I have a good friend who has two first names and creates strong and imaginative goods of the highest quality. His design studio is an artist-filled, leathery haven that reeks (beautifully) of wares that never disappoint in odor or aesthetics. His name is Jason Gregory, and he is the founder and design director of Makr Carry Goods. Here, he chats with me about his line.
Jeremiah Simmons: Makr is one of those unique brands that's revered for its emphasis on quality and durability but also on design and strong aesthetics. How do you find that delicate balance between fashion and function without sacrificing either?
Jason Gregory: Function is essential to the products we design because their main goal is to carry something—without this there is no product. Where I hope our products become interesting is in the patterning and construction. The moment that someone realizes how a seam dies into another—or that the bag can convert into something else with very few steps—is what I think gives value. It shows that we have really thought about each piece and removed any non-essential parts.
Jeremiah Simmons: Right now, Makr is known for its leather and canvas accessories. What other products would you hope Makr to be known for in years to come?
Jason Gregory: We are starting a furniture and home goods section of the brand. We will be developing objects in our new fabrication shop that has just been renovated with a Five-Axis CNC machine that we just purchased, along with many traditional wood and metal working tools.
Jeremiah Simmons: Makr is the quintessential American brand yet it has a following worldwide. How do you continue to foster the brand and expand it on a global scale?
Jason Gregory: In all honesty, we don't do much. There is no advertising or intense brand strategy to what we are doing. We make things we think are nice and try our hardest in design and production. Most of the time, it seems to work out. There are definitely certain pockets of the world that are interested in what we are doing more than others. Australia, Singapore, Japan, and Canada are very kind to us.
Jeremiah Simmons: Makr's beginnings—you first started designing and creating from your garage—are inspiring. What advice would you give to someone looking to create a product and develop a brand?
Jason Gregory: I have a tough time with this type of question. I feel like every moment of my life led me to this point. Immerse yourself in design and images, make things, don't be afraid to make mistakes—all of the typical inspirational jargon. Learn to do every single task involved in what you are making. Oh, yeah: Don't copy. Try to find your own vision, and if you can't, then maybe you aren't supposed to be doing it.
If you want more on Makr and other items Jeremiah covets, check out his blog A Headlong Dive.