When it comes to design, Apple has quite a reputation. Powered by Jony Ive’s minimalist sense of style, the Cupertino giant uses metal and glass in ever-diminishing quantities. You wouldn’t ordinarily think that accessories created using time-honored methods would suit these very modern products. Yet time and time again, Grovemade has proved us all wrong. This small Portland startup has been making beautiful Apple accessories, timeless desk products and EDC essentials for eight years. We thought it was about time to tell their story.
From the start, Grovemade felt more like an artisanal project than big business.
The journey began when Ken Tomita moved his existing custom furniture firm into a new workshop in Portland. The building backed onto a railroad, but it suited his needs. Across the road lived a man named Joe Mansfield. The two had never met before, but they instantly formed a bond. Mansfield was running his own digital art and laser engraving business out of a spare bedroom. Feeding off each other’s creative spirit, the pair would share ideas and dream of future projects.
In the summer of 2009, those dreams started to become reality. Without any clear plan of action, Tomita and Mansfield decided to “make cool stuff and have fun doing it.” Somehow, their combined creativity made up for the lack of strategic thinking. Grovemade was born.
Today, the company creates a wide range of products in a 5000 square-foot former auto repair shop. Along with 18 members of staff, Grovemade collaborates with independent creative talent.
Along with 18 members of staff, Grovemade collaborates with independent creative talentClick to tweet
Some of our favorite Grovemade creations are Apple accessories. For instance, iPhone owners can protect their device with stunning walnut or maple grain. These cases offer the rock-solid protection of hardwood, and the elegance of hand-sanded timber. They even have small wooden button covers, and a carefully cut aperture for the audio jack.
For better grip, you can upgrade to the leather and maple version, or get the iPhone Wallet Case. The latter product wraps your device in leather and wood, with slim pockets to hold your credit cards.
Mac owners are just as well catered for. You can use the Maple Monitor Stand to elevate your iMac, or securely hold your laptop in the Walnut Macbook Dock. Grovemade also offers beautiful leather straps for the Apple Watch, and wood sleeves for iPads.
The Perfect Desk
But the folks at Grovemade are not totally obsessed with Apple. They make a range of general desk accessories that can be used by anyone.
The Wool Felt Desk Pad protects the surface of your worktop and makes typing more comfortable. When you’re not working, the stylish Keyboard Tray will keep things tidy. Furthermore, you can use the solid wood Dish and Pen Cup to maintain order. The Desk Lamps shed light on your work, while the planters are perfect for small succulents.
Perhaps the most impressive desktop product, however, is the Walnut Speakers and Amp set. Created by industrial designer, Joey Roth, they combine smooth wood curves and sleek stainless steel.
Grovemade’s repertoire doesn’t stop there. In fact, this Oregon company’s everyday carry essentials are some of its best products.
There is no doubt that Grovemade is a huge success story. As a result, we can expect to see many more great products coming from downtown Portland.
Do you own some Grovemade gear? Share your experiences in the comments!