finAl thoughts + the hustle

Craighton graciously hosted our last class in the new digs of Manual and Craighton Berman Studio.

It would be criminal to have posted a year’s worth of speakers and dance moves and not include the hustle. #nobrainer But which hustle?? Van McCoy or Rick Ross? I have thought about this for quite some time and a mashup of both best suits my final thoughts.

Van McCoy’s chart-topping hit, “The Hustle” in 1975 is lighthearted, easy going, and dare I say, groovy. I have enjoyed this class for the same reasons. It served as welcomed creative break of making and hearing from various makers compared to a written thesis. Don’t get it twisted, though. I learned so many valuable insights into the importance of self-branding and was exposed to a wide range of how businesses are ran, but the delivery of information was easy to digest and most importantly, relevant. 

Rick Ross is a boss. He said so himself. While I don’t condone every lyric in that song (that would be most), I am all for the beat and the very general message of work ethic. The Van McCoy half of the class was very much in line with the weekly guest speakers. The Rick Ross half of the class definitely applied to the design and fabrication of our products and the Kickstarter journey. Like its bass, Kickstarter and prototyping had its highs and lows, but we all found a way to persevere. 

Though my professional goals do not directly lie in product design, I have been inspired to continue to create on a very small and personal scale. In the first class we did had an assignment to sketch our notes in lieu of writing. This is something I plan to continue to exercise! 

Surprisingly there wasn't an existing mashup of Van McCoy's music video with Rick Ross' audio. It is with my greatest pleasure that I release this new gem into the world. 

kip kotzen + hAppy

To conclude our guest speaker series, we spoke with Kip Kotzen, founder of neo-utility. Neo-utility is like a fairy godmother for all designers. They serve as a distributer, retailer, wholesaler and brand builder specifically for designers looking to expand internationally.

What I found most interesting about Kip was the haphazard way he came into an industry he is now so successful in. As a former book publishing agent, Kip had a love for midcentury modern furniture, particularly Eames furniture. This interest landed him a job with Vitra that later led to Areaware

As we will all be graduating in the next few days, it’s a reflective time filled with anxiety and excitement on entering or returning to “the real world.” Kip had two pieces of advice that really resonates because they are applicable beyond our careers. “Everything starts with a conversation.” “People have to be willing to connect on all levels.”

Thinking of a dance move that, like Kip, has the ability to bring dances/people together, I selected the happy dance by Pharrell. Though not your typical signature dance since its really just a combination of swaying and bouncing both ways to the beat, the focus of the music video is on the diversity of people unified by a common emotion. Likewise, Neo-utility brings a diverse range of products unified by great design. 

oAtv + gAngnam

Bryce Roberts is the co-founder and managing director or OATV, bringing accessible capital to more people. As in indie venture capital company, they provide the “rocket fuel” to companies at the very last second. Very…uplifting.

Before the tutorial videos in class and speaking with Bryce, I knew absolutely nothing about venture capital and after all of that, I can’t confidently say I understand it all now. I know there are a lot of calculations that go into investing, as Bryce said, there are good companies and there are good investments, the two are not alway synonymous. I think I just have a tough time knowing there are uber rich people willing to throw what I value as a lot of money with the acceptance that things most likely will not pan out.

What I did appreciate was Bryce’s acknowledgement of the following:

“Not everything has to be a company/start up. Not everything needs to be scaled. Somethings can be just projects.”

In the present, I am happy with just projects and thankful for Bryce’s crash course in v.c. knowing that such an option exists. Likewise (and I mean this with no offense), I don’t fully get the Gangnam dance, but know that it exists out in the world and many other people enjoy it. Additionally, Gangnam blew up with international success and vc’s tend to follow mega trends, perhaps not in the realm of music videos, but pop culture remains extremely influential.

Andrew neyer + hammer time

Andrew Neyer was a ball of energy. He personally drove down to Chicago to talk about Stuff, his experiences and he brought treats!

You can tell Andrew is the epitome of the class motto “always be hustling,” but what I respected was the efficiency of his work ethic. Sometimes the thought of never stopping is daunting and exhausting. Andrew illustrated working isn’t a simple on and off switch, but rather a light on a dimmer. Fitting, since he has an entire lighting line.

The key is to put in work for the least amount of time. To Andrew this means using the same design processes and filters for his products and art. He even cut down the time commuting to and from work by Youtubing “how to build a shed” and converted it into a super sweet office. 

