INTERVIEW: ARTICLE GOODS
I met Sam Chen, founder and designer of Article Goods, years ago when he was working in a cute little jewelry shop in SF that lead to the founding of his first company (s/o to Thesis of Alexandria). He has since taken his minimal design ethics and applied it to a leather goods line that is perfectly simple, functional, well made, yet affordable.
Tell me a bit about how Article Goods started and your background in design.
Article Goods was founded on the idea of not finding premium quality leather essentials without the high retail markup in the market. Either it was a bunch of vegan bags that do not hold the same as real leather or designer bags that cost an arm and a leg with the occasion of flashy name brand logos. My design background is in women’s jewelry. With jewelry being so minute and detailed, the sensibility and skill set for product design was great to have. Understanding form, function, and quality made it a bit easy roll out and execute.
What inspires your designs and color palettes?
A lot of my designs are sculptural and architectural inspired. Very clean and minimal lines and highlighting the little details to make the product look luxe while editing any non needed bells and whistles.
What do you have in store for 2019?
I am currently working on new designs to roll out but being an independent and solely run operation can make scaling slower and limited. I do plan to work with other types of leather and styles.
What has been the hardest part of AG or what is something valuable you have learned along the way?
The hardest part of AG is adapting to ever changing market/competition and working with oversea vendors. Building and fostering relationships to make sure the execution of the final products are made to design spec and vision. Lastly, delivering and shipping on time.
What’s the best and worst part about designing a product/having a business?
The best part of designing and having a business is self fulfillment and the sense of rewarding satisfaction. Something that is yours, you gave birth to and helped nurture and grow. You have more creative freedom and the will to call the shots, do what you feel is right and aligns with your goals/mission. The worst part is trying to compensate yourself as self employed. As the business owner, your the last one to have a constant paycheck as the business and any form of employees come first before yourself.
What is your current fav piece?
My current favorite pieces is the Sling Bag/Waist Belt Bag NO. D1. It was inspired by my trip last year to Europe and seeing how the direction of streetwear fashion is dictating some of the market trends.
What are you excited for in life?
I’m excited to connected with well intended and energetic individuals that I have met and crossed paths with. I am looking forward to growing my two brands more and finding a happy balance in living life and traveling.
What are some of your fav SF hang spots?
De Young Museum, SFMoMA and Legion of Honor Museum. Gold gate park when I need to take my dog out.