I am so thrilled my friend Ben just recently launched his newest line of products, "I'm Sorry". It has been both a joy and a struggle watching him create over the past five years.
Benjamin Edgar, head of his own "Object Company", has been a great friend of mine for nearly as long as I've been in Grand Rapids. On one hand I would love to tell you what a phenomenal friend he is, how sensitive he is to show up at the right time, to support you through your struggles, to buy you a drink when you are desperately in need of one, but I would never tell you that. It would completely ruin his image so I'll just stick to the products.
There is such a unique brilliance to his work. I can honestly say that these are the items he has fallen in love with, yet he's so blunt sharing that some of them just don't really matter. Man, I wish this train of thought would catch on in the fashion industry. Every one wants us to think that this shoe or that cufflink is so influential. Ben simply disagrees, hence his tagline, "Or Whatever".
Ben describes his company as, "An object company blending a mix of irreverence, intense attention to detail, and a fascination with learning applications of any material. Concrete, ceramic, marble, cotton, leather, nylon, carbon fiber, modal, sand. The end goal creates a framework that delights consumers with the useful and useless while allowing its creator to continue to learn, develop, play, or whatever."
It actually says the main point of this brand exists so Ben can continue to learn, develop, play, and essentially pursue 'whatever' he wants to do. I simply love it. And can I say how much I appreciate the fact that Ben says his products are both useful and useless? No one says that!
I have to share a small story. Ben sells candles in ceramic containers. Originally, these candles had a unique scent that Ben had fallen in love with. But several weeks prior to his launch he told me he was removing the scent from the candles. I was in shock. Why? He told me the main point of this product was the candle in it's unique slip-cast ceramic container. He had decided he wasn't ready to release a scent, something that would further define this product. The odor, Ben admitted, would simply be too much. I feel this story somehow represents the brilliance Ben has acquired in processing this new line of objects.
The actual quality of these products are beyond normal. Hangars comprised of honed carrara marble and vacuum molded carbon fiber, products crafted from concrete and ceramic, a bag of Italian leather marked with a tag that says "a bag without any terribly remarkable features" and a line of designed t-shirts representative of Ben's past, present and future. He has lost sleep, worried about every stitch, garnered enough airline miles in his care over every detail to the point of near-obsession. Goodness, I WISH the products I typically buy came from a designer who cared this much about the final product.
And you know what I love the most? When my friends choose to chase down something that seems so silly to the rest of us. In my mind, Ben has found success no matter how this line of products sell. He may not agree with me, but I feel the fact that these products exist for purchase by the public is what truly matters. The act of creation is truly discovered when you release what you have crafted to the public. Whether the world loves it or hates it, it no longer matters. When a person shares what they love, it is always a success. Ben, I'm so proud of you, buddy.
To the rest of the internet, get crackin'... the world is eagerly awaiting what you have to offer next.