Based in Portland, Oregon, designer Jerod Schmidt is CINCH. Creating wooden planters with a playful design bent, we found out what makes Jerod tick – and how CINCH became what it is today.
I start a new design with a problem to solve, and I sketch out lots of possible solutions. Then I make mock-ups and fiddle with different materials. Often the best solutions come about serendipitously through experimentation. A final prototype is then made, where I work out all the kinks, and the product is ready for production.
On mixing work with home:
Our home is our workspace. We live in a 1953 bungalow in Southeast Portland. My partner and I are both artists and makers, and we’ve converted our small upstairs space into what we’ve dubbed the “design attic.” This is where most of the creativity happens: sketching, fiddling with mock-ups, etc. The woodwork is done in our garage with some basic power tools. After the pieces are finished, I bring them back to the studio to “cinch” them together and get them ready for shipping. When I need to clear my head I wander around our garden and see what new things are sprouting or blooming.
Growing up here in the Northwest, surrounded by an abundance of natural wonders, I have always been very influenced by nature. The CINCH planters are inspired by our love of the outdoors. The natural wood is reminiscent of hikes in the forest, and the paracord is used to secure camping tarps and reminds us of the shoelaces on our hiking boots.
On social media:
Although I have had an almost-allergic reaction to them in the past, I don’t think you can overstate the importance of the strategic use of hashtags. They are a powerful tool to reach wider audiences and are a great way to cross-promote with other makers and artists.
Start small. Don’t rush into buying a lot of expensive equipment or renting a fancy store-front. Too much overhead can kill an idea before it even has a chance to start. Starting small also means starting simple. Keep making until something clicks, then get it out there. Let your ideas evolve and grow, but don’t wait for that perfect, big, revolutionary concept to come along before people see your work. The process is as important as the product.