Grain & Mortar has been an award-winning branding and web development studio in Omaha, Nebraska since 2011, but 2018 brought them into the business of selling pants as well. Kristin DeKay, Eric Downs, and Jesse Harding stop by The Reflex Blue Show to discuss a little bit of the Grain & Mortar backstory, and then jumping to right around a year ago in buying a 135 year old building.
The new office location, as well as a legit storefront, got them to start one of their other goals – a retail shop selling men’s goods at 1414 South 13th Street. We talk about some of the things involved in opening and running Vincent Outfitting Company, the safari swords that come through the door, and more.
By the way, the Vincent Outfitters Company store really does look great. Getting a tour of the entire building a month before we recorded really showed the amount of effort and care the folks at Grain & Mortar put into their new space. Be sure to visit them this holiday season if you are in the area.
As for The Reflex Blue Show, as we record around half of our episodes at Eleven19, it’s fun to actually record season 11, episode 19 (and fittingly release this episode on November 19). Between this podcast and the Be A Design Cast that proceeded it, this month marks my 13th year of podcasting, which sounds a bit crazy to even type out. I really do appreciate the people I’ve been able to meet either in-person or online because of it, and give huge thanks to all of our great listeners who make it worthwhile.
We’ll be back in 2019 with season twelve, but until then…
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.
Bre Phelan is starting up a cat cafe in Omaha! In just a few months, Felius opens in downtown Omaha, and we talk about opening a cat cafe, starting up a non-profit, and of course her current day job of revolutionizing banner ads.
In an effort to find a different way to give back to the graphic design community (as well as giving back to the public relations and marketing communities as well), they created a free program for the college students in the area. Over the past five years, I have spoke at a FORGE panel, attended most (if not all) of the final class panels / portfolio reviews, and spoken with many of the students about their experience. It was only a matter of time before we had a podcast talking about this great program.
Lynn Schneider (who came up with the idea of FORGE), and Sarah Bergeron (a former FORGEr, and now on the other side of the FORGE) join us to talk all things FORGE, and where it’s headed next. Cody Fenske (a former FORGEr himself) joins me to co-host. Enjoy.
John Henry Müller is definitely a household name in the Omaha Design community. His involvement with such things as Big Omaha, The Mastercraft Building and the I Live in Omaha project are simply legendary around these parts. So when the news hit the presses that John’s famous web-shop “What Cheer” would be leaving the world of client work, and entering fully into the startup world – we at 36point knew we needed the inside scoop.
Turns out that John, along with his buddies Alex Gates and John Hobbes are gonna be taking the helm of a dog-enthusiast related start-up called PACK, based in San Francisco. (In fact, since this podcast was recorded – Mr. Müller announced, perhaps, the biggest news of all: he’s actually moving to San Francisco! Read his announcement HERE.)
Undoubtedly, Omaha is gonna miss this pillar of creativity and innovation – but if we know anything about John, we have not seen the last of him and his influence here in the Silicon Prairie. Please enjoy this light-hearted and candid interview with a pretty swell guy.