John Sayles: The Reflex Blue Show #195

John Sayles (of J. Sayles Design in Des Moines, Iowa) stopped by the Eleven19 studio to talk about being in the design industry for over three decades.

But first things first – pork chops and vodka! For those who have never been, the Iowa State Fair is huge – HUUUUGE – and one of the top attractions is the Pork Tent J. Sayles Design worked on. That, and Jalapeno Pete’s just down the fair grounds (which is also a Sayles design). So, how big is the fair? Pete’s will go through 130 kegs in one night, and 5-6,000 pork chops are served up per day. Like I said, it is HUGE. Speaking of which, I missed it again this year, and really should not have. Next year. Let’s go with that. I need to visit the butter cow before 2019 ends (I remember seeing the Butter Superman, as well as Butter Harry Potter, so 2006 and 2007 must have been the years I attended, oh 2019 Fair, you cannot come soon enough).

Now, for the vodka, and it is SWELL. After years of doing design work for others in the beverage industry (which he still does for places like Peace Tree Brewing), John decided to take the advice he gives out to clients, and put it into his own vodka company – and thus, SWELL Vodka was born. We talk about the first three years of running a second business, and what is involved, and regulations, so many regulations.

We also talk about how design can lead to changes in housing for the homeless, doing work for hundreds of clients over the years (including a 5-times platinum Lynyrd Skynyrd album), some student advice, and more.


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