"560 Alpha Bravo, this is ground", are the words Mike Macadaan often used to communicate with his pilots while in his early twenties working at what he affectionately calls his "blimp job". Mike is now the Creative Director for This is Ground, a Los Angeles-based life-style product company focused on personal organization (think "Trapper Keeper" for the 21st century), but it wasn't too long ago that he lived the life of a nomad, travelling from city to city, part of a blimp tour. Compelling, right? I know!
Mike likes to say that the history in This is Ground is rooted in two parts - his obsessive need for organization and his love for the Los Angeles maker community. FP MAG can stand firmly and steadfastly behind ideals like that, trust you us. His organizational compulsions all started when he was part of an airship, or blimp tour, in the twilight of his youth, traversing the country with 15 other crew members. As an important member of a team responsible for the transport of cameras and equipment for sporting events, Mike would move from city to city every two weeks. Of course there was the A/V equipment, but that speaks nothing of all the 'gear' associated with travelling the countryside all zeppelin-like. I'm talking helium tanks, hoses, generators and loads of other stuff that can only be described as 'strange blimp equipment' (SBEs). In addition to the A/V + SBEs, there was, of course, each crew member's personal gear. Can you start to see how organization may not only be nice, but an absolute necessity? Yeah, me too.
Mike says that growing up he was rarely in one place for a long stretch of time and quickly started a love affair with adventure, realizing there is so much to explore out there. As he's grown, so has his [personal intimacy] with his gear - oft-used journals, favorite pencils, headphones, cells and tablets - and, of course, all the associated cords and charging equipment. While, obviously traveling meticulously has played a big part in how This is Ground came to be and continues to grow, Mike has also found inspiration in the LA-based maker community. Get this - one day, after enjoying a meal of deliciously simple tacos near his home close to the fashion district in downtown LA, he was asked how he might create a new way to organize cords. Instantly an idea was conceived, and with grease still drying on his chin (you're right, I am embellishing that part) Mike started right away, tinkering with tinfoil and cardboard until the first Cord Taco was born! He enjoyed hand-making the unassuming leather goods, but quickly realized the need to reach out to his community for manufacturing partners.
He recalls the laughter as he enthusiastically described his first ideas for the Cord Taco to the Latinos at the first factory he visited. They welcomed him and appreciated his passion for the combination of his ideas with their craft. "When you see the hands of the people that make our goods, it's almost like taking a trip through time - the scars and the wear and tear are clear. It's more like a genuine expression, than [an actual] tattoo - it's the physical DNA that represents how these masters are wired... What goes into a hand-made zipper or precise cutting and stitching is overwhelming." This is Ground started with the Cord Taco, but a peek at their website today shows a plethora of organizational products that are as useful as they are stunningly beautiful. If you are anything like me, once you have your hands on a Mod Mobile, you will never leave your house without it. As a designer, I also enjoy the Bandito, but there is something here for everyone. We all have the clutter - the ephemera that comes along with the components of a modern on-the-go lifestyle. Why not get and stay organized and look good doing it all at the same time?