You don’t have to go it alone
Meet Nate and Wynn of Felt+Fat — Designers and Small Business Owners
Could you tell us a little bit about your background? And how you two got started as designer-craftsmen?
Felt+Fat is both myself (Nate Mell) and my partner Wynn Bauer. As Wynn tells it, he has always been working with his hands, attacking ceramics and building forms from an early age. After high school he went to RISD for architecture but quickly found himself being pulled to ceramics as his need to be more hands on quickly became apparent. Following his studies he went on to work at the Clay Studio in Philadelphia where he pursued his personal work and took on odd jobs as a sort of freelance ceramicist.
For myself, I’ve similarly always felt a pull towards art / design. While Wynn was at RISD I was studying glass at the Tyler school of art in Philadelphia. My choice of glass as a major was somewhat arbitrary as my real passion was material exploration and mold making, glass just happened to be my material of choice at the time. The impetus to start Felt+Fat came after school while I was also at the Clay Studio but paying rent serving tables at a restaurant. The chef I was under at the time, asked if I wanted to designs and produce some tableware for his new restaurant. I took on the job, asked Wynn if he wanted to be a part of it, and the studio was birthed from there!
What was a defining moment in your life?
Leaving the restaurant industry was a big moment for me. I worked as a server for nearly 8 years, it was always a great way for a quick buck and I enjoyed a lot of aspects of it. Deciding to take the pay cut and pursue this was pretty scary but worth it.
What fears or resistance did you face in that process?
There was a lot of self-doubt in my case. When I left the industry I survived for about 8 months before I was broke. I ended up taking a part-time serving gig to get me through, but I’ve been completely out for nearly two years now.
Is there a favorite quote or mantra that gave (or gives) you inspiration? Or did you have a power song?
‘be here now’ -Ram Das
How do you define bravery?
For myself, bravery is holding your plans, your beliefs and your relationships with open palms. Letting go is super brave.
What’s one piece of advice you would give to someone facing a challenge?
Ask for help or advice from someone who’s been there before you.