There are three staple components to Andrew’s practice: lighting, smaller products and illustrations. Similarly, there are three staple components to the hammer dance: running man, fall back and the crisscross and pose. I initially thought of this dance because it was the first one that came to mind that would match the energy level Andrew exuded. The forcefulness in each dance move is counterpart to the bold aesthetic of Stuff and it’s punchy labeling. Lastly, Andrew’s illustration career can be more tangentially associated with the extremely short lived Hammerman cartoon.

unison + humppA

Last month (yes I am that behind), we were graciously welcomed into Unison’s storefront here in Chicago. The shop was the epitome of their brand. Robert and Alicia design beautiful, playful textiles that are meant to live amongst other brands and styles in, you guessed it, unison.

It was interesting to hear Robert’s game plan for shows and all the options that are available. He looks for new suppliers, partnership opportunities, finished products that enhance Unison’s aesthetic and takes note of the emerging trends.

Unison is also the only brand we have heard from that distributes a physical catalog. Before branching out into hard goods, the catalog was a way for Unison to communicate the ease in which their products can be integrated with existing craft. Most people are visual learners and need the assistance of beautiful photographs of a product in use to start to envision it in their own space. 

Both Robert and Alicia started their careers with the super fabulous Marimekko. In the Finnish spirit, I am pairing Unison with the Humppa. Humppa is a type of music, but it also refers to a style of dance and can mean social dancing. It’s a lot like how the waltz or mambo are both types of music and a category of dance with different variations…at least that’s my reductive understanding. It is comparable to the foxtrot and has been likened to the samba, but there is much more improvisation.

Similar to Unison’s bold and whimsical patterns, the humppa is equally playful and characterized by happy, lighthearted vibe. It is appropriately a partner dance, where the couple bounces around the dance floor, much like how Unison has bounded around different categories like from bedding to dinning to bath textiles. 

I am convinced Robert and Alicia have been to a humppa or two during their time with Marimekko and hope that is something they have carried into Unison.

P.S. A creeper picture of a (coffee) maker with its (human) maker. Couldn’t resist.

joey roth + viennese waltz

A couple of weeks ago we had the privilege to (virtually) tour Joey Roth’s new studio/storefront and glean valuable information about his practice. Unlike our past guests, Joey began his independent career two months after graduating with a design degree. He noted the intensity of devoting all his time and energy into a single product was enough to keep him focused in his initial period. I noticed there were several times the conversation that circled back to his passion as a driving force to get projects done.

What I found inspiring was Joey’s drive to teach himself the intricacies and mechanics of speaker technology. This was great timing for me to hear as I thrust myself into the world of coding and the Internet of Things for my thesis project. While I am all for directed education, I do recognize there are connections that wouldn’t have otherwise been made if not for self directed learning. Joey, for instance, invented a wood antenna screw based off of his own needs!

Another aspect of Joey’s practice that I admire is the range of products he designs –from the Sorapot to the ceramic speakers to the self watering planters to the design posters (personal fave) – all show control in the variety of function and materiality. Since these products are so diverse, Joey’s wife Jana has been instrumental in finding outside products to build a more comprehensive aesthetic to the brand.

Though we didn’t have the pleasure to speak with Jana personally, I chose a partner dance because Joey repeatedly expressed Jana’s essential role in the firm in addition to their desire to remain small in personnel. The Viennese Waltz is a dance that requires a partner, however as with most partner dances, there is a lead. I think this nicely illustrates their working relationship with Joey taking the lead in the design direction, much like the lead dancer would inform the line of dance. The Viennese Waltz is characterized by constant turning and intermittent moments that include change steps, Contra Checks (like a dramatic half dip), Fleckerls, and whisks. The use of the entire dance floor is what initially made me think of paring the two as it reminded me of Joey Roth’s assorted product line. Despite the movement all over the floor, it’s not erratic, rather it’s done gracefully and held together by a continuous line. Similarly, Joey’s various products are held together by and aesthetic line that is reinforced with partnership brands much like the intermittent moments in the waltz serve as reinforcement. 

This is a little closer to a true Viennese Waltz. Here is a good ol’ DWTS version with a lot of creative liberty.

brAdley price + single ladies

Up until this point in the class, all of our guest speakers have utilized Kickstarter: whether it was to garner a community through the launch of a new company (YieldMisenGramovox), test new products and iterations with an existing and expanding Kickstarter following (Studio NeatSuper Mechanical,Max Temkin), expanding an audience on an existing product (CW&TCrucial DetailTash Wong), working for Kickstarter (Stephanie Pereira) or one of the founders (Charles Adler) -Kickstarter was at the center of the discussion. 

