Lighter Than Air


In my early 20′s I travelled the USA with an advertising blimp. I spent two years of Americana insanity moving from motel to hotel every week covering sporting events and pumping lots of helium. While most of my time was spent on the ground, I did a fair amount of communication with the blimp pilots and even flew the ship here and there. Each time I called the ship from my VHF radio, I would always address the pilots with “560 Alpha Bravo. This is Ground.”

Since I was in a constant state of packing, unpacking and repacking for the entirety of the tour, I quickly learned how to organize and stow my most valuable gear. I was living out of suitcases, action packers and just about every other type of carrying case you could imagine. Aside from all that I learned about operating a blimp tour, I also became extremely efficient in the art of organizing, packing and protecting. My obsession with organization was part of the inspiration behind my very first cord taco.

Because of the tour, “This is Ground” is a very personal greeting to me but that’s not the only reason it became the name of my business. I’m also a huge David Bowie fan, and “This is Ground” is part of one of his most famous songs, Space Oddity.

This is Ground Control to Major Tom
You’ve really made the grade
And the papers want to know whose shirts you wear
Now it’s time to leave the capsule
If you dare

So that’s how the name, This is Ground came about. Although I’m consistently inspired by the meaning others find in the name.

Recently, in an interview with a blogger I was told that he had found an alternative meaning to This is Ground. As a writer, he thought the name was referring to how our products grounded individuals in their craft.

He had seen our Leatherback Writer 2 and it instinctively moved him to pick up his pen. The idea that our products connected and grounded him to being a writer really resonated with him, and I was inspired by his interpretation of our name. I think it’s really special when something you’ve helped create conjures up emotional connections in people.

- Mike Macadaan

Meet Nisha

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Meet the newest member of the team at This is Ground, Nisha. Nisha hails from Amsterdam and is a graduate from the Amsterdam Fashion Institute in menswear design. In her new role at This is Ground as Product Designer, she has lent her minimal menswear aesthetic to all the new pieces we’re working on and whips up a mean, professional quality prototype in just a few hours. Today we followed her around as she sourced leather, bought a skiver and worked on our newest prototype. We asked her some questions along the way.

nisha

C: How do you start your day?
N: I wake up, do some yoga stretches and greet the sun, take a shower and have my breakfast.

C: What made you pursue design?
N: Well I had to choose something! [laughs] No, I always had a major appreciation for the quality and craftsmanship behind good design, be it clothes, accessories or architecture and I wanted to explore that notion in my education. The personal expression that is possible through clothing also interested me and led me to studying menswear.

C: And what made you want to work with leather?
N: Even as a young kid messing around I used leather for small projects. In my collections for school I liked to use leather as finishing and details for garments because I liked the look and feel of the material. I think it really elevates a piece. I mean, sometimes I wear leather pants and [a leather] top– I just love leather!

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C: So who are some designers that inspire your work?
N: Let me think… Ann Demeulemeester. Helmut Lang. Comme des Garçons. But I’m also inspired a lot by my surroundings. For example, Los Angeles. It’s a new city to me and the people, the culture and especially the architecture of DTLA are so inspiring to me.

C: How would you compare LA to Amsterdam?
N: Well, I really like the pampering culture here. People like to spend money and enjoy life which I think is the most important thing in life, to enjoy yourself. In Amsterdam there’s not so much of that. People are very stingy and like to say they’re being frugal when really they’re just greedy [laughs].

What else? Everyone has a dog here. And no one smokes! Cigarettes anyway.

Everyone in LA is crazy. I’ve never seen so many lunatics in my life but that’s what I like and I feel normal here.

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C: Did you enjoy growing up in the Netherlands?
N: Yeah, I think it was a great place to grow up. Obviously I can’t compare it with anywhere else but it’s really a city where you can do what you want. You have access to opportunities in whatever field you are interested in. Also the people are very down to earth which was good to grow up around. I might get swept up in things if I wasn’t down to earth.

C: What kind of things did you want to be as a kid?
N: For a while I wanted to own a shop where you could get anything. I was very skinny and would carry around a big, big bag twice my size full of everything I might need. I was super prepared. One time as a kid my family and I got stuck on the road and we needed a wrench and low and behold I had one in my bag! But what I wanted to be changed constantly. One week a Egyptologist, the next a painter…

C: Lastly, a few quick questions: What are you reading right now?
N: Strangeland by Tracey Emin. It’s a memoir by the artist, reflecting on her past and present as an English artist of Turkish decent. Really interesting.

C: What are you listening to at the moment?
N: A mix of old and new things. As always, The Doors and the Clash. I also listen to a lot of Nine Inch Nails but I try not to advertise that too much.

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C: What are your goals for 2014?
N: My main goal this year was to visit the States and live in LA. I just wanted to explore the world and myself. And now I’m here! I also need to get my driver’s license this year.

