November 11, 2016
Maker Spotlight + Giveaway
Red House is a collaborative business between husband and wife duo, Matt and Britt. After taking the bold step of quitting their not-quite-fulfilling careers, they embarked on a new adventure making durable, minimalist handcrafted bags and leather and textile goods.
We’ve teamed up with Matt and Britt to give away one of their swoonworthy book bags! To enter, follow Redhouse on Instagram and tag a friend in our giveaway post. The winner will be chosen on Monday, November 14th!
Where did your business name come from? Is there an interesting story behind it?
The name Red House derives from the actual house we live in, and the idea behind its manifestation in our lives. Before shifting out of our unfulfilling careers and moving our family to the Green Mountains, we dreamt of a red house with a wood stove in a small Vermont village. Approximately one year after our move, our red house presented itself to us, and became the backdrop not only for the realization of our intentions, but also the beginning of our endeavors into small business ownership.
Have you always been passionate about design?
Absolutely. We are constantly inspired and influenced by what we find in the natural world that surrounds us, and also the manmade world of creation that we move within. For the latter, we are especially drawn toward a contemporary, minimalist aesthetic, which we incorporate into both our product designs and into our lifestyle as a whole.
Why did you start working in this particular craft?
After our move and change of mindset, we became emboldened by what we experienced. We wanted to next make an attempt toward a sense of independence in our lives, which naturally lead to an effort to generate our own livelihood. Using Britt’s natural talent as a stitcher, and Matt’s talent as a chameleon, we started making objects that were useful to us in our daily lives. We then moved this outward to products that were more marketable, i.e. handbags, travel bags and aprons.
What do you think sets your designs apart from others?
We feel that our endeavors toward minimalism create a unique characteristic in our designs. We make conscious efforts to strip our designs down to their beautiful core, and let the simplicity of their shape, color and function speak for itself. We are most drawn to design that allows bare, individualistic interpretation and seek to incorporate this ideal into our products.
Have you sacrificed anything to create your business? If so, what was it, and do you have any regrets?
Mainly, we have sacrificed our old, tired ideas of how we define success in both our professional careers and in our roles as parents, spouses and friends. We had to let go of the conditioned expectation of a traditional career path, and begin to create our own definition, which celebrates creativity, connection, inspiration and sovereignty. We have also sacrificed nearly every waking minute of the last two years to thinking, planning, making, striving and dreaming. We have absolutely no regrets.
How does the place you live in influence your work?
Vermont, as we have come to understand it, is filled with individuals creating their own reality, and striving to be independent from the societal norm. There is a strong sense of both self-reliance and community here, and while they first seem contradictory, when they are coupled together, they create one hell of a place to be.
What made you take this leap into being your own boss?
The idea of being a sovereign human being, and not having to rely on another for our livelihood was the single strongest motivator in our move to business ownership. We both want to be the authors of our own story, and believe that everyone has the ability and the right to declare this, and that we only need to claim it in order to make it our own.
What are some inspirations for your work?
We are inspired by the materials that we work with to a large extent. We love their industrial nature, and the almost alchemical process to taking these rigid textiles, and shaping them into our finished products. Sourcing high-quality, striking materials was paramount to us both, as they serve as the foundation upon which all our designs take shape.
What are some tips or suggestions you’d like to offer to fellow makers?
- Believe in yourself, your talents, your craft, your art, your trade.
- Just start making – anything – now.
- Price your products according to their true value.
- Know that you must fail before you succeed.
- Do not be afraid of failure – embrace it, and find the lesson it provides.