And then we heard from Bradley Price of Autodromo. Bradley has never used Kickstarter and from the sound of it, won’t ever. 

It was an invigorating conversation that reminded us all you can be successful, independent professional designer without using a crowdfunding platform. His trajectory wasn’t novel –industrial design degree, worked for a corporate firm for ten years, the last two of those years in which he moonlit for his personal project, –but nonetheless it was good to hear an alternative perspective to the basis of our class. The traditional path is still viable and valuable and Bradley Price is living proof.

One thing was very apparent in the way Bradley runs and plans to run Autodromo. He values his autonomy. Rather than heed to the demands of a corporate client or the thousand or however many backers from Kickstarter, Bradley is in complete control of his designs and operations. He encouraged us to recognize the inherent skill sets we bring with our formal design training and bring in consultants to supplement our brands for those the skills we don’t have. 

The way Bradley Price operates Autodromo can be described by the Single Ladies dance made ridiculously famous by Queen B. Unlikely pairing, perhaps. Of course there are a few differences, but their similarities are greater than you may think. Besides Bradley’s resolve to remain independent and the obvious connection to the message of independence in Single Ladies, the designs of Autodromo products and the choreography of the Single Ladies music video both heavily draw inspiration from the 1950s-1980s –Bradley through vintage car design (Stradale 1950s early 1960s, Veloche 1960s, Prototipo 1970s, Group B 1980s) and Beyonce through Bob Fosse’s choreography of “Mexican Breakfast” (1969) and high-cut leotards from All That Jazz (1979) and A Chorus Line (broadway 1975, movie 1985).

Additionally, Bradley stressed the emotional connection he hopes to foster between an Autodromo watch and it’s owner, a relationship that becomes unique between the two. Similarly, part of the popularity of Single Ladies is the emotional connection you can’t help but feel a little empowered when it hits the air waves. And while the song itself is super catchy, when you hear it, you immediately picture the dance. That emotion is tied to the visual representation much like the visual watches are emotional cues to its owners. 

Probably the most discernible similarity is in the craft. Watches by nature are mechanical and Bradley is meticulous in it’s design. For any one that has tried or even witnessed someone imitate the Single Ladies dance, knows that it is a very exacting routine. Both watch and dance achieve such a high level of refinement because of the acuity of many pieces and movements that make it a spectacular whole.

victor sAad + the nitty gritty

I must admit I was stumped when trying to pair Victor Saad, founder of the Experience Institute, with a dance move and it’s held me up from posting about the guest speakers that followed. When it comes to the Experience Institute, I find myself conflicted. Here’s why…

One great piece of advice that Victor had was that we need to learn how to tell our story multiple ways depending on whom we are addressing and acknowledge that by changing the way the narrative is crafted, the meaning of our story may change as well. It was clear Victor is really good at telling a story. He’s enthusiastic, finds relatable moments and most of all, passionate about the Experience Institute. And why wouldn’t he be? After all, the Ei is based on his own experience. 

Fittingly for our class, Victor is also all about the hustle. Hustle, positivity, self-awareness and socially conscious people are what Ei is looking for in its students. These sound like people I want to be friends with both professionally and personally.

Looking around the room, our class seemed equally sold. 

My unease about the Experience Institute stems from two major pillars of Ei: lack of theory and being a for-profit academic organization. I carry the bias of accepting a lot of student debt and as I have to define who I am through my research when looking for jobs, I can’t help but think about how grateful I am for the program I’m in. Much like Victor, I want to create social change, but for me it’s using museums as the vehicle. My entire first year was based on understanding the theories and historical practices of museums and similar institutions. These fueled amazing, thought-provoking discussions on current and future practices. History and theory isn’t for everyone. I get it. But if Ei is promoting design, business and social change, it seems somewhat negligent to not provide historical context for the social change that needs to be created. I think this is also why I appreciated Bradley Price’s talk the following week. He acknowledged his dual degree in art history and industrial design has better informed his work. 

Secondly, the Experience Institute is a social enterprise, simply put by Victor as a for-profit, for-purpose model. I have a super basic understanding of social enterprises and I am mostly for them. It’s mixing social enterprise with education that makes it muddy for me. I know it comes down to me being naive to the nuances of funding the two types of education. At the moment, I don’t buy into $12,000 a year.

