Owner of Brackish and Whitcomb & Company creates locally made sustainable furniture, with an emphasis on design rather than trends.
What do you do? I am a furniture designer, and I own two furniture companies, Whitcomb & Company and Brackish. Whitcomb & Company is a custom furniture company in which I design unique pieces made from salvaged wood, steel, and other materials. Brackish is a retail furniture and lifestyle brand, which will be opening a retail store in Seattle soon.
How did you get started? I attended furniture design school at Kendall College of Art and Design in Michigan, with the intention of designing mass-produced furniture. I wanted to design furniture that people would actually use. However, after a year or two of designing “made in China” products, I started to rethink my career path. I decided I wanted to design furniture that people actually wanted, not because it was trendy, but because it was well-designed and well-made. At that point, I decided to start creating locally made sustainable furniture, with an emphasis on design rather than trends.
What’s a typical day like? Every day is different, but each day usually involves a lot of emailing, drawing or sketching furniture concepts, searching for materials at salvage yards, a bit of woodworking or welding in the shop, and usually finishes off with a meeting or two in the evening. I work long days, but I get so excited about what I’m doing that it rarely feels like work.
What’s the best part of the job? The best parts are the collaborative moments. Whether it be with a fellow designer, a client, or with a creative friend at a coffee shop, there is this moment when ideas are flowing and people are getting excited … It’s very hard to explain, but it’s one of the best feelings. It’s that moment when inspiration strikes!
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What surprises people about your work? When I tell people I am a furniture designer, most people think “furniture maker” or “woodworker.” I think they’re often surprised to hear that my talent and passion reside in the design, more than the fabrication. While I often do metalwork, woodwork and finishing, my customers know what they’re really paying for are my ideas.