We recently caught up with the talented Paul Lewandowski to hear about his experience designing for the Think Tank:
Design can save the world! My passion is finding the positive energy around creating things…pulls me right in and makes me happy. By day, I’m an architect, but I also design interiors, carpet, products and teach in a textile and fashion program at the Maine College of Art. I’m really lucky, I get to hold a pencil and draw most days and help turn thoughts into reality.
I live in Portland, Maine and wake up to the sound of seagulls squawking most mornings. I love my wife Mary and our daughter Ava, who is off to McGill University in Montreal this fall. I’ve been finding a lot of joy lately in being part of Portland Community Rowing Association rowing crew – seat 6, port side, dodging harbor seals in Casco Bay.
How did your product idea come about?
The Nor’easter Jacket was all about designing a raincoat that was a bit nautical and didn’t make you look like a fish stick spokesmodel. The stripes come from the color coding that lobstermen use on their buoys to mark their traps (the same buoys I try to avoid while rowing). I thought the asymmetry of the stripes would make the jacket more unique.
How did you feel when we developed your idea into a prototype?
Seeing the prototype was amazing! Going back and forth with ideas and sketches was great, but when the prototype arrived I ripped open the package and wore it around my office for most of the day.
What do you think made your product a success?
I think the design story behind the Nor’easter was part of its success. The details we worked out and the choice of material, waxed cotton, also helped. Betabrand’s great sense of humor (can a company have a sense of humor?) certainly helped. The Nor’easter is the first line of defense in battling the Kraken!
How did you promote your idea?
When it went into the crowdfunding stage, the social medial blasts that Betabrand and I sent out really helped to spread the word. I posted on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. I also got a little bit of press in a local design magazine about my work. During crowdfunding, I was attending a national conference for work…I put my networking skills into high gear and spread the word there as well.
What about the process with Betabrand sticks out as most positive?
Really the whole experience was positive. The folks at Betabrand have the coolest jobs around. Everyone I had contact with was supportive and shared my goal of getting the Nor’easter out into the world. I felt that they really kept me informed about the process and were quick to answer questions. I’m so appreciative of the trust they put in me.
Would you recommend the Betabrand Think Tank to other aspiring designers?
Absolutely! I’m recommending the Think Tank to my textile and fashion design students and shared the entire process with them. I’ve also met another Think Tank designer and we both thought the process was great!
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