I do appreciate at most, that the Experience Institute is providing an alternative to traditional academia and I believe that Victor has the best of intentions. I also like the idea behind providing an individual scale of the project through the Leap Kit. With all these mixed emotions, I recently stumbled upon the Nitty Gritty. It’s a mostly forgotten song from the 1960s with no official music video that I could find and hence, no “official dance.” There is however, this gem of a clip from the Judy Garland show in 1964 where a few people performed to the song by Shirley Ellis. Unlike all other posts, this dance isn’t about Victor as a creative. Rather I think it captures the awkward clunkiness of how I feel about the Experience Institute. It’s fun, I’d go along with it, and there is a slight timidness and uncertainty in it all.

grAmovox + voguing

The week we visited Gramovox was in short, refreshing. Their office was a bit minimalist, but it has all of the essentials: comfy seating, Noguchi coffee table (extra points), dope vertical turntable and an awesome team. Co-founder Pavan Bapu filled the rest of the space (and my sketchbook) with practical quotes from first hand experience.

"There is nothing more rewarding than creating something that never existed -and people want it."

We got into a little of the nitty gritty technicalities that make Gramophone and Floating Record function, all masked within clean hardwood and wood veneer boxes that make their products statement pieces in any room.

It's this fluidity between technicality, originality and expression that compels me to liken Gramovox to voguing. I've learned there are several styles of voguing, but for the sake of comparison I will use Madonna's music video because she helped mainstream voguing and she's The Queen, duh. Gramovox's products are clean and precise, mirroring the clean and precise moves that make up voguing. Precision is key for both sound and dance. Moreover, the creative expression that marry acoustics and aesthetics is the signature statement for Gramovox and voguing. You just can't compete with Madonna or Gramovox's Floating Record player.


mAx temkin + thriller

"Treat money like gas in a car. You need to pay attention to it so you don't get stuck on the side of the road, but you don't want your life to be a tour of gas stations." -not Max Temkin

We visited Some Office - home to Cards Against Humanity and a variety of other creative endeavors to meet with Max Temkin. Though his ten secret steps remain a secret, the Tom O'Reilly quote above that he paraphrased is great advice. Max referenced O'Reilly when asked about the decision to not sell Cards Against Humanity. The ability to maintain creative authorship with his colleagues runs throughout Max's various projects that fall under Maxistentialism including several games, board member positions, a zine and most recently, a type of logistical company.

When thinking about what dance I could pair with Max, I first thought of Pharrell. They're both creative, entrepreneurs and ultimately want to make the world a better place. But Pharrell isn't a dance. He has these little sway moves that come up in several music videos, but it's basically called keeping a beat.

I've been wanting to include Thriller into one of my posts on guest designers and I am happy to say today is the day! The dance sequence in the Thriller music video is really technical; it's more than just the three steps to the right and lifting your arms up like a praying mantis. Likewise Blackbox is a logistics service that makes all the technicalities in fulfillment and shipping look easy. And similar to the various entities that form Maxistentialism, Thriller is a compilation of moves that has created its own brand as a whole. Both are extremely creative and adamant on the aesthetic quality of presentation. Plus, Max came from the group Cards Against Humanity and Michael came from the group Jackson 5. (Last one was a little longer of a stretch than usual.)

(The full music video link is under the first mention of Thriller. The one below is cut to the dance scene.)


center for lost Arts + swing riot

A few weeks ago we went to a talk by Charles Adler as part of the supporting programming for Outside Design, an exhibition at SAIC that showcases work intertwining art, design, technology and nature. Alder, formerly of Kickstarter, used the very platform he co-founded to fund the Center For Lost Arts in Chicago this past July. The Center for Lost Arts was a “pop-up” space that allowed for the convening of over forty creatives to dive into new technology and equipment, learn different techniques, share ideas and expertise and most of all, create in a limited amount of time.

Adler was personally interested in the intersection between disciplines, people and cultures. He used the Center for Lost Arts as a place for experiment and empowerment all to support his overarching goal of building and sustaining a creative economy.

 Sketchbook notes on Charles Adler lecture

Sketchbook notes on Charles Adler lecture

Several participants were in attendance and reflected upon that hectic month - sharing how they utilized their time and experimented with new methods with the five 3D printers. Tom Burtonwood specifically addressed the cross pollination of disciplines when he came across some people with drones.

