WAAM Industries: An Industrial Brand Making An Impact On The Simple (Yet Important) Aspects Of Our Daily Life.
I am so passionate about brands that aim to make a positive impact on the world, whether through conscious use of materials or multi-functional products that are designed to solve a problem. WAAM Industries (We Are Always On The Move Industries) is a brand that fits this category to a T. This husband and wife team is passionate about each product they design and lovingly bring to life from the ground up. Years ago, Andrew and Hanna Vomhof merged their creativity into the conception of an industrial product brand representative of their lifestyle and belief system.
Hanna and Andrew Vomhof of WAAM Industries
Inspired by everything from vintage finds at flea markets and garage sales, each WAAM Industries product is carefully crafted to stand the test of time. The brand sources each material individually to create high quality, natural products featuring a clean, linear design aesthetic. Everything is designed and manufactured in their Twin Cities, Minnesota work space or at home, where each design receives the attention it deserves. As you browse the brand's featured work below, you'll find that, as stated by the designers themselves, "many of the products at WAAM are based on simple utilitarian objects that play an important role in everyday life but are often over looked." From reusable wooden milk crates and pet bowls to the famous waxed canvas shopping tote and lunch bag, the brand has never deterred from its mission and design aesthetic.
This season I've been on a crusade to create a staple beach accessory that could potentially last a lifetime. As you browse through this website, you'll find that fashion products are a great passion of mine, lovingly inspired by some of my own needs and necessities. I started thinking about the summer season back in February, after all the major holidays are over and you're sort of stuck in limbo, waiting for the weather to warm up. It is during this "vulnerable" time that I often think about that perfect beach vacation.
I am lucky enough to be able to take one week-long beach trip a year. When the time finally comes, I scramble a bit to find a few good bathing suits, and over the years, I've learned that at least one good cover up is a must for every beach trip. They are super easy to pack, convenient and effortless when moving between the beach, the hotel, the pool, the boardwalk and so forth- Lots of places to be when you're at the beach, right?
Last summer however, I found myself wearing a sarong more than a cover up. I'm not sure if I was trying to maximize my tan or I just fell in love with the feminine fit and drape of a sarong without foregoing coverage. A classic sarong silhouette accentuates and flatters the waistline, while also feeling great around the hips and legs as it blows in the beach wind.
As I was testing and designing the microfiber beach towel for this upcoming season, it got me thinking about my own beach habits and what I feel most comfortable wearing and carrying to the beach. I instantly reverted back to this love I've developed for sarongs. Nonetheless, I am not ready to forgo a classic cover up either. So I thought why not have the cake and eat it too by creating an interchangeable, 2-in-1 cover up and sarong that can easily transition from one style to the other at the hand of one simple step. I love to pack light and use products that are durable, functional and serve more than one purpose. Since a beach trip is an occasion where packing smart is a must, the Sarong-to-Cover Up has now become my personal must-have.
I have always wanted to develop a product that had a bit of science to it. Out of my own need (and perhaps love) for easy-care, portable and convenient items, it came to me: A highly absorbent beach towel that is soft, lightweight and conveniently compact. Not that I'm a jet setter that takes multiple beach vacations a year (wouldn't that be nice...) but when I do finally take that week long beach trip, I love to pack light with functional, versatile items that don't weigh me down.
I have to say, a conventional beach towel has never done it for me. I usually dread packing it because it is bulky, heavy and takes up too much unnecessary space. When I take it down to the beach, it doesn't fit in just any beach tote or bag. The beach bag has to be large enough to accommodate the towel's volume and weight- It's either a large beach bag or I'm forced to wobble around with a bulky, wet beach towel in one hand and a bunch of other beach-related things in the other. As conventional terry fabric (used for traditional beach towels) absorbs more water, it becomes heavier and less absorbent, adding to its weight. On a hot summer day, this scenario is less than ideal.
I have to admit, the search for the perfect beach towel material took some trials and tribulations. Weight, softness and absorbency were key, and it took a few failed tries to finally hit the nail on the head and find the perfect balance between these three elements. The testing went on for months until I finally came across a specialized, double sided terry microfiber. One that has been engineered specifically for absorbency both in fiber content and weave construction, with the added bonus of lightness, softness and high draping capabilities. Once the fabric was discovered, the rest of the design elements, such as those special corner tassels I'll tell you more about later, came together effortlessly.
