2020 In Review
We all know 2020 was a crazy year, so I won't dwell on that too much, and instead try to focus on the positive aspects, but still need to cover some negatives. I don't know what you guys did in quarantine, but I was determined to make the most of it (and I never actually got quarantined!)
►I wrote a book!
►I've transitioned from designing bracelets to watches
►BRACE Design is approaching another big milestone!
►I created a print on demand web-store just for the hell of it: Falx27.com
First the sad news: Like many, I experienced losses this year, although in my case, both were more or less expected and neither a result from COVID-19. My last grandparent, John Skoog, passed away. He was an aeronautical and electrical engineer, working on some of the top missile projects of his time (like the sidewinder). I sometimes regret not utilizing his connection to get a job a China Lake Naval Weapons, but I also didn't (and still don't) want to live in California. It is still strange to me that a whole generation of my family is now gone.
Next my dog Misty, a border collie/black lab mix, passed at 13.5 years. I feel silly putting her here with my grandpa, but she was as much family as anyone else. All she ever wanted was to be with us at all times. By far the smartest dog I've ever encountered (everyone says that about their dog, but actual side by side comparisons prove that Misty could outsmart any of them. She could understand 80% of the English language for crying out loud!). We loved her very dearly, and I still tear up thinking about her (it's been nine months as of writing this, holy cow).
I'm also really frustrated with COVID. Not necessarily the disease itself, which is a serious issue, but the handling of it by the government. There is just so much hypocrisy and idiocy enacted through these blind, knee-jerk, blanket mandates and the way that they are enforced and portrayed in the media (how is dog-piling someone who refuses to social distance helping anything??). It has really caused me to lose faith in institutions that we want to idealize or trust, which to put it bluntly, are the government and the media. I won't expound more because nobody cares, but it has really ground my gears. Also stop calling it the "new normal" which implies we will never defeat COVID.
It was also strange having to work new hours. To decrease population density in the office, my job implemented a swing shift, effectively splitting the workforce in half at any given time. I was shifted onto the "swing" from 2:30 to 11:00 PM, which was totally new for me. It wasn't the worst, but it wasn't the best either. Anyway...
Also forest fires suck and good air quality is an overlooked blessing.
Yay! Time for the good news:
At the beginning of this year, I set my big annual goal to be: write a book. I had been compiling notes on my design theory for years, and this year I wanted to compile it into a complete volume. I also set out to have the whole thing written in 9 months, which I felt was a pretty aggressive schedule. Turns out I wrote it in only 5 months, which in hindsight is good, because it's been under peer review for another 7.
I'm looking now to publish at the start of 2021, as the review and publishing gears turn really slowly. But it's still great, and I'm stoked! (Plus as I've been waiting for the feedback to come in, I've written a good amount of my next, smaller, eBook which will be published sometime next year as well) Oh yeah, the book is called: "Contrast - Intro to designing beyond form & function"
BRACE Design is still progressing, slowly but surely. We launched our two flagship bracelet models (finally) and can now say that we make the most comfortable full metal bracelets on the market. Now that that has been more or less completed, we're moving on to several other markets.
1. Most of this year's research and development has been towards watch design, which I'm extremely excited about. I started with bracelets because I thought watches were too far out of my league, but it turns out that I have most of the capacity to make them in house, which means I have to try! With any luck, the first watch will be available Q2 of 2021. Of course, there will be a lot more info to come as it gets closer to completion. (Development is going extremely well, by the way. Much better than the bracelets did, surprisingly)
2. BRACE will be partnering with several other manufacturers to create a small clothing and home accessory line. Basically BRACE will handle all the ideation and design, and the partners will handle the manufacture and shipping aspects. Due to this, I'm also excited to say that BRACE will soon have it's own webstore, which will open the door to better customization, order automation, and customer support than has been possible with Etsy. The Etsy store will stay open for now, but will not have the full selection of wares that the BRACE Design webstore will have. This is all possible because...
...This year I challenged myself to create a print on demand company in under 48 hours! I thought it would be fun to try and create an entire online based business in one weekend. (Which is totally doable, because I did it with a few hours to spare), so after a hard weekend jam session, I created Falx27! Granted, after one weekend you'll have to put in extra work, but it was still fully armed and operational Sunday evening. Over the course of the year, Falx27 has maybe broken even with all the hosting and advertising costs, but it has been worth it to learn the tools and platforms necessary to open the BRACE webstore. And I can also vouch (along with my customers) that the Falx27 hoodies are some of the comfiest and best looking hoodies available!
So I think that about wraps things up. The Youtube channel is still growing, slowly but surely, but I'm still having fun with it (check out the Soldier 76 watch video, it's my favorite video this year). I also started an Instagram account, which I now realize I've been missing out on it, as it's easily the best social media platform out there. I also started one for BRACE Design if you're interested! Also a big shoutout to my sister and friends who threw an amazing spectacular surprise birthday for me in Vail. Holy cow, you guys are the best. I am so blessed.
In some ways 2020 has been a terrible year, but in some ways it has been a really great year. As always, I'm optimistic for the future and looking forward to the next fun, challenging project. I hope that 2021 brings everyone some good vibes and cheer, and that we can get back to the lives we want to live.
Stay safe. Have fun. Be creative.