Last December, Lauren Van Horn was trying to find a glasses stand to buy for her husband, but the only ones available were ugly and made of plastic. She put a request up on Zaarly for one made of wood.
Architect Tobi Adamolekun, who likes to design and build things, responded. He sent her some sketches; she approved the design, and he went to work on machinery available at TechShop.
He created the stand from a solid block of maple and it was ready by the holidays. Van Horn gave it to her husband, who loved it. He works at Path, and shared it with his network there.
Positive reactions from people seeing photos of the stand led Van Horn, who is a lawyer and was then working at Karma (which has since been bought by Facebook), and Adamolekun to form their own new little company.
Adamolekun, who's also designed and built wooden cabinets for Flour + Water and Central Kitchen, has since built a series of stands and trays of various sizes (holding one, three or five pairs of glasses and their cases), out of various hardwoods – maple, ash and walnut.
“They are very sturdy,” he says. "We use digital fabrication. I design it on computer and then program the cutting tool to handle all the pre-set work. Then I finish it by hand. Sanding takes the most time. From our hands to your hands, the target price is $150-200 per stand.”
Adamolekun and Van Horn are among a growing number of highly educated and trained professionals who are choosing to become entrepreneurs rather than pursue traditional career paths.
After gaining his degree in architecture, Adamolekun interned with prestigious firms in Paris (r&sie n) and London (Zaha Hadid).
Back in California he spent some time at a startup accelerator, where he became fascinated with P2P marketplaces like Zaarly.
One thing led to another, as described above, and now he’s about to launch a manufacturing company making glasses stands (with other products to follow) out of wood.
Bushakan is currently seeking to raise $10,000 toward this effort on Kickstarter. At present they’ve raised over $6,000 with 30 days to go.