The Montreal Swing Riot is an event that promotes the intersections of dance, specifically lindy hop, swing, tap and break dancing through a celebration of jazz and street culture. It is a weekend where you can show off your expertise, learn new moves, get inspiration and most of all, create (dance).

Highlights from the Montreal Swing Riot 2014

tAsh wong + 2 Legit 2 Quit

Tash Wong is co-founder of Coastermatic, a company actualized through her School of Visual Arts thesis project. We watched her talk, “Oh Sh*t, I Have To Make It Now” given at TYPO earlier this year. Amidst all the emojis in her presentation, I found two gems of advice:

“Everyone has the same amount of time.” 

“What are the conversations I want to have? Where do those happen?”

I have heard both before, but it was good to be reminded of… especially while in grad school. There are so many wonder people doing amazing things in Chicago on top of so many interesting things I want to read or learn plus all of the things I want to personally achieve, it sometimes becomes overwhelming. Managing my time is critical to getting things done and acknowledging that time is valuable helps to prioritize where to spend it and whom to spend it with. 

The focus of Tash’s talk was to share her experience as a creative entrepreneur and the realities of starting a company. She was honest about several “Oh sh*t” moments with Coastermatic: launching the company, her co-founder Tom moving back to England and the manufacturing partner closing down. When all of that converged, Tash was faced with the decision of fully committing to Coastermatic or starting fresh. She obviously chose to keep Coastermatic coasting. This week, I had trouble coming up with a dance move that I felt is personified by Tash. What did keep coming to mind was MC Hammer’s 2 Legit 2 Quit, more so the song than the dance move itself. It’s my blog so I’m taking the liberty of bending my own rules. The full music video is 15 minutes long, but full of cameos, including James Brown! Check it out sometime; below is just the actual music part. While enjoying the provided entertainment, go upload your Instagram photos to Coastermatic!

super mechAnical + the loco-motion

One critical piece of advice John Kestner of Super Mechanical gave was to assess the number of tough issues within a project and resolve one, not all. John is a builder. He continues to build upon his last product. This iterative process achieves several things: 1. builds a roadmap for future iterations, 2.builds a family of products, 3. builds a focused audience, and 4. builds a stronger story for branding. 

“What do I think is valuable?” John Kestner

I think this is a question worth constant asking not just on an individual product level, but as a firm practice as well. It’s clear Super Mechanical values understated technology that assists in controlling environments spanning from an oven with Range to your entire home with Twine. 

John was very candid about the the team size of Super Mechanical, having to let engineers go and keep only one person as part time. So what dance move accommodates a single person and more? There are several, but the loco-motion was a no-brainer for Super Mechanical. Besides the instant success Super Mechanical and Little Eva both experienced, the loco-motion has been covered by other artists several times, similar to the iterative process of Super Mechanical with the Range. It is perfectly acceptable to do the loco-motion individually, but of course equally as fun when you build a train with others. Get on board with Super Mechanical and the Range Dial and enjoy a little Kylie Minogue!


tAnner + wAtch me

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Tanner Woodford graciously invited us into the Chicago Design Museum and gave insights to his personal and professional trajectory as they began to intertwine to form the ChiDM. He talked about his beginnings in album cover design, meeting awesome people through Fill/Stroke, secret underground train stations, free student membership, Kickstarter (of course), building a collection and Chicago Ideas amongst many other things. Tanner revealed so much it felt a little like sitting in a session of Inside the Actor’s Studio except Craighton sounds nothing like James Lipton and there was a severe lack of index cards. 

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“Leave Better.” - Tanner Woodford

It takes many people to maintain a museum, but the ChiDM is an obvious manifestation of Tanner. He strongly believes in leaving the world a better place and it is reflected in decisions at the museums like prioritizing streamline processes for membership and events to make it more enjoyable for the volunteers. Both the space and Tanner are open and friendly. 

