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.
We recorded this a day or two after Apple’s announcements of a new phone line – and a big advancement in their watch technology. I know I’ll eventually end up with a new iPhone at sometime…but who knows when that’ll be, as I’m pretty set on just riding my phone out until it decides it’s time. I do look forward to Steve sending me hourly memos from his watch – just to let me know he got the new one though…
We also cover trends (note: you NEED a #HVYCRWN fanny pack – make this happen).
And a large chunk of time is of us trying to remember if the Apple IIE had an optional color monitor. I WAS RIGHT! Steve check this – someone playing Oregon Trail on a color monitor. And the IIE was nothing, if not a way to play Oregon Trail. I can feel the dysentery coming on now, and it’s not good.
Elizabeth was the luncheon keynote speaker, and gave a great presentation about the intersections between human behavior, science, and communication. How can we use behavioral science and psychology to make communication more effective? And also, how can we test the results of these things? Elizabeth is working to make public relations and psychology work together as a form of communication science.
This is the last of the podcasts recorded at OnBrand 2018. What a great event – and I look forward to seeing how it evolves in the years to come. In the world of design, we don’t all do public relations, marketing, and advertising as well, but there is an overlap. And at one point or another, we seem to all work on something that involves parts of the other, or with someone who specializes in one of these fields. It was a lot of fun spending the day in Omaha at an event focusing on all of these professions, and how they work together in branding. Thanks again to the four organizations that put this event on.
We talk about working in a super-creative (in this case, music) field, working with Annie Lennox, and how to stay current while dealing with the magic of music.
Once again, recorded in the hallway (and obviously between sessions at the event, as you can hear the many people walking by us) at the OnBrand Conference in Omaha – a collaboration of the local AAF, AIGA, AMA, and PRSA chapters. Nicole was the closing keynote speaker, talking about “What freaks you out?” In this case – public speaking – and what you can do about your own fears.