Made With Paper

Made with Paper

Made with Paper

When dreaming up new product ideas for This is Ground, the design process for our founder Mike Macadaan starts with the FiftyThree Paper app and Pencil, so we were thrilled to see the Cargito featured on Made with Paper.

One of the best parts about working at FiftyThree is how often we’re inspired by our users. We love being at the heart of creation’s nascency, those early stages where ideas aren’t fully formed and full of possibility. Sometimes notes and sketches stay as just that, wonderful and crazy ideas, and sometimes they continue to take shape and eventually evolve into finished products. We’ve had designers sketch ideas for what became clothing and accessories, UX designs that became websites or iPhone and Android apps, playful creations that became children’s toys, architectural sketches that became foundations for houses, the list goes on.

When Mike Macadan wrote in to tell us about Cord Tacos and Corditos, however, we wondered if he had engineered a tasty new snack using Paper. Turns out, they’re a line of beautifully designed leather goods for storing electronic cords. Particularly cool for us was the fact that Paper is a core tool in his design process, and that his most recent product–a leather charging iPad case called Cargito– was optimized to perfectly fit Pencil. You can see some of Mike’s ideas on Paper up on top.

The result of those ideas? The Cargito Air Charging iPad Case along with its compact counterpart.

Cargito will be ready to ship this Spring. In the meantime, you can pre-order Cargito on the company’s site, This is Ground. We’re not the only ones digging Mike’s products: Wired, Complex, and Cool Hunting have also taken note of his clean, simple designs and beautiful craftsmanship.
Source

Cargito Air Whiskey

Cargito Mini Black

Cargito Whiskey (Charging)

Groomsman Kit Collab

Eric and Sarah wanted a small, DIY wedding but as anyone who has gotten engaged knows, the planning process kind of takes off on its own. As the guest list grew they saw their personal, crafty wedding slipping away and cookie cutters looming in the horizon. To keep their vision on track they hired a wedding planner to help with the big picture and they turned their attention to the things that mattered the most: including their guests in the wedding experience. High on Eric’s list was finding a perfect gift for the men who would stand with him while he waited for his bride to walk down the aisle.

The list of groomsmen included his brother and friends from every part of his life and Eric wanted to show his appreciation for all seven of them. He felt like “just getting them stuff wasn’t going to be enough”, so several weeks before his wedding, Eric decided to come to This Is Ground for a solution. Piece by piece he worked with us to assemble a personalized kit that would serve the busy, traveling lifestyle that all his best guys had in common.

Eric chose to make all the pieces of his groomsman kit with our signature Bomber hide and together we identified the items that would organize and protect the essentials: passports, eye wear, headphones, cards, phones and notebooks.

Eric wanted to make sure each groomsmen felt his personal touch in their gift, so he had us engrave each one’s initials into the products he thought would age with them and be used for years to come. We took the kits to be monogrammed by a precision laser cutter at The Build Shop.

The final presentation was a well-rounded selection of minimal-form but highly functional objects.

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For each groomsman, we made an individually monogrammed Tomo pouch and Leatherback Writer 2, a McFeely wallet, a Cord Taco Supreme 5-pack and a custom Sunglasses Sleeve.

A week before his wedding, we sent the kits off to Florida with Eric along with 500 of our cord tacos and gave him our well wishes. The day of the wedding, as they prepared for Eric and Sarah’s big day, the groomsmen found a tie and pocket square for the ceremony, along with their This is Ground groomsmen kits, accompanied by flasks of scotch.

The groomsmen’s reaction was one of initial surprise at the level of Eric’s thoughtfulness. After a few moments of stunned silence they expressed their appreciation for such special gifts and Eric was glad to know his groomsmen felt his gratitude for their presence in his life.

After the ceremony, as the sunny afternoon transitioned into evening, the guests made their way to dinner, where the cord tacos we sent were used as place holders for seating and made individual gifts for each and every guest.

Wedding

Eric and Sarah had set out to deliver one message to each and every person attending their wedding, that this day was special and so was their role in it.

All they had left to do, was enjoy the moment.

In Wired

iPad Mini Cargito Case on Wired
Our Cargito Charging iPad Case was featured on Wired’s Gadget Lab last week. Thanks Tim!

From the makers of the much-loved Cord Tacos, This Is Ground’s Cargito iPad cases combine simple design with hidden treats. They’re loaded with mobile charging options and compartments for sidecar necessities.

The Cargito Air Charging iPad Case comes with a 7000 mAh battery in a zip-up compartment and an integrated Lightning cable that lets you give your iPad a full recharge in transit while it’s tucked inside the full-leather sleeve. There’s also a smaller and cheaper version — the Cargito Mini Charging iPad Case — made for the iPad Mini.

Both sizes include a strap that’s fitted to hold a Pencil stylus, a compartment for your business and/or credit cards, and a zip-up pocket. In the charger-equipped versions of each case, the rechargeable battery goes in that zip pocket; there are also non-charging versions of each sized case that free up that zip compartment for spare change, hard candy, or a pocketable amount of what-have-you.