Aeolist specializes in creating one-of-a-kind items, from bags and jewelry to pillows and books, that feature found materials, such as leather remnants from an upholstery company or lecture series tarps from the Knowlton School of Architecture at The Ohio State University.
Aeolist’s story begins at Knowlton, actually. It was conceived by architecture students Bob Cervas and Denis de Verteuil while they were studying abroad in Rome. Jade Naro, who studied interior design and textiles at OSU, and Angela Kowalski, who studied graphic design at the Savannah College of Art and Design, round out the four-person collaborative, which was formed in 2008.
Today, the group lives and works together out of a house in Old North Columbus.
“All of us have a creative knack and we cannot sit still,” says de Verteuil. “We wanted to make stuff ourselves and to kind of prove that it could be done. This was a way to be able to do what we want and make creative products.
“At the start of the company, we were very interested in recycling material we could find and reuse. The idea of taking scrap material and creating a designer product was just too compelling for us. Well that, and we were too broke to buy our own material. This was designing on a dime, which has produced some really amazing stuff.”
Found materials add unique character to the exterior of Aeolist bags, which include messenger bags, coin purses and totes, while the principals hand-select patterns and fabrics for the interior.
Also, “we like to do custom work, so if anyone comes to us with ideas, we will prototype it,” he says.
Aeolist merchandise can be purchased at Crimson Cup Coffee in Clintonville, Objects for the Home in Grandview, and on the company’s website, which was relaunched in June. Since then, new bag designs and embroidery, screenprint and letterpress services have been added to the lineup.
When launching Aeolist, de Verteuil says it was critical to get bags into their friends’ hands and then their friends’ hands.
“Word of mouth goes a long way,” he adds. “From there, we attended events like Independent’s Day and Agora to help spread our name and products.”
The website has also provided the collaborative with a wider audience.
“We have shipped bags to Germany, Scotland, and Sri Lanka, with very happy customers,” he says.
When asked what Aeolist’s principals want to achieve in the future, de Verteuil’s answer is simple.
“I think the first goal would be to make enough money to turn this from a moonlighting gig to a full-time thing,” he says. “Then the group wants to expand our creative services into other markets.”
To learn more about Aeolist, visit AeolistDesign.com.