Designing the Headphone Stand
We designed our headphone stand in 2019—it's become a classic part of the collection since then. Come behind the scenes with our design team to read how it came to life.
Why Design a Headphone Stand?
Because we hadn’t yet. And because headphones and music are integral to work. We’re always on the hunt for ways to expand the desk collection and challenge ourselves at the same time. Could we design a headphone stand different from the banana stand style we were used to? Yes, thanks to…
Illustration of traditional headphone stands juxtaposed with an identical banana stand.
Illustration of traditional headphone stands juxtaposed with an identical banana stand.
Sean was at his daughter’s gymnastics class, watching gymnasts on the balance beam, when it dawned on him: instead of a hook stand, let’s try a line—a promising idea that he and Ken decided to run with.

The next step was giving that line an identity, a shape.

When we’re moving forward we have one foot in what we’ve done before and one foot in the future—the ‘what can we do?’

Lead Product Designer
Our foot in the past was anchored on the key ring design, a classic Grovemade example of taking a line and bending it into a sculptural curve.
Our step into the future came through the materials and how we would layer them.
Walnut wood headphone stand with premium black leather inlay on the Grovemade Wood Desk Shelf for iMac.
Felt—Not Feeling It
Our early prototypes had a cork body with a layer of felt. We do love felt for its softness and lower cost, so it was a logical start for us.

But Sean had a vision of making an indentation, a sort of cradle for the headphone cans that doubled as a visual break to what risked being a monolithic surface. When looking at the felt prototypes head-on, this indentation nearly disappeared. So we swapped in leather, and it was love at first sight. In every light, at every angle, the leather made that detail sing.

But then if you give a stand some leather, it’s going to want some wood! So cork was out, wood was in, and our line was taking shape.

New thing number one: the leather dip.
The Grovemade Maple Wood Desk Collection featuring bent wood monitor stand, wool felt desk pad, and wood headphone stand.
It’s Like a Mirror
The symmetry of headphones lent itself to a symmetry in the stand. A sturdy wood post in the middle, a metal frame on either side, and a layer of leather over each of those. Up to this point, we hadn’t made a mirrored product like this.
New thing number two: the sandwich.

Next up, we had to bring these concepts into a robust physical form. Time to get dimensions!
Sean Goes to Best Buy
In addition to printing paper prototype after paper prototype and taping these up on a wall over a desk, Sean packed up his pencil and measuring tape and made a trip to Best Buy, prototype in hand.

SEAN KELLY (Lead Designer): I took one of the prototypes to a Best Buy and put all the headphones on it. I measured every single headphone set. Really fun… and slightly embarrassing.

We wanted a stand that fit as many headphone sizes as we could, without compromising on the beauty and function.

KEN TOMITA (Grovemade Co-Founder): There’s always a limit. If you make a product that fits everything, you kind of end up losing the product.

The Oak Headphone Stand with matching oak monitor stand.
All Sides are Good Sides
We ran through iterations quickly and suddenly had a headphone stand we believed in. One more question, one we ask every time we design a product: Does it look good when not in use?

Our stuff needs to look good without the thing on it. The headphone stand can be headphone-less and not look 'naked.'

Any which way we turned it, the answer was yes. Which brings up another point. You can position the stand like a fin: narrow side facing you, headphones ready to make a beeline for your head.

Or you can rotate it 90 degrees and look at the face. The fin plays up the fine line; the face frames the headphones.
Profile and straight-on view of the walnut headphone stand.

SEAN KELLY: There are so many beautiful headphones. We wanted to celebrate those products.

Whether you pick fin or frame, your headphones get the spotlight.
Ice Cream Sandwich, Cherry on Top
For the finishing detail, we put grooves at the top of the wood oval. A technical-looking touch that grounds the sculptural identity of the stand, keeps it from plain-ness, and gives a visual grip and target to register the headband.
Detail of the top ridges on the walnut wood headphone stand, helping to keep your over ear headphones in place.
In a fun turn of events:

SEAN KELLY: It’s an ice cream sandwich for your headphones, and the grooves are the cherry on top.

We’d made something new, with DNA from our product design history, and filled a gap in our desk collection.

KEN TOMITA: This is what it’s supposed to be. It’s an anchor in our lineup.

SEAN KELLY: Yeah it hit the right notes. It really has ended up being exactly what it needed to be.

Spoken like true Rodins. Now grab some ice cream, pop your headphones on, and let’s celebrate.
Elevated Audio
The wood headphone stand coordinates with our entire desk collection.
Now available in four material options.

Further Reading