Update (9/6): Thanks for all of the entries into our first Small States giveaway, @chrismachian is our winner and he has been contacted.
Small States is a new series on 9to5Toys that features small companies that design and manufacture within the United States.
Often times a problem forces a solution. Then there are times when a passion for something leads to a solution. Sometimes you are working in a successful corporate gig and then one Cord Taco changes your life…
That’s where things got interesting for Mike Macadaan. This is Ground, makers of top-of-the-line leather goods hand crafted in Los Angeles, is working to solve the problem that we often face in this tech overload world: how do we get organized?
Mike was working in digital design, helping to create high-quality websites and mobile applications, but it was his hobby of physical design that ultimately changed his career path. After playing around creating leather circles, trying to solve the cable problem, he created an iconic design. Soon blogs were covering it and his Etsy store was selling out.
But things really changed last holiday season when Apple came calling, offering an opportunity to put This is Ground products in retail locations across the United States. While the exposure has been a welcome step in the process, don’t expect to see a cord taco in your local mall anytime soon. You can find a select number of products on Apple’s online store, at this point brick and mortar retail is still in development.
“We do a lot of things different,” says Mike “not just to be different, but to put ourselves in a position to always make the best product. We are making a conscious effort to stay out of the trap that so many people fall into.”
Like many companies born out of the internet, the connected experience between customers and those creating is special. This is Ground takes great pride in those relationships and knows their success lies in those that believed in the beginning. Whether it is Mike handing out Cord Tacos on a plane, or simply maintaining a company size that is manageable, the goal is to continue to build strong relationships with customers.
As we learned more about This is Ground, we found this to be particularly true. The core of the company runs about four people strong, with a few others helping as the need arises. The leather is taken from cattle within the United States, before being tanned and ultimately prepared in California. The place where their products are put together is just a stones throw from the office, allowing Mike to have a hands-on involvement throughout the entire development process.
“We are design geeks, we want to jump as far ahead into the future that we can and then execute it in a way that helps to improve lives.”
Ultimately, the goal is to create a product that solves both form and function. For Mike, he knows the answer does not come in a piece of cardboard with straps around it, but rather in a well thought out high quality piece.
“All of us are carrying around these cables that cost up to $50, my Grado Headphones cost over $300, you’ve got all this gear banging around,” Mike says of his goal for This is Ground “not only should you protect it, but organize it in a way that reminds you of what a badass you are for having all this stuff.”
Mike was cool enough to send over a few samples for us to try out, and we’ve found the Mod Air to be an excellent solution for our mobile work gear. With a shooter insert add-on, I’ve been able to easily organize my iPad Air, cords and writing utensils. But it is much more than that, not only does it work but the simplicity helps to create an experience that makes you feel good about your gear. In essence, Mike was right, I do feel like a badass carrying this thing around. At $290, The Mod Air might not be for every budget, but it’s a high quality buy that will do the job and make you look good doing it.
We’re giving away a bundle from This is Ground to help our readers experience the quality and craftsmanship of their products. Valued at over $450, one lucky winner will get their hands on a Mod Air, a set of Cord Tacos, a Cordito and a Tomo. To enter, simply follow us on Twitter and retweet this article, or like us on Facebook and share the article with your friends. We will choose a winner on September 6th.
This is Ground is also giving 9to5Toys readers an exclusive coupon code at their website. With promo code 9to5Toys, you can save 15% sitewide now through September 13th. This is a great opportunity to save on some high quality, handmade leather good to help get your tech life organized.
- Grado Headphones – @omar_cruz