The Decoylab Cuckoo C clock, currently available on Fab
Hedgehogs, hippos, and cute woodland creatures rule the roost at Decoylab, a Kansas City-based design studio that specializes in playful housewares. Owner Maiko Kuzunishi worked as a graphic designer for ten years before she decided to quit and start her own business, which has now been highlighted in the likes of Wired, Lucky, and ELLE Decor. Below, Kuzunishi shares some advice for other would-be entrepreneurs and describes the process of making her clocks, which are now available on Fab.
How did you go from graphic design to producing home goods?
It happened quite by accident. I started making things by hand because I’ve worked in front of a computer for many years, and I craved tactile sensation. I was making things like screen-printed T-shirts, melamine plates, and calendars, and selling them on my website. I happened to make a cuckoo clock image for my calendar one year and decided to turn it into an actual clock. It had a great response and I began to sell a lot, so I decided to stick to the clock category to see how far I could push it.
What is the process like for making your clocks?
I do everything myself except the laser cutting. It starts with idea, which usually comes during a mundane, routine activity. I then sit down in front of a computer and draw out the shape using a mouse before sending the file to the lasercutter to be cut. Once I receive the pieces, I go through the sanding and finishing process. Then I assemble, package, and ship out the clocks.
Each step is pretty simple and I love losing myself in the repetitive tasks. It’s meditative and peaceful when I am moving in an orchestrated way, and I can crank out clocks.
Kuzunishi’s Mushroom clock
Does your daughter Leela ever help?
Leela helps me package the clocks, and she tells me that she loves all of them. She tries to claim them every time she comes over to the studio! Having a child is very special experience, as I get to witness a small universe unfolding in front of me. Leela is my constant inspiration and motivation. She inspired me to have a joyful home, so I wanted to create objects that are playful.
Do you have any advice for someone aspiring to start a business?
Don’t waste too much time thinking and ironing out the details when you don’t really have the business. Don’t spend lots of money, either. Start simple and small and do lots of experiments. It’s not a shock to your system when you break everything down into baby steps and make bigger decisions as you move forward.
Who are some of your favorite designers?
My all time favorite is Charles and Ray Eames!
Check out the variety of cute bamboo clocks in our Decoylab sale.
- Antonia Blair