My Savannah: Erika Snayd

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As the co-owner of Rethink Studio, Asher + Rye and the recently acquired American Rhino, there is never a dull moment for this design powerhouse 

Photography by MICHAEL SCHALK

ERIKA SNAYD RISES WITH THE SUN. “I like the shades open to wake up to natural light,” she says. 

The beep and aroma coming from her preset coffee maker is often her alarm. She froths her oat milk so its warm and creamy, greets her dog, Asher, and makes breakfast for her son, Rye (11), before setting off for a run — earbuds tuned into one of her favorite podcasts.

For those who know Snayd from her charming shop and cafe on the corner of Whitaker and Jones streets, none of these details should come as a surprise. Named after her dog and son, respectively,
Asher + Rye is a feast for the senses — every scent, sound and product is intentionally selected, from the handcrafted goods on the shelves to the locally made provisions behind the counter. 

Three women sitting at a picnic table drinking coffee and talking
Erika catches up with friends Ebru Caglayan and Valarie White on the patio at Asher + Rye.

Global Reach

Still, even A+R regulars may be surprised to learn that it’s just one of the businesses that Erika leads alongside her husband, Joel. In 2005, the pair founded Rethink Studio, a full-service interior design, decorating and construction management firm for commercial and residential spaces, including clients such as Local 11ten and Mirabelle Cafe

“It is important to note how incredible my husband is. His talent is beyond, as is his integrity and work ethic,” Erika says. “I have never met someone with such ability to see the big picture but also the most granular of details.”

Speaking of big pictures, the Snayds recently announced their latest venture, American Rhino — an apparel and accessories company they have carried at A+R for years. “The brand is special to us because it has a purpose and story,” Erika says of the serendipitous acquisition after the previous owner approached the Snayds with the opportunity. “Proceeds from each sale go to a foundation to help save the rhinos in Kenya.” 

This year, the foundation is tagging up to 20 rhinos with chips so they can be heat-mapped and watched to keep poachers away. The Snayds will not only sit on the board of the foundation to continue its existing work in Kenya — where the manufacturing plant and employees are located — but they also plan to extend the brand to include more products, including home decor.

Man and woman standing in a huge greenhouse
Joel and Erika in the Courtyard at Hotel Bardo

Work Perks

Once she is caffeinated and Rye is off to school, Erika’s mornings can be a mix of catching up on emails or writing project proposals from home. A couple of days each week, she joins a training session with CustomFit

From there, Erika fills much of her days with client meetings, reviewing anything from design plans and layouts to materials and furniture to budgets. She splits her time between A+R and the Rethink office, located in the West Broad neighborhood near fellow design luminaries like Weezie and Courtyard by Chuck Chewning

To fuel her days, she brings healthy snacks like grilled chicken, vegetables and almonds to keep her going — plus some chocolate sea salt caramels as a midday pick-me-up. “I like to have an afternoon coffee at A+R, whether I’m taking it to go or meeting with my friends,” she adds.

Man and woman talking at a bar
Joel and Erika at Club Bardo

Playing Overtime 

Dinners are happening later in the day now that Rye keeps their calendars filled with multiple sports practices and games.

If Erika and Joel aren’t cheering in the stands, they may grab a quick bite at Ben’s Neighborhood Grill or chill out with a mojito (vodka instead of rum for Erika) at Hotel Bardo, where they are inaugural members of Club Bardo.

When the calendar is clear and they are staying in, odds are they are ordering takeout. PJ’s Thai Corner is their go-to. To unwind in the evening, Erika enjoys what she calls her “most guilty pleasure” — watching a NBA basketball game with her son. “It allows me to be present in the excitement of the game. Basketball is fast-paced, and my son knows every stat, so I love talking players and trades,” she says. “Add some popcorn, and I am in heaven.” 

Woman walking a brown dog
Erika and Asher in Forsyth Park

Moving Forward

On Saturday, Erika slows her pace — slightly — walking instead of running, and trades a podcast (Marie Forleo, Andrew Huberman and “Smartless” are a few of her favorites) for a phone call with her best friend from college. 

She laces up a pair of American Rhino sneakers and heads out to the basketball courts at Forsyth Park with the family — and Asher in tow, of course.

Looking ahead, the Snayds are planning their first visit to Kenya. Beyond that, it’s hard to say what else — whether for business, adventure or otherwise — might be afoot this year. One thing for certain: they aren’t standing still.

Emily McCarthy Savannah magazine cover

Find this feature and so much more in Savannah magazine’s May/June 2024 “Leading Ladies” issue.