This post was first published on Mar 2, 2016
Read our interview with Shane, a pilot who designs minimal and practical travel accessories. Visit Shane’s stall, Afternoons With Albert at our Melbourne market next month to prepare for your next adventure.
Tell us a little about yourself and how you came to begin your label.
As a child I spent Sunday afternoons with my grandfather (Albert) in his shed. He was an avid carpenter and tinkerer and I would pass him tools and do the small jobs, eventually graduating to making stuff of my own, with his guidance, for the family home. After the work was done we would retire to the garden and eat cake and drink tea, lovingly prepared by Nanna. This memory forms the basis for the name of the label.
After he passed, I was given all his tools, and set them up in a shed of my own. It was a place where I would go to get lost in ‘making’. I would dream up designs, then go create them. Seeing them come to life was amazing. This background, coupled with my inquisitive nature means that I always have to know how something works – I am forever interested in the design of functional, utilitarian things.
When I became an international pilot for QANTAS at 25, I was suddenly exposed to an entire world of design (pun intended). Having the globe as inspiration, and a jet to access it all has only strengthened my interest and passion in the design space. This passion grew intense enough last year to start the label off the back of what was an extremely successful crowd funding campaign.
Who inspires you and your creative process?
Inspiration: Travel inspires me. The world is such a massive place – everywhere I go, I meet people unlike anyone I’ve met before, each with their own take on life. Interacting and learning from their different points of view gives me an incredible opportunity to add to my own views, while also challenging some assumptions that often creep in. It keeps me fresh, and open minded. Taking all this in and expressing it through a creative exploit is incredibly aligning.
Creative Process: I am an idealist in many ways. I am inspired by the cities I visit, the world around me – the everyday things that should be better. Lazy, thoughtless, ugly design frustrates the hell out of me. When I interact with products and processes that are harder and less intuitive than they need to be, my mind starts to wander and dream up ways to get from A to B faster, with a more pleasant experience, culminating in a better result.
Tell us something exciting that you have planned for Afternoons with Albert over the next 12 months.
Over the next 12 months I intend to expand the range of Cord Roll’s into different colours. I’ve had a lot of interest from the vegan market telling me to make a synthetic version, so I plan cater to that market as well.
I have two whole notebooks of other product designs that have been swimming around in my head for a few years so the next focus will be to choose a few of them to add to the product range. As to what they will be … AWA creates lifestyle-wares for people ahead of the curve … so they will be designs centred around making your journey better, whether that entails jumping on a bus everyday to get to work, backpacking through Vietnam, or flying to London for a meeting.
I am also super excited about doing a pop-up with complementary brands to create an encompassing experience. This will definitely involve coffee. It may also involve gin. The single biggest buzz I get from being in this space is seeing people interact with my product(s) and talking to them about it. Design is a process that never ends – I am intensely keen to keep learning from the people that really matter – the end users.
Name one resource that your label could not live without.
TIME! Flying requires a LOT of discipline. Things are always changing and there are always new policies and checklists to learn. Time management is critical for me – it always has been, which is why I’m so drawn to things that makes sense, are efficient, and improve my daily life. So designing something in this space was incredibly natural for me.
As a startup, time is constantly the one thing I wish I had more of. I think it is always this way when you engage in a pursuit that you are passionate about.
Tell us about your favourite product from your collection.
I just have the one product in the collection at the moment, however the Tan Cord Roll is my choice of colour. When I was designing the product I thought it would be the Black – the red hand stitching on the Black looks incredible and adds a heap of personality. But after playing with all of them, the natural, earthy tones of the Tan really go well with my other travel gear … and the leather is so soft, I could play with it for hours!
Check out Shane’s Real Entrepreneur story here.