The idea for Kaufmann Mercantile was sparked when a plastic stapler appeared on my desk. The mass-produced product represented everything troublesome with throw-away culture. I decided soon after to launch an online shop that would offer only thoughtfully made homewares that would endure.
Since then, my team and I have worked closely with makers and manufacturers, those who share a deep appreciation for products that are made with lasting, natural materials and grounded in a sense of place. The incredible insights that emerged from these exchanges have served as an ongoing education for everyone involved. There’s always more to learn about how things are made—and how they can be made better and more beautiful for people and the planet.
The desire to bring our high standards into the real world led us to create Kaufmann—a homewares line we designed and developed in-house over the last year. (Yes, there were many, many late nights at the office – and many, many revisions to each and every product.) Building on the foundation we established with Kaufmann Mercantile, this new line is rooted in the simple yet focused pursuit of distilling a piece to its very essential and most meaningful. The originally produced range includes furniture, tableware, candles and carry—each inspired in some way by design icons, such as Marcel Breuer, Le Corbusier and Florence Knoll, as well as pioneering design movements, like American Shaker, Japanese minimalism and Danish Modern, to name a few. These influences slowly filtered through our own unique vision until we arrived at something that felt new.
From the beginning, we wanted every Kaufmann product to be made by the most skilled makers who specialize in their particular craft and use natural materials. The candles, for example, are scented with pure essential oils, while our bags are trimmed with vegetable-tanned leather sourced domestically from an old tannery. Each distilled design is meant to celebrate true craftsmanship, from our porcelain tableware being hand-thrown to our hardwood furniture featuring traditional joinery. Because we believe you should feel the human touch left behind by the maker.
Kaufmann, then, is right at home at Kaufmann Mercantile: Both share the mission of nurturing a considered life closer to nature, returning to honest materials and timeless design, and championing like-minded craftspeople who put great care and consideration into everything they create.