Portable. Compact. Lightweight.
These three elements are key to the ultimate functionality of the microfiber beach towel. After all, the quest started with these desired aspects in mind, and this particular double terry microfiber allows for their perfect merging. It features a specialty weave constructed with filaments that are 3 times finer than silk. And what is silk known for? Softness, drape and a luxurious feel on the skin.
The unique construction of these filaments incorporates their softness and drape into a thin double layer of terry microfiber. Pair this quality with a specialized weaving process, and you've got yourself a light, compact beach towel for everyday use. Perhaps what I love most about this particular textile is that despite its very lightweight characteristic, it feels sturdy and stable on beach sand or a pool chair. Conveniently, the towel folds into thin layers that are light and highly portable, fitting into just about any beach bag.
"Less is more" says Ha Le of Less Is More Jewelry. She has built a successful jewelry brand around the idea that jewelry should complement a women's natural beauty rather than overwhelm it. Ha was introduced to jewelry making and design back in college when she took a jewelry class. Naturally, given her passion for art (especially drawing and painting) she was fascinated by the idea of designing and building something 3-dimensional. Since then, she has developed a jewelry brand that stays true to a gentle and luxurious style perfectly congruent to the brand's name- Less Is More. Ha believes in improving one's self every single day and uses her brand as a platform to positively impact the world.
Behind the beautifully feminine jewelry, there is a heartwarming charitable cause- one that has been with Ha since she was attending middle school in Vietnam. Smile Restaurant in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam provides meals to disadvantaged, low-income Vietnamese workers and families that are in need of quality food and meal sustainability. Every Less Is More piece of jewelry sold provides a meal for someone in need regardless of their job, appearance or disability. Less Is More Jewelry also donates a portion of all sales towards the restaurant's survival and operation contributing to cooking ingredients, rent and gas/water bills. The brand's volunteers donate their precious time to the sustainability and daily operation of the restaurant, cooking meals in the tropical Vietnam heat and taking pride in the smiles each meal brings.
Photo courtesy of Less Is More Jewelry
In her quest for development, Ha doesn't stop at jewelry. She incorporates everything she loves into her business and a love for nature is one of her greatest passions. She created Succulents Box which has since become a successful part of her brand, offering a variety of unique succulent species and a blog featuring succulent information and care tips. Ha's love for succulents comes as no surprise. They symbolize harmony and endurance, thriving in poor soil and low-water conditions thus serving as a perfect addition to a brand featuring such a kind, compassionate message.
Perhaps what will be most notable in the interview with Ha Le below is her humble and hardworking spirit. She allows us a look into her design process and provides some words of wisdom and inspiration for all creative souls that dream of one day building a brand out of what they love.
Photo courtesy of Less Is More Jewelry
When did you start designing and making jewelry and how did you discover your love for this craft?
I first learned jewelry making skills back in college in a Jewelry class. I was a painter and drawer, so that jewelry class was my first ever experience creating something three dimensional. It was definitely more challenging as I had to think and execute more carefully so that my creations could be enjoyed from all different angles. Making jewelry has become my passion since then.
The Story Of Kara Whitten, Owner And Creative Director Of Kailo Chic- A Vibrant Lifestyle Brand That Brightens The World With Color.
Color is at the forefront of Kailo Chic, a lifestyle and accessories brand that offers vibrant accessories, home goods, decor and beyond. Kailo Chic products brighten any space they are incorporated into, adding a touch of effortless happiness and whimsy. Founded by Kara Whitten in 2005, Kailo Chic developed form a simple, on-the-whim purchase at the fabric store into a full time, nationwide business. Aside from colorful products ranging from accessories to one-of-a-kind vases and wrapping paper, Kara added A Kailo Chic Life blog to the business, featuring unique DYI ideas and crafts that remain true to the brand.
Kara Whitten of Kailo Chic
Kara finds everything around her inspiring and it certainly shows in her vibrant work. Behind the beautifully colorful design, there is a uniquely inspiring story. In 2005, she found herself freshly out of college with a chemical engineering degree, a new job, and the task of planning a wedding. Within the first week at her new job, she says she simply freaked out and quit. Somehow, her truly creative and vibrant personality (which shows in every single piece she designs/makes) just couldn't be confined by a having a boss or working a 9-to-5 in a lab for the rest of her life.
