A steady influx of international brands in the United States is touting affordable, good-quality, stylish design—and American consumers seem hungry for more. Japanese brand Muji recently built an expansive flagship store on swanky Fifth Avenue; Danish company Hay's pop-up the MoMA store proved popular and extended its run into spring; Flying Tiger, another Danish import, opened its first stateside outpost about eight months ago. But where are all the homegrown brands?
Good Thing—a Brooklyn-based manufacturer of Spartan, modern accessories—wants to give domestic designers the same shelf appeal and popularity that housewares darlings like Muuto, Hay, Norman Copenhagen, and Ferm Living have accomplished.
The company's growing roster of offerings includes tabletop mirrors ($72); bookends ($14.50); storage buckets (from $29); and more. The products are packaged and assembled in Brooklyn and typically fabricated with just a couple of simple techniques, which helps save on the bottom line. "Our designers work hard to get the most out of the least," says founder Jamie Wolfond, a RISD grad originally from Toronto.
At its inception, Good Thing typically worked with American fabricators, but has since outsourced production abroad to keep costs low while maintaining its quality standards. "We reached a point where the intent to manufacture in the US and to make quality, affordable objects were mutually exclusive," Wolfond says. Some of the brand's products are still manufactured in the USA, like the Utility mirrors' handles, Copper mirror, and the Sticker clock's face.
"The underlying intent is to create platform that is American where designers can engage with global discourse," Wolfond says. "It’s really a response to the fact that this country that is no way an underdog. The United States isn’t really competing as much as it could in this particular area of affordable design. There’s no shortage of design talent in the country, but the things made here don’t often end up being accessible to a wide range of people."
Good Thing's relaunch includes updated product photography, new packaging, and a new website. "The revelation behind Hay and other similar European brands is not only in the products, but also the experience," Wolfond says. "If you refine every element of every product, every email, every, piece of print material down to the very last detail, customers will notice. Combine that with intelligent objects that are efficient to manufacturer and you get something really great."
Established in 2014, the brand is still young and its products are mostly of the small, giftable sort. Wolfond, who is a furniture designer by training, aspires to offer larger pieces once the company masters accessories. Until then how, about one of these glass vases to spruce up your home?
Correction: This story has been updated to reflect where Good Thing currently manufactures its products.