Work in ProgressAuthor:Lindsey Shook
–Since you already have a successful agency, what inspired you to launch the collective?
Denvir Enterprises is really fulfilling in that we get to tell the stories of our vendors and help them expand their markets, and it’s exciting to see them grow as a result of our efforts. And while we have cultivated our own voice, aesthetic and vibe, the products and stories aren’t ours. So we had
a strong desire to really create something from the ground up, and Work in Progress is giving us that opportunity.
The impetus for our first product actually came from wanting to truly understand the capabilities of Nomadory, one of the many vendors we represent at DE. We collaborated with them to create our rugs at Work in Progress. It is hard to pitch a company that can create custom products if you don’t have an intimate understanding of how the process works, so we decided to give that a go ourselves and created our Jessica Poundstone collection.
–Do you feel there is a lack of opportunity for makers from the LGBTQ community in the design industry? I think there is a lack of opportunities for designers in general. There are so many talented designers, and so few brands that can help them bring their products to market. I’ve seen this firsthand while working behind the scenes at various direct-to-consumer brands. On top of that, there are even fewer opportunities for designers of color and from the LGBTQ community. In most cases, a very specific candidate will have the chance to bring their product to market, and it is a white cis-gendered heterosexual male. Not only does this limit opportunities for all, but it also prevents us, the audience and customer, from experiencing a multitude of world views and perspectives. We are excited to be able to provide opportunities to more groups, with a specific focus on diversity, in both the designers and artists we collaborate with as well as our manufacturing partners.
–What are your criteria for finding new makers? We are really just getting started, but we try to find artists and designers across multiple disciplines. We focus on reaching out to underrepresented groups in order to provide a platform for them to bring products to market as their authentic selves. During research and development, we don’t limit ourselves to artists and designers that have attained a certain level of success.
–How do you hope WIP will change the industry? For both Denvir Enterprises and Work in Progress, we hope to create brands that represent the actual world, with a true mixture of people and perspectives. This starts with our team and, trickles down into who we collaborate with to design our objects and who we work with to make them. We’re also very excited about publicly highlighting our wonderful roster of manufacturers and not just the designers behind them. If we’ve vetted our manufacturers and love them, we want everyone to have access to this information. We’ve rarely seen this done, but as believers in the law of abundance, we trust that we can openly share this information without fear.
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