Do you long to dress your house in decor that is geeky--but subtle? Say hello to Kobol Designs, headed by Jenn and Chuck Reeve! They create all kinds of shiny things for your bunk that reference, say, Firefly, without hitting you over the head with it!
We had a great chat with Kobol Designs about their origin story, and what they'll be bringing to GeekCraft Expo RDU May 14!
GeekCraft Expo: What was the spark that started Kobol Designs?
Kobol Designs: Kobol Designs basically started because we needed to decorate our house. We wanted to fill our house with our fandoms, but we found a lack of sci-fi home decor that fit our particular style. We wanted most of our home decor to reference a science-fiction book, show, or movie, but we didn't want our home to scream, "SCI-FI EVERYWHERE!!!!" We realized we each had the skills to make a lot of things ourselves, and we ran out of space in our home long before we ran out of ideas. Thus, Kobol Designs was born.
GCE: There are two of you: do you each focus on different types of items, or do you each have a particular strength/talent?
KD: We do almost all of the designing and new idea planning together, however we do have completely different skill sets/strengths, so we divide and conquer when it comes to actually making the items. Chuck is the woodworker; everything we offer that is wood-based has been handcrafted by Chuck. Jenn is both the bag-maker and designer, and does all of the glass etchings.
GCE: When did you decide to start selling your crafts to the public?
KD: We decided to open Kobol Designs and start selling sci-fi and quirky items in early 2015, although we each previously owned independent businesses that sold non-sci-fi items (shhh, don't tell).
GCE: You seem to have a knack for matching a particular character or property to an item: for example, Leia and Han champagne flutes, or a Doctor Who teacup. How do you get inspired?
KD: Oh man, inspiration is so random for us. Quotes are obviously a big theme and source of inspiration in our designs, but I think it really comes down to being stubborn! When we started Kobol Designs we decided we wanted to focus on our fandoms . . . the ones we truly love and know in depth, not just anything and everything sci-fi and geeky. For us, that allows small details to become big sources of inspiration, because we understand the stories and meanings behind quotes and titles and such, which allows our designs to have more dimension.
GCE: You work in so many different mediums: glass, wood, fabric. Do you have a favorite, and is there another area you’re eager to expand into?
KD: I think our three mediums are what we plan on working with for the long run, because we can vary so much within each medium that it allows a lot of natural growth. Chuck's favorite medium to work with is obviously wood. Jenn loves to work with both textiles and glass because of the stark contrast between the two mediums, although sewing is where her heart lives. Inspiration is sometimes fickle, and variety helps keep her sane, haha. At the moment we're more interested in expanding our fandoms (hello, Westworld!) so that we can offer new and different creative items.
GCE: I noticed you offer what is called the “Subtle Series.” Can you tell us about it?
KD: Our "Subtle Series" is probably what gave Kobol Designs a specific focus; we like to sell home decor and fashion items that are (or include) obvious references for fandoms, but may not be noticed by a non-sci-fi someone. For example, "Hello Sweetie" is a reference to a significant character in Doctor Who, but if you had not even heard of Doctor Who before, you might not think twice about seeing a sign or pillow in someone's home with that line. Our tagline is "Geeky, Quirky, Classy: Always Handmade."
Our Handbag Subtle Series is almost like cosplay for your purse. The idea behind that line is that the bags are designed to "be dressed" like a specific character and may include a specific quote, but with subtlety, obviously. A Doctor Who fan would be able to easily identify the 10th Doctor's bag (blue and brown with "Allons-y"), but others likely wouldn't notice the references.
GCE: What were your most popular items at last year’s GeekCraft Expo RDU?
KD: Our hand-etched rocks glasses and hand-turned wooden travel mugs were pretty popular last year, but really it was anything Star Wars based.
GCE: What things will you be bringing this year?
KD: We'll be bringing hand-turned wooden travel mugs, hand-etched glassware and barware, handcrafted wall decor, and handcrafted handbags and clutches. Most of our items reference Doctor Who, Star Wars, Supernatural, Firefly, Battlestar Galactica, or Guardians of the Galaxy, but a wide variety of fandoms will be represented.
Massive thanks to Kobol Designs--make sure to RSVP for GeekCraft Expo RDU now and see them in person!