Bre & Co. Launch
Bre & Co. is launching today at www.bre.co and I’m very happy to have it live. Bre & Co. is making heirloom-quality gifts to give to your loved ones or to mark an achievement. I’ve been walking on a cloud the past few weeks as we’ve been getting ready to share with the world.
The first part of my life was dedicated to empowering creativity in humans. I did that as a puppeteer, teacher, tutorial videographer, and 3D printing leader. I’m opening a new chapter in my life exploring friendship and craftspersonship. I want to have deeper relationships in my life and in the world. When I think of a brighter future, I imagine of a world where people are more trusting, more loving, and support each other.
The company started as a project. I wanted to make some friends gifts that would be like a gold-medal for friendship. In working on this project, I was filled with gratitude for my friends who stuck by me and have been awesome listeners, collaborators, and just generally excellent human beings. (Excellent Humans was a runner up for the name of the company.)
Gratitude is a powerful force in the universe. Feeling gratitude has had a healing effect on me. Gratitude feels really great. On a walk in the woods with my dad, he suggested that it would be a service to the world to make these gifts available for others to give to the people they care for. Recognizing merit in the world is a powerful act. As the project then shifted into an actual business, it became clearer that I could support others recognizing the people they care about. I imagined a merit-generating experience to support recognition in the world. I started to hire craftspeople and connect to design and manufacturing partners to help get the show on the road.
In doing research on this project, I’ve been asking everyone I meet what things they have in their life that are meaningful to them. Curiously, within a sentence of responding, most of the conversations shift to connections, achievements, relationships, and family. The insight emerged that we value important meaningful objects that are symbols what we hold dear — our connection to those we love and our pride in work well done.
I keep having friends and acquaintences face down cancer. If you’ve ever had someone you love go through a life-threatening illness, it is a really hard thing and it’s important that those facing challenging health conditions feel loved and supported. A diamond can hold love and intention and the Bre & Co. Healing Amulet is made to be a reminder to our loved ones and we hope that the reminder of love and support brings resiliency to those facing challenging times.
From my previous lifetime which was focused on supporting creativity in the world, I have ALL the 3D printers. The team can develop ideas and have multiple iterations absurdly quickly. It didn’t take long to explore territory beyond watches into accessories and jewelry. We like to make things ourselves, but we’re also lucky to have cooperative partners and friends who have helped us develop our products and make take them from prototype to product.
With the goal to make things that either mark an achievement or gifts that you can keep on your person as a talisman, everything we make has the intention to be a reminder of care, friendship, pride, and love. All my tests have show that recognizing the values and excellence in others has a powerful effect and sends positive ripples into the world.
We created the Bre & Co. Origami line with desing inspiration from folded paper, supercars of the 1980s, and the geometry of Buckminster Fuller. Lots of facets, triangular shapes and as a bee keeper, the hexagons snuck into the design inspiration too.
Everything we make is personalizable. We use a fiber laser to etch into the things we make to leave a mark. Depending on the space available, there is room for initials on some things and there is room for a longer message on things with more space.
(Note to self: tell the story in a future medium post of getting back into watches and the power of personal engraving)
Details matter at Bre & Co. We explored wood boxes after finding reclaimed lumber from Thomas Edison’s factory in New Jersey. The wood is totally wrecked on the surface, but underneath, it’s beautiful maple. I also had a literal windfall when a red oak tree got infested with awood-eating insect. A local sawmill helped us turn the downed tree into boards. We use the reclaimed wood and CNC mills to make beautiful boxes for the Bre & Co. Origami Watch, the Bre & Co. Origami Pen, and the Bre & Co. Shard.
I love tea and I love ceramics so it makes sense that we would start to explore ceramics with a teapot. I ran a ceramics studio when I was a school teacher and working with clay is a joy. I’ve also been collecting american pottery and have a minor obsession with the material, the glaze, the process and the fire.
And there is 3D printed ceramics. My former company MakerBot was one of the pioneers of early 3D printed ceramics with the MakerBot “Frostruder.” The field has matured since then and we are using a PotterBot and a Ludum to explore the frontier of 3D printed ceramics while at the same time exploring new ways to go deeper with traditional slip casting. It is my dream to build a wood fired kiln someday to experience the unintended aesthetic consequences of fire twisting though pottery.
We have so much fantastic exploring to do as we try and make fresh new things by combining traditional obsessive craftspersonship with advanced manufacturing techniques in service to deeper relationships.
We aren’t at scale. There are 11 of us, including me, at Bre & Co. and if we are successful, we won’t be able to scale up. Part of this is intentional because in crafting this business, I’m hoping that we can grow it slowly and intentionally and maintain a high level of obsession to create beautiful things with pride. There are many other friends and partners that aren’t mentioned here but who have been excellent as we get started.
We’re excited to get the show on the road and dedicate our work to the spirit of gratitude, friendship, and love.