not strayed from her devotion to global artistry and cultural exchange. Her collaborations with international artisans offer opportunities for marketplace exposure. And here at home, Malene is set to launch a business initiative that will offer business tips and resources to creative entrepreneurs. She shares her business sense via Design Sponge, her Huffington Post, column public speaking engagements including TedX and Design Caribbean, and her e-guide series, Malene B Essentials.

Malene Barnett lives, loves and creates in Brooklyn.


Photo: David A Land