Ann Arbor’s Lisa Sauve was listed on the Forbes Next 1000 list

ANN ARBOR – One of Tree Town’s own was added to the Forbes Next 1000 list.

Lisa Sauve, CEO and Principal of Synecdoche Design Studio, was recognized on the publication’s list, which showcases “the ambitious sole proprietorships, self-funded businesses and startups ahead of sales in every region of the country – all with sales below $ 10 million or financing and endless drive and hectic, ”says Forbes.

The magazine accepts nominations and applications for recognition determined by some of the best business and entrepreneurship in the country.

Sauve applied for the list and felt it was selected as agents continued to contact her.

She found out she was part of the first class of 250 entrepreneurs in mid-February. Right now, she’s the only Ann Arborite to make the list. In the future, the remaining winners will be announced in groups of 250 people by the end of the year.


Photo credit: Blom Meadworks

“What I like about this list – especially in Ann Arbor, which is so tech-centric – validates the way small businesses can just get it through alternate methods and use some grit,” she said. “I like to be part of a cohort that looks and acts like me. It doesn’t pretend to be doing all of these fundraising rounds and stuff. It’s: ‘We scratched past.’ ”

Sauve co-founded the architecture firm with partner Adam Smith when they were studying at the University of Michigan’s Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning.

With a focus on combining the “built environment with craftsmanship and manufacturing”, the two have made a name for themselves in the city and transformed local businesses with their clean, modern aesthetics.

Past clients include Duo Security, Llamasoft, Blom Meadworks, Spencer and YORK. The list goes on.

Synecdoche also specializes in furniture design, custom objects and spatial features that it produces itself in its factory floor.


Photo credit: IVEY Salon | Synecdoche design

Under the motto “Do a good job,” Sauve said the practice is expanding its nonprofit arm.

“It’s always just a kind of lived motto and we want to formalize it in some way: supporting scholarships and grants, starting creative projects that might otherwise not work for a business model, supporting non-profit organizations,” she said.

A lean company with five employees. Architects Sauve, Smith and Sidney Migoski design projects remotely while designers Julia Hunt and Lindsey Sieja work in the store.

Image credit: Synecdoche Design

“Adam is the only one right now,” said Sauve. “It’s really nice to have two really strong and smart women in a manufacturing business.”

Synecdoche was named one of Detroit’s finest retail architects by General Contractors Magazine and has also begun equity design with clients including the Aveda-concept IVEY salon in Ann Arbor. It most recently partnered with Bamboo Detroit when it designed its newest location, Bamboo Royal Oak.


In just over a decade, Synecdoche has designed more than 100 projects nationwide, and the studio – and Sauve – are showing no signs of slowing anytime soon.

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