What's Hot
MOST READ
What's Going On

Calendar

Search thousands of events in our database.

Restaurants

Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.

Nightlife

Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

loading...

OW on Twitter
OW on Facebook
Print Email

Cover Story

Makr Carry Goods

Jason Gregory

Photo: Rob Bartlett, License: N/A

Rob Bartlett



Related stories


Over the course of just 90 minutes on a recent afternoon in their light-filled, leather-scented Winter Park studio, Makr employees fielded a last-minute special order from the NFL, debated last touches on iPhone cases (the new iPhone 5 form factor had been unveiled the day before) and juggled logistics for a rush special order of 1,700 bags for the upcoming Leonard Cohen tour. Designer and ringleader Jason Gregory handled each question from a staffer calmly, with no sense of rush or angst. "I don't want urgency in my life," he says. He may work 70 hours a week and be obsessed with personally making "a zillion prototypes" for each product, but each problem gets solved in a considered way.

Makr goods are a study in contradiction: vintage-styled yet pristinely new, evoking a sense of the hand of the designer yet manufactured with hyper-modern processes. "As much as it seems like the energy of the company is somewhat craft-based, and it is, the only way we'd really be able to do the things that we do is using all of the available tools to our benefit … designing towards those processes to make them more human." Despite the use of a laser cutting machine and computer-aided design software, each piece is cut and tested by and on humans, right here in Winter Park.

Look closely enough at a Makr product, take in the thoughtful design ethos, and you'll be spoiled for cheaper bags, with their sloppily finished zippers and inelegantly bunchy corners. Whether it's a coathook, a wallet or an enameled drinking cup, Gregory has deliberated on each detail, from ease of use to efficiency of manufacture.

Gregory started out as a photographer and spent some time working in architecture before he founded Makr. What explains the left turn into making bags? "I don't know. I don't even carry bags. … It's like an architectural problem," Gregory says. "Bags are harder than furniture … [they're] affected by gravity and stresses, folds and turns and material thicknesses and the human body."

FOUNDED: 2007 or 2008
"I forget when it started because I've been doing it forever. It was just an art piece for a long time."

FIRST PIECE MADE: The One Wallet
"'One' because it's a single-pocket wallet and the first thing we made. I always hated wallets, so I wanted a better solution."

TIME SPENT EACH WEEK: In the office 60 or 70 hours a week, and thinking about it when he's not there. He works less now than when he started, though: "At the beginning it was nauseating how much I was working. It made me go insane … I think it ruined a relationship."

EMPLOYEES: Seven
"What I do now is I get to design now and I get to think. Everyone here is supporting a design vision, helping choose materials or giving feedback on details of construction … everyone has input."

CUSTOMER:
"Obsessive Japanese kids, surfer guys, old guys who want a slim wallet. Anyone." (Skate photographer Raymond Molinar is a fan; his sponsor Stereo recently released a deck with photos of his favorite things, including a couple of Makr products.)

INDISPENSABLE TOOL: CAD
"Sketching is just thinking; I need the computer to work. I'm better at CAD than anything else. I'm better at CAD than –
walking. I don't know why."

SOME COLLABORATIONS:
Heath Ceramics, Geoff McFetridge, Fort Standard, Unis Menswear; locally, provided the stools for Cask & Larder and currently designing interior of the new Black Bean Deli

FUTURE GOALS:
"I like making stuff – I want to keep making stuff … [but] we want to have our own stores eventually."

We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus