Photographed by: Rachel Maucieri | Interview of: Tyler Carder of Simpleton Goods
How did you get started?
I used to play music and did a lot of traveling and while we were on the road I would try to keep a log of our travels. I filled the journal I had at the time and instead of purchasing a new one I decided to make one. I had friends asking if I could make more which led to inquiries for other items. It organically turned from hobby to my full time business.
What influences you?/ Where do you get your inspiration?
Influence and inspiration doesn’t generally come from a single source. I’m influenced by the quality and intentionality in the old products that have proved to stand the test of time as a dependable daily carry item.
My grandpa has passed down to me nice leather shoes and wallets that he bought years ago and told me the reason for buying them is because they’ll last forever and that in essence is what inspires me to create new products at this point.
How do you balance your personal time + work?/ How do you create separation?
As the owner of Simpleton it is quite hard to separate the work from personal time since there are always things to do that require MY attention and concentration. It’s like being on call; you never know when something is going to pop up. But I try to be present when I’m at home with the wife and kids and I’ve learned to make a habit of taking notes while I’m away from work so I can recall the things I’ve thought of in the meantime to avoid those things falling through the cracks. I’m generally looking like a nerd with a notepad and pens stuffed in the chest pocket of whichever shirt I am wearing for the day. I have to keep those things close or run the risk of not taking the notes like I need.
What keeps your motivated?/ Why do you love doing this?
I’m learning that love is NOT a sustained feeling of happiness or excitement but rather a commitment of discipline to press hard into the people or responsibilities which result in deep affection or fulfillment. Work, though not always fun, leaves me feeling enriched knowing that I am creating goods that are intended to stand the test of time and become companion products for the people using them; items that can be depended on to make their lives more simple. That to say, motivation comes from what the products do for a person rather than from the products themselves. I love hearing that people use a specific Simpleton item daily and appreciate what it does for their routines or how it creates ease in their day to day.
Where do you see yourself in 2-5 years?/ What's next for your brand?
Primarily we’ve remained local to the Oklahoma City area but as we’ve grown the product line and strengthen the brand I think the next move is to start reaching into other markets. There are still details we need to iron out before making any big push but we have come a long way in our ability to produce items consistently and efficiently. It feels like we are solidifying the brand for the years to come and have focused on the idea that it isn’t about how many steps are taken but rather how firmly each step is planted. Without any prior experience in owning a business I am having to learn a lot along the way and there are many times it’s as though I am feeling around in the dark, but we keep moving forward and that in itself is a positive thing. I’d like to start working with other mediums such as adding some canvas items to the product line and possibly venture in to other modes of product all together but for now I’ll keep dreaming and see where that leads.
Photographed by: Katie Jameson | Coffee Shop: Eightfold, Los Angeles
One of our favorite things about doing the job that we do is that we can pick up and work from anywhere. We love that coffee shops in different cities are always welcoming, allow us to have a delicious cup of joe, enjoy good conversation, do a little editing, and make you feel like you're right at home. This coffee shop in LA was so peaceful and the beautiful morning light flooded the space the entire time Katie was working there.
Photographed by: Rachel Maucieri | Interview of: Carolyn Misterek + Mallory Shelter
Why was it important for you to come together to create this pop up shop?
It was exciting to realize we both saw the gap and opportunity for this kind of shop in D.C. This is an untraditional pop-up, meaning our vendors are more like collaborators with us in this experiment, rather than us just running a shop. It's exciting to be able to open this space up and share the exposure with other brands and makers, but it also makes things more complicated and creates more work than a traditional shop, so I don't think it could function as a one-person operation.
What was your process in choosing what products you have available in the shop?
We have an application process, so most of the brands who want to participate in the pop-up come to us that way. In our jurying, we prioritize ethical production, brands that might be new to D.C. and design-oriented philosophies that complement our current products. We wanted this to feel like a really special, cohesive experience that gives our customers more of what they want.
Why is collaboration important for you two?/ why do you think it’s important for the creative community?
When values align, I think collaborations are always win/win/win: stronger ideas are able to come through, with better execution, everyone has more fun and gets to expand to new audiences. If we all stayed inside our own bubbles, creative community or not, I think everything would feel dull and stagnant pretty quickly. There's only so far we can really push ourselves without the influence and help of others.