For the last Designer’s Corner this week, we are featuring Knew Planet, a brand that prides itself in timeless simplicity. Their designs reinvigorate traditional jewelries into modern versions. We spoke with Knew Planet’s CEO Thaddeus Strickland for our Designer’s Corner interview to find out more about team dynamics, timeless design, and their unconventional startup story.
1. LET’S START WITH THE KNEW PLANET STORY. CAN YOU TELL US A BIT MORE ABOUT YOUR BRAND, AND WHAT IS KNEW PLANET’S STORY AND MEANING? HOW DID KNEW PLANET START, AND HOW IS YOUR BRAND DIFFERENT?
Knew Planet started as a business in our senior year of high school, but back then we weren’t in the design or accessories industry. It wasn’t until January of 2016, when we decided to revamp the brand and take the risk of pursuing something we were passionate about in the design and accessories space. So far it has been an amazing experience.
I think the brand is synonymous with the word “modern”. We really like to show how different we are in our content creation and our products. For example, we took a classic product, the anchor bracelet, and modernized it in a way that was simplistic, beautiful, and modern.
I really believe that we have something different here, and that our customer base sees that. We appeal to people that admire the beauty in simplicity and this new trend in creating ‘modern’ products.
2. HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE NAME KNEW PLANET? HOW DID THE ACCESSORIES IDEA BECOME A BUSINESS? WHAT DID YOU HAVE BEFORE?
The name Knew Planet came spontaneously one day, while we were relaxing and brainstorming ideas. We sort of viewed it as a play on word on how we can take a stable accessory and transform it through modernization. I’ve been a long time collector of many jewelries and accessories, and one day after receiving an anchor bracelet (and being very disappointed with it) that we decided we could do a much better job. And I would we did a pretty good job looking at our brand now.
Before we were in fashion accessories business, we were actually in the technology market working on some solar products, so the shift has definitely been drastic, but something that all of us thought would be a better move.
3. IT SEEMS LIKE TIMELESS BEAUTY AND AESTHETICS ARE ALWAYS IN FASHION. WHAT DID YOU DO TO COME UP WITH THIS STYLE AND DESIGN YOUR PRODUCTS? WE WOULD LOVE TO KNOW YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS.
I’m sure many would expect us to have a dedicated studio and workshop where we ponder for hours and mediate on hundreds of designs and fashion trends. However, that’s simply not the case. A more accurate depiction would be a caffeine-induced late night session of sketches that we produce until we have multiple creative features. We would sleep on these designs, wake up and review them and make proper adjustments. We would stop once we find something that fits Knew Planet’s simplistic, and modern criteria.
It is definitely something I’m sure is a bit different than most other creative processes, but to be different you have to act different!
4. CAN YOU WALK THROUGH YOUR PROGRESS SO FAR FROM THE FIRST DESIGN TO THE FIRST MODEL? HOW WAS YOUR EXPERIENCE DEALING WITH MANUFACTURERS, AND BEING SO YOUNG HOW HAS THE EXPERIENCE SHAPED BOTH YOU AND YOUR PARTNER?
For now we have about six different variations of our modern anchor bracelet, but we won’t be releasing four of them for a while. We just want to make sure that everything is ready to go before we give it the green light.
Looking at our experiences from beginning till now, we definitely made huge progress. I still remember when we first started with a few sketches; we used other accessory brands as physical models to help with measurement and models. And slowly we progressed to sketches with 3D imaging and rendering. Once this completed we started contacting manufacturer to get samples and to determine exact measurements and style. Working with manufacturers has been a very interesting experience! We do our best to build a strong relationship with them as they guarantee the quality of our product. Being so young, both sides definitely remember meeting each other in person. The look on their faces was priceless, given we were so young.
5. WOULD YOU SAY THAT YOUR BRAND IS BASED ON TURNING REGULAR ACCESSORIES INTO A MODERN “MANIFESTATION” OF ITSELF? SO ESSENTIALLY REDESIGNING ACCESSORIES TO PRESENT A MODERN AND TRENDY LOOK. HOW DID BOTH OF YOU GUYS COME UP WITH THIS IDEA? HOW DO YOU DEFINE MODERN?
I would definitely say that a core element of our brand is creating that new identity, within timeless classics. However, I want to add that there is no straight formula; we simply design our creations through the incorporation of two simple traits; simplicity, and luxuriousness. We strongly believe that this unique formula for our brand isn’t found anywhere else.
6. LET’S TALK A BIT ABOUT YOUR TEAM AND YOUR JOB. CAN EACH OF YOU DESCRIBE WHAT WORKING WITH YOUR PARTNER IS LIKE? IF YOU WERE TO DESCRIBE EACH OTHER IN 3 WORDS, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
Working with each other is a definitely a fun and rewarding experience. We can bounce ideas off each other and it’s definitely easier when there are two people fulfilling orders! I would describe Sudeep as creative, humorous, and genuine, which are amazing traits for a designer, as he accepts ideas and bring them into his creative mind. Sudeep has described me as resourceful, honest, and ambitious. With these key traits, I like to think of myself as a visionary, which helps direct the brand in the right direction. Ultimately I think we complement each other with our strengths and weaknesses, and is what makes Knew Planet so successful today.
7. FINALLY, WHAT DO YOU LIKE AND DISLIKE ABOUT YOUR JOB THE MOST?
See the thing is I wouldn’t really even consider this a “job”. Yes, we have “work” to do, but we have a lot of fun doing it. We get to travel and create wonderful content for our social media pages, network with like-minded individuals, and actually see the impact we make on others around the globe. It is a wonderful experience and something that we love doing, and will be doing for a very long time!