The brand was born the day she went to the fabric store in search of her wedding dress fabric. While browsing the store, she found a pattern for a unique handbag. She bought some fabric with the little money she had left, went home and made the handbag that same day. This was the very first project that marked the conception of Kailo Chic. Things just naturally snowballed from there- She followed her own process, learned from every experience, and gave the brand the opportunity to grow organically on its own.
Photo courtesy of Kailo Chic
In the interview to follow, Kara shares her unique story, incredible love for color, and creative process. Find out what's in store for Kailo Chic next and how she got a successful business off the ground while working a full time job. Her encouraging words are a must-read for those that dream of breaking out a 9-to-5 lifestyle and channel their individual creativity.
An Uplifting Interview With Artist Kristen Saksa Juen: Bringing Nature-Inspired Ceramics To Modern Spaces.
This morning, as I was browsing through pictures of Kristen Saksa Juen's beautiful ceramics, I inadvertently landed on her Instagram page. A black and white image of clay pieces neatly arranged in a kiln caught my eye. The message adjacent to it made an even more powerful statement as it is a true depiction of Kristen Saksa Juen's journey through her artistic development. She says: " I'm grateful to call myself an artist. Not to say it isn't a lot of hard work that comes with some trade offs. And it took me time, a looong time to even have the courage to say the words 'I am an artist'. But I am so happy and grateful that I get to do this work."
As you'll discover in the interview with Kristen below, art was always present in her life even when she wasn't intently pursuing it. That's the thing about art- you don't choose it, it chooses you. A true artist doesn't actively decide to become an artist. Vise versa, your artistic spirit grabs hold of you and doesn't let go until it is explored and pursued.
Kristen Saksa Juen
She loves to work with her hands, free-forming and feeling the textures while creating a bond with each material at hand. Kristen sees accidental imperfections as beautiful. To her, what some might perceive as an "imperfection" she sees as a gift that comes from each individual artistic process, creating pieces that are always one-of-a-kind. As opposed to other ceramicists, she does not work on a wheel but rather prefers to hand-mold each piece to her individual artistic rhythm. Her connection to nature is prevalent in her love for naturally vibrant colors, creating unique plant potters, and hand carving nature-inspired prints which she designs to fit within a clean space, both modernizing and refreshing it. She describes her work as "a connection to nature in modern spaces".
It took Kristen years to discover herself and become the artist she is today. As you'll notice in her work presented below, she incorporates the natural color of the clay (and its color variations) into the finished product, resulting in pieces that feel earthy yet maintain clean design lines. In the interview to follow, take a journey into the life of a ceramics artist, from the everyday process of designing and making each piece to the challenges and rewards associated with this artistic exploration.
When and how did you become interested in pottery/ceramics?
I remember being fascinated with ceramics as a child, but it wasn’t until I was in college that I took a couple ceramics classes on the side for fun. My creativity was always something that I thought I would have to satisfy on the side. It took me several more years to have confidence in my artwork, appreciate the value of my creativity, and entertain the idea of working as an artist. When I got back into ceramics and started to develop my own artistic style, I started having so much fun I couldn’t stop.
Photo courtesy of Kristen Saksa Juen
There is a beautiful earthy, clean quality mixed with architectural structured edges in your work. How do you describe this unique aesthetic and what inspires you artistically in your work?
I am inspired by the beauty of nature and my love for the outdoors greatly influences my creativity. I particularly love getting inspiration from mountainous landscapes, and unique plants. I strive to create ceramics that spark a connection with nature for modern spaces. Additionally, I strive to express the beauty I see in the process of working in clay. I love to create items that grow into their own unique character, and to celebrate the beauty of handmade.
Photo courtesy of Kristen Saksa Juen
I love how you use color in your pieces- it makes a statement visually, yet still remains very earthy and natural. Can you describe what color represents to you in your work?
I love to use the color of the clay itself as a color in my pallet. Clay by its nature, comes in many earthy tones from white to tan and brown. I enjoy incorporating the color of the ungalzed raw clay into my designs which I think gives my work an additional connection to nature.
A journey into our design process, sewing tutorials, fashion tips, and all the inspiring people and things we love.
Today, allow yourself a few moments to explore and feel inspired and don't forget that everyday is an opportunity to learn something new. Never stop searching for what makes you truly happy.
LEARN TO SEW BOX
MICROFIBER BEACH TOWEL
11:11 JACKET CONVERTIBLE TO BAG