We’ve had a lot of change over the last year. After a shift in management, Sim (co-owner with me) took over running the company. She’s been battling an illness for years now and it’s slowed her down a lot. But, she took the reins last year and our company is turning a corner now. You probably don’t know Sim like I do. She runs things on an intuitive level, maybe it’s a female thing, you know, women’s intuition. But it runs strong with her. That’s how she guided my designs into what they are today. She just knows stuff automatically. She meets somebody and knows them instantly. It’s not the thing most people do where they judge someone with first impressions. No, she knows some of their past, their emotional state, and sometimes what is to come for them. I never believed in that sort of thing before, but after witnessing it 100s of times and calculating the impossible odds, I now know intuition is something that runs strong in her. Over the years I’ve started listening to mine, and here we are with that. Seven years into this business and it’s still here, setting the bar for the vintage industrial esthetic.
Anyways, so Sim is managing the managers now and redirecting the company from top to bottom. She’s trying to teach her nurturing style to them. She’s also BIG into accountability, something many people lack these days. I was raised the opposite, so being nurturing and accountable is a major struggle for me. I am coming to terms with accountability, but the nurturing thing is like trying to learn how to fly, with my arms. The main reason for that is probably because I have Aspergers. My nickname at the shop is Spock which is kinda funny as he was my favorite character in Star Trek, despite his lack of emotions. Spock could kick everybody’s ass and was the smartest guy in the room, what could be more appealing? I hear Sim telling me (in my head) that I am rambling, so back to the point, whatever that is. So Sim helped us realize that with power (managing roles) comes great responsibility, and often the power is misused. So we are moving to a more lateral system with less managers (more leads), where everybody is responsible for their role. And the drama level here has reduced dramatically. It’s extremely important to get to know your coworkers, especially your direct reports. Get to know who they are, ask questions, find out about them. That is caring, something I am unfamiliar with lol! Remember the teacher that made a difference in your life? Mine was Mr. Anderson or Mr. A as we called him. He cared, got to know us, thought of us as equals. That stands out, and makes you want to participate and do your best. It makes you feel loved worthy at the most basic level. And that my friend, is out of style with management today. Read Radical Candor for more help on that!
So recently we created a new R&D department with two SCI-Arc brainiacs at the helm (Mikhail and Evan). We’re adding an apprentice to R&D next month (Amir), if you can call him that. He has more design awards than everybody at this company combined. These guys are in charge of our new line which will be more modern, some of it with an industrial twist. New design is the lifeblood of any design based company. So far they have come up with some impressive work. You’ll be seeing it over the next few months. Some of that includes new Hure designs, modern shelving, bars & tables, and more. We also changed things around in the fab shop and have two dedicated prototypers. Although they get pulled into production sometimes when we get too busy.
We promoted Erik, from the wood department, to design new pieces for our heritage line. You can see his first work here > Helicoid Table. And we added Rob to our CAD department. He speaks the same language as the other R&D guys. So all in all, we have 7 designers in house now. Some of them have industrial design backgrounds like Amir (actually he has a double masters in that), and most have architectural design backgrounds; which is another direction we want to get to. Mike an Evan helped us redesign our house, and now the VI’s showroom. And in the future, they’ll help design our new building which we hope to move into when our lease is over. Oddly enough, Sim and I have no background in design. So we’re excited to learn from this group of talented energy!
We’re expecting VI to double or triple in size in the next 3 years. With the amount of talent we have it looks like that’ll happen.
Our showroom is still in the works. I think I’ve said we are opening it ‘next month’ 20 plus times now. So now the date is August. We’re populating it with some insane stuff, like a 14′ triple crank Bronx conference table, and a modern faceted bar with a Zaha-esque look (in the near future). The hope is to outfit it regularly with new designs that blow peoples socks and shirts off. We will be adding other designers work. We’re setting up a team to curate that. Remember the Sharper Image catalog, when it first came out? It had some AMAZEBALLS things in it. Well we hope to fill the showroom with just that, amazeballs.
Also, we’re still working on a solution to the Alibaba counterfeiting ring. Alibaba is supporting copyright infringement and hurting designers across the world. In case you didn’t know, Alibaba vendors open up shops, steal our photos, then sell fakes of our products. The fakes look like crap and look nothing like our designs, but alas, they are using our copyrighted photos. Currently, we are processing 2400 takedown notices. These popped up over the last 3 or 4 months so getting them taken down has become a full time job. Fortunately, the people buying these fakes are not our typical customer as it’s shit, to borrow the term from Steve Jobs. Our customers aren’t looking for cheap shit, they want the best. But thousands of other designers are having their business destroyed by this. We hope to put a stop to this for us, and others. By the way, this happens to people on places like Ebay, Etsy and Amazon which are havens for counterfeiting too. Alibaba is bigger than Ebay and Amazon combined, and it is estimated that their billions of listings are 50% – 90% fakes. Which is odd because this NYSE listed company makes it’s money mostly from counterfeiting. I wonder when their 200+ billion dollar stock value which catch up with that?
So below are some recent pieces that have gone through the shop:
Extra large Crank Conference table base with three 5 ton screw mechanisms and a 5′ x 11′ walnut top. Height adjusts from 30″ to 42″ (sitting to standing or bar height).
The Tiny Hure Desk which is 300 lbs of awesomeness.
Our first painted Ellis Console
Sim’s first design, a modern desk wall unit with a walnut top
Another gear pattern to hang on the wall. This one is made from a composite so it’s lighter than our previous models making it easier to hang up. This piece was molded from a wooden gear pattern we recently acquired which was made by Pasco maybe 70 years ago.
We’ve been working on the 50 cal table for two years now and finally have the prototype together. It has a carrara marble top, and we’ll be also be making a reclaimed oak top for it. It’s unfinished and rough still, but you get the idea. As you can see, it has four 50 caliber machine guns for legs. We looked into buying them and pricing was around $50,000 each, or $200k for the four, if you can find them anywhere. We opted to make the guns from scratch in house. They are non-firing of course, and the barrel can be unscrewed to adjust the height of the table. It’s shown at bar height here. There will also be other designs made with the guns including a lamp. And we will most likely plate one of these tables in probably chrome to make it POP!
If you are interested or have questions, contact us and we’d be happy to help!