DO COOL SHIT.
From day one, we have lived by the mantra “do cool shit”. In our minds this is a better way to go to work. Why not use the experience and team we’ve created within Handlebend to have fun? Why not move through a day, and a week, and a career by “going for it”? I think that by getting outside of the box we can create experiences, friendships, and a brand that has the power to drive that “good” that I speak of.
Here we sit, at the beginning of weeks of giveaways. The term is such a crappy one, in my mind. With the evolution of social media companies, influencers, and the bastardization of the word “collaboration”, giveaways have developed a long list of cheap, meaningless connotations.
We’ve brainstormed about this a fair amount. We’ve worked hard to keep our thought processes free from the grip of “the way everyone else does it” and more in step with “doing cool shit”. We want to bring value and talent to those we collaborate with.
Blending this “work” with our baseline thought processes on building community, making friends, and sharing stories we’ve put together a plan. Let’s do this in the social media space. If we’re going to exist here, let’s exist with the purpose of promoting things that are GOOD for human beings….and we’ll give away some kick-ass prizes in the meantime.
This, I suppose, is a long way of saying: Check this out. We’ve made some good friends that are doing some REALLY cool shit. We’re going to spend our time and energy telling you about THEM. They are good human beings; here are their stories. We hope you enjoy and maybe even find a little bit of inspiration in them.
Meet the good humans.
Matt + Joe Brugger | Albion, NE
The Brugger Boys.
I don’t remember the first time I met them, nor the circumstances under which that meeting fell. That is not to say they were unassuming, or that the circumstances were necessarily dull or less than memorable. It is more to say that time spent with the Brugger boys is comfortable. Neither the first time or any subsequent times were out-of-the-ordinary enough to stand out as the first, or second for that matter. Time spent with them always has that underlying contentment that typically accompanies time spent with family or an old friend.
Jessica Brennan | Elkhorn, NE
Back and forth I’ve teetered with regards to the culture of tattoos. Ultimately, I’ve always bowed away from the notion - though there have most definitely been times in my life I’ve considered getting ink done. As a “grown up”, I believe I’ve arrived at the conclusion that I’m a fan of tattoos…though the compulsion to commit to one has likely passed me by in my age.
In college I laid out line art for a few buddies who were in the market for tattoos. One was a vintage padlock. The classic model number plate riveted to its blocky body sported his area code…a nod to the close brotherhood of hometown friends recently disbanded by college years. Another was a celtic knot. The intricate woven patterns of the symmetrical design held a place in its would-be wearer’s heart that spoke to his ideas of the pathways one traverses in life; fraught with ups and downs and eventually weaving a story one could make sense of.
I think the part of tattoo art that appeals to me is the sentimental nature that so often accompanies it; I’m a sap for a good story.
Beth Wagner| Bartlett, NE
It’s a crucial foundational block of any relationship.
My mind wanders through thoughts of where the mugs we build might end up. Who’s cabinet will they adorn? What kind of memories will be recounted around them with loved ones at the kitchen table? I’ve always cherished these wonderings as copperwares leave us and head for their new homes. Building something by hand lends the kind of time for these thoughts to wander.
The stories and history and love tied to something like a family’s ranch brand are insurmountable. As we lay something like this on a set of custom mugs I cannot help but feel a deep sense of gratitude. That someone trusts our products to convey that sense of love and family pride to their loved ones is huge…it's everything.
Beth Wagner gets it.
Bekah Scout | O'Neill, NE
Give that girl a camera and she’ll make some magic with it.
Rebekah has had a camera in her hand since she was a child. The proof lies with her younger sister Pammela, the target of some of her earliest photoshoots; the sisters still laugh about the awkward tones of that early art.
Growing up in a tiny northeast Nebraska town, Rebekah explained to me the progression of her technology in photography equipment as a kiddo. Hand-me-down point and shoot cameras from the late 90’s made up the bulk of her arsenal and she was always excited when a “new” one made it her way. The constant, for her, was her subject. I must be a highly regarded individual, because Pam recently gave me a sneak peak of some of the products of those early photoshoots. She doesn’t yet know, I shouldn’t be trusted.
At her. Not with her. Those babies are embarrassing.
You can likely imagine some of the poses and faces a pair of young girls might come up with while trying to replicate the drama and art-worthiness of a vogue cover shot. They were certainly having fun, and hey…look what that early inspiration has turned into!
That was a long time ago. Bekah’s skillset has evolved with the times, but I’ve always maintained - her skill isn’t a learned one…it’s innate.
Joe Horacek | Lincoln, NE
It’s a small world.
Last week I got to visit with a supposed stranger in a podcast-type setting. Joe Horacek of Little Mountain Prints in Lincoln, NE. He’s a design artist and has built a business around intelligible little stories of a sentimental nature, told by the wearers of the t-shirts they live upon. Joe has a knack for capturing an imagination’s worth of detail in one simple sketch. I don’t mean to use the term simple in a diminishing manner. The uncomplicated nature of his art should not be confused with a lack of skill. His prints tell a story, of sorts, and they do so in a wonderful and wearable way....perhaps one of the reasons his t-shirts often sell out so quickly. They’re relatable. The beauty lies in their simplicity.
“I’ve got more ideas than I have time to get them developed” Joe said. During our relatively short chat, I began to understand the way his mind works through things; methodically. He picks apart a subject without a necessary regard to time...we’d visit around and through a concept until the conversation seemed complete. I can easily imagine that must be the same manner in which his art comes together, from concept to complete story.
We talked about how creativity doesn’t live on a switch.