Distil It.

Our awesome friends at Distil Union recently had their Objective Design Shop… and were cool enough to feature our bags in their store! You can see the spread above, but because it was all so cool, we decided to ask them a few questions about what inspires their taste and what they keep in their bags.

Thanks to Nate Justiss, industrial designer and co-founder of Distil Union, for talking with us!

1. When you opened your store, what was one thing you hoped to bring to customers above all else?

Lindsay [co-founder and graphic designer at Distil Union] and I wanted to open up a retail component of our design studio for years. After our travels overseas and to larger cities in the US, it was obvious to us that Charleston lacked the kind of store we most enjoyed - a classic designerly goods shop with unique modern items you can’t find anywhere else. Our taste is a good mix of modern minimalism and a bit of earthy wabi sabi. If I had to distill it down to one thing, I’d say modern clever minimalism. We are both fans of clever functional surprises in products so we love when folks come in and we can hear their surprised delight as they pick up and discover cool products in the store. We feel the same way about the objects we carry and we’re happy to share with our neighbors and visitors here in Charleston.  

2. What inspires the look behind your store?

We’re product designers and love functionality and adaptability. It is a theme in our own products under our brand, Distil Union, and our store is a reflection of that. The shop, having such a small footprint, had to both showcase the products we carry and provide a flexible efficient functionality. Our walls move, our shelves can be configured in any array and our pegs for bags can be adjusted depending on the assortment. Starting with that requirement, we came up with a series of custom peg board panels mounted to fixed brick walls and to movable walls. We’re big fans of authentic and natural materials so featuring the brick and wood in such a large way as a backdrop really appealed to us. We’re inspired by nature and it’s adaptability and to be reminded of that in our studio/store daily is nothing but great.

3. If you could give advice to yourself ten years ago, what would it be?

If I could go back in time and give myself advice beyond buying all the Apple stock I could afford, it’d be what I tell everyone who is 10 years younger than I am:1. Live beneath your means - save as much as you can so that you learn to live off of very little.2. Surround yourself with good and talented people who can teach you.3. Keep your eyes open. Your job is only part of the equation. Pay attention to what else is going on around you.4. Don’t be afraid to ask for a job. Go after what you want to learn about. Your education is just beginning.5. Quit! Don’t be afraid to move on when you’ve learned enough. If you’ve followed number 1, it won’t be a big risk.

4. At our bag drop rallies, our STATE PackMen/Women share stories of things they carry in their bag that tells a lot about their journey in life and may even surprise their closest friends. What’s one thing you carry in your bag that’s made you the person you are today?

This one is easy and probably isn’t a surprise to anyone I know. I won’t be found without my Wally Case in my bag. I’ve designed over a hundred products in my career from boats to portable speakers and the only thing I’ve designed that I use every single day is my Wally Case. It does a great job of keeping my wallet minimal, manageable and accessible. I get excited about telling folks about it because I know it will make their lives simpler.

distil union, fashion, modern minimalism, objective design shop, practical design