It might as well been kismet for Grove Made founders Joe Mansfield and Ken Tomita, two native Oregonians. When the duo met in 2007, they were each running their own shops across the street from each other. Joe ran a laser engraving business and Ken was a part of Shop People (the infamous precursor to ADX) where he built custom furniture. Throw in a couple of shared clients, a few football games and a late night or two and what is the obvious outcome? Well Grove Made of course, and their Portland-made, bamboo laser engraved, iPhone cases, iPad covers, and other goodies.
Their founding speaks to the root of the company’s name, Grove Made. The thought behind the name is that when you have a bunch of artists working closely together, in a grove, is when great things happen. Grove Made is one of those things.
Fast forward four years later, Ken and Joe have 23 employees and 5,000 square feet in Produce Row’s Old Town Storage Building. As they revved up their operations the Grove guys found a lot of support in the Portland business community. Ken has found that “People are approachable. They will meet for lunch for a cup of coffee and listen to your questions.” Grove even got more formalized advice from a lean manufacturing consultant via the Oregon Manufacturing Extension Partnership program. Ken and Joe are always willing trade a cup of Cova for the good protips.
At Grove Made they do the full spectrum of production in-house. On the production side they design, mill, laser cut, sand, oil, sew, and ship each product. And on the backend they handle all their web, video, photography, branding, marketing and software with crack team of hipster elves. They love the flexibility and the high level of quality they are able to achieve by having complete control over the process.
As for what’s next? Ken says “It’s an adventure. We don’t want to get huge or get bought out, we want to be happy.”Return to top ^