Monday, April 9, 2012

Orders From Chaos

Well-Appointed Showroom

Looking for the "Crown Jewel"

One of my favorite things is to skulk around in the back rooms of factories, scouring the floor, peering onto random shelves, and into dusty bins.  I move like a cat when I’m working in a factory; not a fast cat, but rather a slow hunting sort of cat; because I cannot afford to miss something that can become something else that I desperately need for my collection. In the heart of these rooms filled with dusty bins and shelves, most factories have an area which is full of parts, broken bits, and buckets of who knows what’s, with all sorts of things lying about which have not yet found a use and indeed may never. Nestled comfortably amongst the bits of this and splashes of that, is a cup of cold tea, ashtrays, small bowls of paints, cans of thinner, and all kinds of mysterious powders and such.  This is usually where the “tinkerer” spends his or her time if a factory is lucky enough to have such a person.  It’s usually in a room like this; dirty to the point of grimy, disorganized to be kind, and utterly fascinatingly rich in smells (I’ll leave that to your imagination), that I find something truly inspiring.
This is the” crown jewel” of every factory even though they would never recognize it. Most factories aspire to have a lovely well- appointed showroom with refreshments and snacks in which to entertain buyers, and it would never occur to them to take a buyer to the area I am describing, yet this is where I long to be, because this is where I’m going to find a castaway component or fragment which will help set me apart from the teaming mass of designers and buyers out there all lurking in the well-appointed showrooms with refreshments and snacks.  The showroom is still a critical component to any sales effort to be sure, but many new items will be picked to display in the showroom arbitrarily and many other potential unique finishes or shapes lie in the chaos that is the crown jewel which may speak to a new rising color trend or technique albeit buried under some rags, or fragments of other things that “went wrong”, and for whatever reason were not developed into a new range of product.  
This is the part of the job which can be truly fun and invigorating, because when I find something in a place that looks like a whirling dervish, and buried under a bunch of ” random artifacts”, I can be assured that it has never seen the light of day (in a product sense), and indeed the owner of the factory probably does not realize that it exists, because it never made it out of the whirling dervish in the first place.  This is Nirvana for someone like myself because I can take a new finish and create an entire range of new product and combine with other unexpected raw materials to create extensions to the original idea and in the end have a new driver for the business which all started under a tarp, in the corner of a room, which was full of other tarps, and broken things, all waiting for a guy like me to bring a little order; or maybe a big one!