Brand Story

This Is Ground
Jun 13, 2016 · 4 min read

Here at This Is Ground, our mission is to make it possible for people to create anywhere. Our community is comprised of makers from all walks of life and disciplines. Illustrators, writers, chefs, designers, architects, scientists, musicians, actors, nomads, and so many other types of artists carry our products. With this in mind, you’ll quickly see the connection between the problems we aim to solve and the background of our Founder.

TIG Founder Mike Macadaan has been involved with design, tech, and adventure since his early childhood. As a kid this manifested in a wide range of activities from writing code to programming screen savers on his grandparents’ computer to drawing pictures of his favorite sci-fi characters to sell to friends and family. Mike’s adventurous side is rooted in being in a constant state of change from traveling around with his young and free-spirited parents.

In Mike’s early 20’s he took a break from “real life” for a couple of years to travel around the U.S. with an advertising blimp. The blimps carried cameras that provided arial views of sporting events for network television. He found himself moving from city to city with a blimp and a variety of obscure tools in tow. While on the road he satisfied his creative urges by writing, drawing, and staying organized in the chaotic throws of road life. “Optimal creativity is much easier to achieve when your surroundings are clean and organized” said Mike about his connection with creativity and organization.

Following the blimp tour and wrapping up his college days, Mike moved home to San Francisco where he quickly found himself working on large scale internet projects. For several years Mike was in design leadership roles for brands such as Disney, Intuit, and most recently Science Media where he helped launch Dollar Shave Club.

This Is Ground began when Mike was asked by a friend for a creative solution to an all-too-common problem: cords, everywhere. Having just gotten tacos from nearby restaurant Loteria when the inquiry arrived, Mike had a moment of tortilla-induced brilliance: the Cord Taco. It’s a simple concept — a small, folding leather circle that snaps a roll of cords into place for easy travel or a beautifully organized workspace.

“I didn’t realize that it was going to spark this new business,” Mike said. “At the beginning, I was making things by hand. My nights and weekends became about teaching myself a new craft.” Eventually the Cord Taco begat the Cordlupa, the Cordito, and a host of other Instagram-worthy leather goods designed with both functional ease and aesthetic self-expression in mind. “It falls in the middle of functionality and fashion, of organization and technology.” This is Ground — a Bowie-inspired moniker from Mike’s early days as a blimp operator — truly took off.

“The origin of the name “This Is Ground” is from my days on the blimp tour. When I addressed the airship pilots over the VHF radio, I would say ‘560 alpha-bravo, this is ground’ referring to myself as ground. It also just so happens to be from the Bowie song ‘Space Oddity’ which I’m a big fan of.”

Mike’s background translates intuitively to this work — he’s been using the tech implements that This Is Ground’s products house throughout his career, so he knows the nuances of the problems they can present. The company’s approach also gracefully addresses the aesthetic side of tech accessories, as most cases for laptops and tablets on the market aren’t known for being easy on the eyes. Mike says that, “it’s about beautifying what would normally be pretty boring.”

This Is Ground has seen a remarkable ascent since its Etsy roots in 2013, going from a spontaneous side project to a serious brand so coveted by the tech crowd that it appeared in the online Apple store in under a year. And not only has product design been the key, the execution has also been implemented in with an innovative approach: reinventing the notion of local production.

By partnering with a new start-up factory owned by leather artisans in Downtown Los Angeles, they’ve remained remarkably nimble and exploratory while scaling the business. That means more room for experimentation and flexibility each step of the way, and faster time to market.

In early 2016 TIG activated two new factories in Italy, not far from where our signature leathers are developed. This will provide additional manufacturing support for our growing global audience. We’ve also partnered with Tile, Karma WiFi, and more technology partners on the way. We recently moved into our LA HQ in the Warehouse district just east of Downtown LA. In addition to our LA spot, we have a sales team in Vancouver BC, factories in LA & Italy, fulfillment near London, and a guy in France :)

From inception to Apple store in just one year
I just redesigned the portfolio planner from the 90's
What “Made in Los Angeles” means to me
What’s a Weekender Without WiFi?
The Silicon Valley of Leather
The History of Attachés, Briefcases, and other Carries
One Million Cord Tacos: This Is Ground’s Original Organizer Celebrates a Milestone

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