Six o’clock a.m. and my alarm drums me awake. I dress in the dark and me and the dog tiptoe downstairs. I click on the coffee machine, grab his leash, and off we go into the gray morning. Back at home, I make a couple PB & J’s (one for now, one for lunch) and pour my coffee into my travel mug. I wolf down my sandwich, brush my teeth, zip out the door, and it’s off to the bus stop. The bus rolls up and I grab a seat as we zip down MLK, from the Northeast to the Southeast of the city. At seven-twenty I’m pushing through the front door of Grovemade.
In the shop, my workmates are getting ready for our morning huddle, the time when we set our objectives for the day. By seven-thirty I’m at my seat in the assembly area with Misbah, my fellow assembly pal. Ten feet away, Danielle, our laser operator, is cutting down leather hides and prepping the wood veneer that’ll be heat-pressed to the leather for our wood and leather cases. The laser cutters, each of which are the size of a Smart Car, are whirring back and forth, the first step that will take the walnut plank inside from raw material to finished iPhone case. There’s a slight scent of burnt wood in the air that smells like incense.
We pull our gear for the first part of the day: leather covers, walnut and maple frames. We’ve got forty to get through. Step one is to sand a tiny chamfer on to the interior wooden edge of the cover. Next, we burnish the exterior edge of the leather. Midway through and it’s eight-thirty. Time to stretch.