Five Minutes With General Manufacturing Concern
It’s early days yet for Brooklyn-based General Manufacturing Concern, founded in 2013 by Hunter Craighill and Dylan Fareed. However, this young brand is producing some handy-looking carry with a focus on simplicity, functionality and durability. We got some insights into the brand from Hunter…
1. – What key insights drive your stuff?
I reckon our products have a unifying aesthetic – straightforward, novel construction and color – but we are a process-driven products company. We make stuff we want to live with and we make stuff to grow our understanding of the manufacturing process. Having released just seven products at this point, we’re just getting started by any measure, but we approach each product as an opportunity to explore a new set of materials or as an opportunity to work with new expert craftsmen who can teach us a thing or two. That’s, I gather, why our first products are as varied as they are. We are consciously plotting out a broad matrix of product groups – from blankets and metal goods to wallets, bags and jump ropes. We’re also keenly aware of the relationships we’re creating with customers. Right from the beginning we’ve offered “Friday Pick-Up” as a fulfillment option – customers can come into the office and pick up their orders on Friday afternoons. Though buying beers for folks who would come in to pick up a keyring eats into our margins sales, its a great way to get to know what folks want and to hear how they actually interact with the things we are putting out there. Establishing that communication has been really important for us. It’s also demonstrated to us how much people do care about the context of the products they live with. So consequently we put a lot of emphasis on that context, publishing information about run sizes, where materials come from and where most everything is put together and finished.
2. – Who else is doing rad things in the world of carry? Could you elaborate on those things and why you think they’re important?
Man, there is so much good going on in the world of carry. Epperson Mountaineering and master-piece both do good jobs balancing technical and handsome. I’d like to see more bags combining modern materials and palettes with classic elements, it feels forward-looking. Similarly, I also really dug the weirdness – and yet contextual appropriateness – of the Wetsuit Bag that our neighbors Baggu and Pilgrim Surf + Supply released this year. Much like Outlier’s minimal ultralight backpack (with HMG), it’s not a bag that fits into my daily routine, but I admire the boldness. Bags like those really push us all to do better.
3. – Are there any things other brands do that you think are crap or common mistakes that drive you nuts?
I try to focus on the inspiring brands and designs, but I definitely notice the pitfalls. Poor quality is always disappointing, whether it originates with design, material, or construction. A less obvious issue we see is companies defining their product line through nostalgia. The upside to the swell of heritage and workwear is the greater appreciation for quality and individuality – but the aesthetic focus on those eras seems short-lived. Leather aprons and old-timey graphics may always be around, but solely focusing on referential aesthetics is much less interesting to us than exploring our current era and looking towards the future.
4. – What’s next for you guys?
In addition to bags and wallets, we actually work in a variety of mediums outside of the world of carry. As it happens, the next product on our release schedule is a briefcase that we’re pretty excited about. We’re also testing some additional wallet styles, including a bill-fold. Beyond that, we’ve got some new home products in various stages of development that should be ready before the end of Summer. Given our company’s youth, our main focus is continuing the conversation with our customers and growing the catalog.
5. – What do you carry daily and how?
My daily carry is pretty simple:
- Our Pinnacles 3-pocket wallet (an early prototype)
- Nontron camp knife
- Our Wilson Keyring in brass
- Moleskine squared notebook and mechanical pencil
- Our Minocqua Hold’n Fold in Grey / Red (also a prototype)
Photo credit :: lexiemoreland.com