When I first walk into the Grovemade workshop, I’m greeted by an announcement from somewhere near the shipping desk.
"Thomas is here!"
Followed by a few more stray shouts.
I wave ambiguously and yell hello to the room. I can’t help but smile.
I’m here to try and pinpoint what makes this place special. In a city teeming with creativity and opportunity in industrial design, machining, and handmaking, how does this company attract and retain such talented and vibrant people? How do they stay so small, while producing at such a high level? And, most impressively, how do they continue to advance their brand, and maintain their place in the elite of handcrafting merchants? I’m about to learn that it’s not an amazing company yielding a brilliant staff, it’s the opposite.
Not long after I arrive, Ken walks in the front door, bundled against the cold in a stocking cap and scarf. He’s sick—out today with a head cold—but he stops by to check on the team.
The shouting is back.
Ken stops by his desk, an unassuming station near the center of the room, and I make my first observation: the actual layout of the Grovemade workshop is symbolic of the culture. It’s open, it’s cohesive, everyone works together, and everything is closely connected. It defies the standard for what a company should look like.
Turns out, this is no coincidence.