Inside the Designer's Studio: Good Thing

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By Heather Corcoran / Published by Dwell
In less than two years, Good Thing has made its mark by creating affordable housewares that do their thing with a dash of colorful personality. With the brand's new furniture line on the horizon, Dwell stopped by for a visit.
Inside the Designer's Studio: Good Thing - Photo 1 of 5 - Good Thing founder Jamie Wolfond holds office mascot Arthur in the Brooklyn office of his manufacturing brand, Good Thing.

Good Thing founder Jamie Wolfond holds office mascot Arthur in the Brooklyn office of his manufacturing brand, Good Thing.

"It was pretty stupid," designer Jamie Wolfond says of the decision to move to Brooklyn and start a design company when he was a fresh graduate of the furniture design program at the Rhode Island School of Design. But Good Thing (a reference to a boat Wolfond once saw, not Martha Stewart's famous catchphrase), has been just that since it launched in August 2015.

Inside the Designer's Studio: Good Thing - Photo 2 of 5 - A selection of Good Thing favorites, including the Slim bookends by Kenyon Yeh, Spiral trivet set and Paper Display by Sam Anderson and Jamie Wolfond, and Anderson's Field candle holders, sit side-by-side on a colorful display. 

A selection of Good Thing favorites, including the Slim bookends by Kenyon Yeh, Spiral trivet set and Paper Display by Sam Anderson and Jamie Wolfond, and Anderson's Field candle holders, sit side-by-side on a colorful display. 

Realizing from the beginning that there was more opportunity in smaller objects, the brand hit a nerve with its mission to reimagine everyday objects, appearing in the pages of Dwell and at retailers ranging from the MoMA Store to Urban Outfitters with its playful and affordable designs (pieces start at just $10 for a clock composed of stickers). 

Inside the Designer's Studio: Good Thing - Photo 3 of 5 - A paper prototype for a new tote bag incorporates the brand's speckled logo.

A paper prototype for a new tote bag incorporates the brand's speckled logo.

With just five full-time staffers, the company is able to be so prolific because of its collaborative approach to design and manufacturing. Good Thing has partnered with emerging American talents including Visibility and Chen Chen and Kai Williams. Currently, its products are produced overseas, a move that has enabled Wolfond to ensure greater consistency as orders have grown. Many American manufacturers, Wolfond notes, are too specialized to keep up. Often, he says there's one go-to factory for a certain technique and another for something else. 

Inside the Designer's Studio: Good Thing - Photo 4 of 5 - A trio of the brand's Easy mirrors and a group of Gather vases sit on a shelf in front of a large logo-branded mirror. 

A trio of the brand's Easy mirrors and a group of Gather vases sit on a shelf in front of a large logo-branded mirror. 

While success seems to have come quickly for the brand, this is only the beginning. The long-term goal, Wolfond says, is to make Good Thing a household name synonymous with quality American design. While figuring out what customers want can be "perplexing," he says, the brand's next big bet is furniture, the first collection of which they plan to debut at the 2017 edition of ICFF. 

For now, paper and cardboard prototypes for future designs can be found scattered throughout the space. The goal is for the designs to fit in the same affordable and functional ethos as the smaller objects Good Thing has released. Prices will be in line with similar contemporary brands ("With furniture it's more important that its low-priced for something nice," he says). 

Inside the Designer's Studio: Good Thing - Photo 5 of 5 - A display system holds selections of the brand's most popular pieces, including the General tray, bowl, and bucket (top) and the stackable powder-coated steel Platform bowls (bottom). A selection of Utility mirrors by Visibility with different colors of rubber tool grip hang on the wall.

A display system holds selections of the brand's most popular pieces, including the General tray, bowl, and bucket (top) and the stackable powder-coated steel Platform bowls (bottom). A selection of Utility mirrors by Visibility with different colors of rubber tool grip hang on the wall.

The new line undoubtedly marks an important step for the brand, but Wolfond and crew are still taking it one step at a time. "We want to be a big brand," Wolfond says. "We have to be very careful how we're telling our story." 

Establishing their name was the first part. Now it's time to think bigger.


See more from our visit to Good Thing's Greenpoint, Brooklyn, office here.