June 04, 2018
Early in 2008, culture curator, American Design Club sprang up out of a desire to do something similar to what we're doing with ACS Showcase; to shine a spotlight on superior, American based design. A decade later, they're one of the largest curators of design in the U.S., boasting designers such as Claudia Pearson and Daniella Trigo.
American Design Club, it seems, started out as the underdog in 2008. You’ve since become one of the largest curators of American design in the US. Can you share a little bit about how ADC started and some key milestones that have attributed to ADC’s success?
Kiel Mead started the American Design Club started as a design collective to promote U.S. designers. In the beginning we hosted design exhibits and parties and generated a lot of buzz for the design pieces being showcased, but then realized we could turn this into a serious platform for designers to make their products available for a wholesale market. We became a sales rep company and started doing trade shows like the NY Now gift show in 2009 and that was a big step towards introducing our designers to the international market. Since then, we've had a theme based show every year as a way to discover new designers and products, and we're now doing three different wholesale trade shows. We also do several pop-up events throughout the year in NYC, where we're based, and we've branched into retail as well. We have two retail locations in NYC within bustling design markets: Canal Street Market and Artists & Fleas Soho. Within wholesale, some of our key milestones have been landing products we rep in respected stores like the MoMA Design Store and Uncommon Goods, as well as maintaining relationships with smaller stores who value the products we showcase.
ADC can boast the curation of some pretty influential artists and designers, such as Claudia Pearson and Daniella Trigo. It’s mentioned on your website that ADC was founded, a bit, out of a sense of competition with Europe… To show the rest of the world that the U.S. has the designers and the inspiration to stand just as tall in the world of both commercial and elite design. What has it been like to rub shoulders with the very artists that have done exactly that?
It has been a continuing source of inspiration to see U.S. designers gain footing and respect in the design world in general, and to work with such people. It has also been a struggle sometimes, trying to get buyers from stores and the final consumer to appreciate high design and value independent manufacturing. It's important for designers to strike a balance between thoughtful design, sustainable manufacturing and approachable price points for the public, this will ultimately determine how successful their products will be out in the world. So we've learned a lot from designers who work with us and can now offer advice to new designers wanting to enter the market.
The American Design Club has a fantastic reputation for being a platform that helps to bolster the reach and exposure of designers and artists. In addition to your curated Shows, a really great example of this has been the collaboration with Daniella Trigo on the Tea Towels. Which is new and exciting, as it’s one of the first collaborative efforts that ADC has done with any artist. Is this something that people can look forward to seeing more of in the future?
We would love to do more collaborations with designers and produce more "in-house" products. At the moment, each person in our office team is selling a product through the ADC at trade shows and at our retail locations; it made sense to look to our own people to start our in-house products. In the future though, we'd like to work with outside designers and artists to make exciting new products.
There are any number of companies that supply flour sack tea towel material, and we’re honored that ADC and Daniella Trigo opted for ACS Home & Work towels for your collaboration. What was a driving factor in selecting ACS as your supplier?
Daniella first learned about ACS through a friend who also designs prints and screen-prints tea towels. Daniella tried ACS's towels and loved their quality and printability, so ACS seemed like the obvious choice for the ADC's run of tea towels. We found ACS's price points and on-site screenprinting capabilities to be unmatched anywhere else in the U.S. and we're very happy with the results.
Photos courtesy of American Design Club
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