Interviews

A quick chat w/RichWorks

by , June 5, 2013

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RichWorks is a carry brand brought to life this year, so it’s pretty damn fresh. They’re making some nice-looking sleeves for your phone/tablet/laptop. They aren’t groundbreaking in any sense, but they are simple, clean, attractive and they work. A lot of brands seem to overlook the simple options and create pieces with way too much happening. It’s just the opposite with RichWorks; you get a nice nylon sleeve that’s just a little different to the others out there, almost looks like you could sleep in one. :)

We spoke quickly with founder Evan Rich to get an idea of what’s making him tick and why he didn’t go the Kickstarter route.

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Where did you study?

I studied Industrial Design at Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston.

What did you find the most beneficial things you learnt whilst studying?

The ability to get hands on and the encouragement from the staff to do so really helped me grow as a designer. If you come in as a freshman with no tools or equipment experience, and you stick with ID until graduation, you will walk out of there fully competent in a wood, metal and prototyping shop. Having that ability to not just draw nice images of your ideas but also make them into physical models, prototypes and products is huge.

Something I learned sort of retrospectively is that as a designer you don’t always have to reinvent the wheel to create a great product. I didn’t necessarily know that in college but I think by so often trying to reinvent the wheel in school, I now know that it isn’t required to be successful. It is fun trying though.

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What made you want to design accessories rather than bags, etc? 

I see accessories as more of a jumping off point for me than the final destination. Accessories are a great starting point because, being that RichWorks is currently a one-man show, I can create beautiful, high quality products in an efficient manner while minimizing waste. I’m hoping to gain some customers and fans with the accessories, learn, grow (hopefully), and then translate the design language to larger items like bags and packs.

Why did you want to start your own brand so soon, rather than working for others first?

The sound of owning my own brand and selling my own products is just too good not to at least give it a try. We live in a society where you can almost always go work for someone else, so I figured I’d give working for myself a shot and just see what happens. Every step of this project, the design, the marketing, the manufacturing has been a lot of fun and a great learning experience. Even if I don’t sell much, at the very least I’ll come out of it with a lot of knowledge and a great project for my portfolio.

No Kickstarter?

I’ve thought about it. I don’t need a ton of capital for what I’m doing right now, so that’s the reason I haven’t immediately gone to Kickstarter. I feel I’ll end up going to it sooner or later just to try it out and get some more exposure. I’d love to hear some opinions on what people think about it though. Should every new startup use it just for the sake of exposure?

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What’s one movie everyone should watch?

Art of Flight, for a few reasons; A, because the level that Travis Rice and his friends are pushing big mountain snowboarding is insane. B, because you get to see how much fun the riders have doing exactly what they love. It’s those kind of movies that make me ask myself why I would spend any amount of time doing something I don’t absolutely love. And finally C, it’s got a great soundtrack.

What’s one book everyone should read?

For other young designers, entrepreneurs or anyone trying to start a small business,  The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau is a good place to start. For everyone in general, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.

If you read them together however you might feel the urge to create a sheep herding, treasure hunting startup in Spain so be careful.

For more info, head over to RichWorks

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