Good Thing is a NY-Based manufacturer of small objects and household accessories. Founded by Industrial Designer Jamie Wolfond in 2014, the company has quickly gained international attention for creating well-considered objects that are universally accessible.
With a mission to restore America’s reputation as a world leader in the design industry, Good Thing aims to create thoughtful objects that can be enjoyed by everyone. Following in the footsteps (and tradition) of designers like Charles and Ray Eames, Good Thing collaborate with some of the best and brightest artists and designers from around the world to make this vision a reality. Each design studio they work with shares a love of manufacturing and curiosity about the process, while offering an entirely unique perspective. Their unique approach has garnered praise from such publications as, Dwell Magazine, Elle Decor Magazine and the New York Times.
1. What did you want to be when you grew up?
A designer – Forever. When I was really young I wanted to design cars, but from age 12 on I was fairly set on furniture.
2. When and what was the moment that prompted you to start your own brand?
Although I always knew I wanted to run my own business, I originally planned on being strictly a design studio and licensing with large manufacturers. After graduating from school, I spent a year designing and pitching to other companies. I found the process really unrewarding – most of the companies I was working with at the time weren’t very transparent about their manufacturing techniques or thought process. Finally, I decided that the products I was pitching would be better realised if I made them myself.
Around the same time, I was tinkering with this idea of ‘backward design’, a process that involves setting up a relationship with a manufacturer and designing the product by sending samples back and forth with that company. The idea is that going into the manufacturing process without preconceptions of a process’ capabilities and limitations yields medium specific objects that really want to be manufactured. This technique in combination with my realisations about the business of licensing made self-production a fairly obvious choice.
I wasn’t very far into founding my own manufacturing company before I realised that I wanted to involve other designers. The one thing that had made licensing so exciting to me was the opportunity to be a part of a collection that represented a dialogue between several creative voices. Bringing in other talent made Good Thing just that.
3. In 3 words, describe your occupation.
I like using the expression ‘designer-businessman’ – can a hyphen be a word?
I once worked for a designer who looked down on people who were simultaneously designers and entrepreneurs – he used the ‘designer-businessman’ expression a good deal. I think this was because he believes that those worlds are sometimes mutually exclusive. Perhaps this influence was the reason it took me a year to start manufacturing. Once I did, it became obvious that the perceived line between conceiving and selling (as seen especially in European design) is simply the goofiest thing ever.
I’ve held onto the expression because the things I learn in business influence my work and my work influences my business.
4. What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Well, a lot of great people have told me to work hard, and they were all definitely right.
5. What is your favourite outlet to get the juices flowing?
6. Where do you see yourself and the brand in 10 years time?
I would like to keep growing and developing Good Thing for the foreseeable future. So many of the decisions I make come as a response to the things I’m learning that I would be nervous to narrow down a ten year plan quite yet. I know that I would like to build our brand’s reputation, and eventually expand the line to include a range of furniture.
7. If you could invite any five celebrities to dinner, who would be on the guest list?
Stephen Malkmus, Madonna, Tom Cruise, Bill Murray and Woody Allen.
Jamie believes that the best results in design comes from a combined collaboration of artists instead of a singular mind, which has resulted in a vast amount of success and value. Good thing creates highly valued items such as pocket mirrors and small containers that are crafted in a distinguishable manner to offer elegant solutions. Their minimal approach to design results in products that are simultaneously inconspicuous and full of life, looking at home in any space.