April 11, 2016
Happy Monday, ya’ll! Today we’re thrilled to have maker Andrew Perkins chat with us about Fire Road, his design philosophy and his San Francisco-based business.
Where did your business name come from? Is there an interesting history behind it?
I grew up in a small community of about 100 homes in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The community is perched on a ridge line in the mountains, surrounded by forests and bordered by a state park. There is a network of fire roads below the house I grew up in, and these fire roads were a gateway to nature and adventure during my child hood. I decided to name my company Fire Road as I start this new adventure.
I’ve always been a maker, but my passion for design didn’t start until my early 20’s. I was training to be a cabinet maker at a trade school in Seattle when I started to research furniture design. My research led me to some of the greats like George Nakashima, Hans Wegner, Alvar Aalto, Charles and Ray Eames and Tapio Wirkkala. These icons still inspire me today.
I enjoy working with small scale products. The development is fun, rewarding and relatively quick compared to other design fields.
What do you think sets your designs apart from others?
I have a sensitivity to materials and a knowledge of production and manufacturing processes that allows me to apply techniques and materials in new ways.
Nothing major yet, but the company is only 9 months old.
Have you sacrificed anything to create your business? If so, what was it, and do you have any regrets?
In order to start Fire Road, I quit my job as the Lead Designer for Pablo Designs, which is a well-known LED lighting company that creates great products. The job was very secure and I was working on exciting projects, but I don’t have any regrets.
What has been your proudest/favorite moment since creating your business?
My favorite product is the Edge Domino Set, which is the first product launched by Fire Road. The favorite moment is when I put Edge Dominos on Kickstarter and reached my finding goal within the first 2 weeks.
San Francisco is full of open, intelligent and creative people. I get inspired by my peers and the sharing of knowledge. I also get inspired by the stunning landscape and nature surrounding the SF bay area.
What valuable experience/knowledge did you have before starting your business?
I had 4 years experience of designing and developing products for production before starting Fire Road.
What made you take this leap into being your own boss?
This is something I’ve always wanted to do. I love having control over my time and how I spend it, even if I spend most of it doing work.
I love combining natural materials with metal and man-made materials. I’m inspired by traditional craft techniques and how they can be interpreted using modern manufacturing methods.
What are some tips or suggestions you’d like to offer to fellow makers?
Play to your strengths and hold onto the core values that inspired you to create in the first place.