29 July 2017
You might have noticed a new phrase popping up around our site and in our emails. Here's what it means to us:
Design Inspires What You Do
We believe that design inspires your work, life, and play. We believe that when you surround yourself with people and objects that matter, it subtly yet powerfully inspires you to do better in all things. When you interact with a well-designed and well-made object, it in turn can lead to more inspiration and beauty that ripples outward.
That idea and that feeling have always been with us at Grovemade—but we never came out and said it. It informed our actions, as a business and as individuals, while remaining in our subconscious. It took learning more about our customers and a chance encounter with Jamie Mustard to bring it to light.

It Started with a Watch

Jamie Mustard is a Portland-based intellectual and author. He’s a dynamic thinker, and he is a huge fan of product design and art. As the story goes, a few years back he was walking down the street in Astoria, OR, when he noticed a watch on a fellow walker. He says the watch face was “monolithic”, and it caught his attention immediately. It was our Square Wood Watch 01, and it started a conversation with the gentlemen wearing the Watch, who just happened to be the dad of our co-founder Joe Mansfield. Thus, Jamie heard of Grovemade.
Fast forward to 2016. Ken attended a talk that Jamie was giving in Portland. He was inspired by the speech, and waited to chat with Jamie afterward. The more they talked, the more the ideas resonated. Jamie was curious to learn more about Grovemade, so we invited him over to school us on his theories about objects, product design, and Immersion.


We had met Jamie at a fortuitous time—we were in the midst of getting to know our customers, what motivated them and how we could better create value for them through our designs. We were in the midst of redefining and coming to understand our core values with fresh eyes.

Jamie helped us to understand that the simple act of putting ideas into words gives them so much power and clarity. And sometimes, someone from the outside can help you to realize what’s worth stating.

Out of this process, we realized that Grovemade stands for three, overarching things:
1 Design Inspires What You Do.
2 Process Can Be Beautiful.
3 People Matter.
We lead with design. The details, the natural materials, the functionality. These are the things that bring us joy in the process—and we heard from customers that they feel the same way.

Why is this so important? Because of Immersion. Because everything in your life impacts you in subtle yet powerful ways. By immersing yourself in things that matter, you can weave meaning into your life. Being mindful of what you choose to bring into your life is a powerful practice.
The dark side of immersion is clutter—surrounding yourself in acres of meaningless stuff. We always hope to find the balance between minimizing unnecessary items while maximizing what is necessary. The things you use every day, the people you spend 40 hours a week with, the projects you choose to pursue in your bits of free time—these are the areas which ought to be approached with intention. And this is why we pour so much into design.

Jamie loves art, and music. His house is filled with massive oil paintings and books on design and art. He surrounds himself with musicians and artists.

“Immersion is like a bass note. You can't always hear it, but you can feel it. It's what gives the music that 'umph.'”

If you’re immersed in things you love, especially in your work, what you create will have depth and meaning.

At Grovemade, that bass note is design. It’s the subtle details and the intention that go into each of our products. We hope those designs in turn bring you joy. We hope that the angles of the chamfer, the shapes of the turns, and the overall aesthetic enliven your space.

We hope that the hand-finished quality and the natural material connect you to our process, and everything going on behind the scenes in our Portland, OR, shop.

And, we hope that the hand-written notes and the many hands that work on each item before it ships out provide a conduit to connect you to the individuals on our team.

Further Reading