As a relatively young institution, the ChiDM is still trying to solidify their identity and place within the design community, museum world and their own mission. Fortunately, they aren’t creating the first museum ever, nor are they the only designers in the world which means there’s a myriad of precedents to draw upon and take pieces to create their own. (Much like the basis for Steal Like an Artist.) It’s not a bad place to be. Bits and pieces from a variety of sources lend a sense of familiarity to the audience while also creating something new. The choice to call itself a museum automatically sets expectations for visitors such as having a gift shop. What ChiDM does with their gift shop by stocking only Chicago-based designers to support the local industry as well as set their own commission is only one example of the newness they bring. It may be a stretch to say this is like Watch Me (Whip and nae nae), but hear me out. Silento is young (17 years old) just like ChiDM. He is also trying to figure out his identity. The whole song is just a combination of dance moves that have been around, some before he was even born. Tanner and the Chicago Design Museum like Watch Me, create something new and more importantly energize others to to follow. 

studio neAt + the quickstep

Last week we read It Will Be Exhilarating by Studio Neat in preparation for our Google Hangout session with them. There were several points that stood out to me, but one that resinated the most in regards to my own project. “Simplicity often involves some level of sacrifice or compromise.” I was having a tough time letting go of the use of a spring system in my frame in order to simplify the parts and construction. At first it felt like I was losing the very thing that made it special. After all, my inspiration was the ViewMaster mechanism. But Studio Neat quoted Jonathan Ive, “Simplicity is somehow essentially describing the purpose and place of an object and product,” and I began to define my design (sans springs) through its initial purpose. More to come on the progress of that…

It Will Be Exhilarating was written a couple of years ago and it was interesting to hear certain shifts in perspectives from Tom and Dan. The book surveyed Studio Neat’s process and success up to that point.  One aspect that remains the same is the scale of their firm. It started as a “two dude” company and they are very keen on keeping it that way, at least for the near future. Another is the way their projects manifest. All of their products thus far have come from “being in tune to the little frictions” in their lives and designing solutions around them. 

The added distance of time between the book and the Hangout allowed for another marker to reconsider their work. In order to sustain their company and stay focused on design, they outsource for production, fulfillment and accounting. Both Tom and Dan acknowledged they leave a trail of products behind, always excited to chase the new project rather than maintain the current line. 

Studio Neat reminds me of the quickstep. They move quickly and always in the forward direction. The versatility of the dance allows for formality and informality in style, speaking to the variety of products they provide. Studio Neat’s work depends on the “little frictions” much like the syncopations that break up the quickstep and of course, its a partnered dance.

moonwAlk + misen

Peter Muller (a UIC grad, woot woot!) was our guest speaker last week. He is 1/3 of the Misen brand. Their current Kickstarter, Misen: Cook Sharp has exploded, and that’s an understatement. It was awesome to hear his process, struggles, fears and everything in between in producing the prototypes for this product and the candid reaction to the overwhelming support of the campaign just three days in. What resinated the most was the passion and dedication he had in getting this product to physical fruition. With over two years of testing, pitching at Home and Housewares, finding his exact design ripped off by larger companies, and educating himself on materials and methods was comforting to hear. Shit happens and the hustle is real. 

Through that process however, he was uncompromising on the product integrity, materials and performance. Everything about the Misen knife is calculated and requires precision to get precision. The boom of backers on Kickstarter has the initial appearance of propelling forward, yet Peter was very real about the start-up money not turning a huge profit, so honest that he said they could even end up losing some money…a financial step back. This made me think of the moonwalk. Misen is sleek, smooth and every detail makes up the whole, but most of all the initial appearance of moving forward while actually stepping back isn’t always a bad thing. MJ is a legend, no hyperlink necessary to support that. Misen too, has been reviewed by top critics as being game-changing and I have no doubt their business will catapult forward. 

yield + the foxtrot

Week 3′s guests were Rachel Gant and Andrew Deming of Yield Design Co. They gave wonderful insight into the processes and decisions they made behind starting Yield and stressed their values as branding and a the way to communicate cohesiveness throughout the breadth of product. 

Everything they do is intentional. Yield’s aesthetic reflects their manifesto to 1. bridge past and present, 2. timeless craft and 3. no compromises. 

After gaining wide attention from their initial Kickstarter of the picnic bag, they strategically introduced small planters to avoid being identified by soft goods only and as a way to minimize growing pains. Andrew and Rachel were very candid in the risks they knew they took along the way but noted that “scary allows you to check yourself sometimes…” Their growing popularity along with the ability to “check” themselves every now and then reminds me of the foxtrot: slow, slow, quick, quick. Yield’s design and business plan is very strategic, much like the dance and their respect for traditional lines and materials is a lot like ballroom dancing in general. Plus, they are a couple, and the foxtrot is a couple’s dance!