Jonathan Adler

The man who brought cool design to the soccer mom set, ceramicist-turned-home-guru Adler presides over a booming licensing business and an ever-multiplying chain of eponymous retail outlets. His husband is Barneys creative director Simon Doonan.

The New Jersey native knew exactly what he wanted to do when he was a kid: He requested a pottery wheel and kiln for his bar mitzvah. After studying semiotics at Brown and a short-lived stint as a talent agent, he concentrated on his passion for ceramics, landing his big break in 1994 when Barneys placed its first order for his signature striped pots. He opened his first store in 1999. The store quickly caught on, attracting attention for cheeky pieces like a set of cookie jars labeled "Quaaludes," "Uppers," and "Downers." These days Adler rules over a much larger retail fiefdom: In addition to stores in major cities, he's landed licensing contracts with a bunch of companies, including Bed Bath & Beyond, and also takes on the occasional interior design commission: He's decorated homes for the likes of Marc Jacobs, Beck, and Sandra Bernhard and even cracked his way into the hotel industry, redecorating the storied Parker Palm Springs. And as designers are wont to do, he's expanded his empire with a books and TV appearances on Bravo. [Image via Getty]