Once Alex Traxler began working out of a friend’s studio at the Columbus Idea Foundry, his desire to be creative professionally took over and he got a space of his own there. Shortly after, Traxler’s fiancé bought him a wooden necktie, and the novelty really got his creative juices flowing.
He started taking jobs within CIF, his client list took off, and Griffen Hollow Studio was born. These days, Traxler manufactures retail products for the GHS fashion line, as well as Woody’s Wooden and Acrylic Accessories, and fabricates for local businesses.
“Clients bring their products to me in all stages of development,” says Traxler. “I work with folks to bring their idea to reality, whether it is laser etching the logo on a product or cutting the parts so they can begin production. A major part of GHS is material reclamation. This means I collect damaged or used materials and reclaim them for later use. This reduces cost on each level, from me to the customer.”
Though his customers aren’t always keen on using reclaimed materials, Traxler, a native of southeastern Ohio and northern Kentucky, works to convince them that using eco-friendly materials is the way to go.
“I grew up in the hills of Appalachia and can’t stand the thought of mistreating such a perfect place,” he says. “If I can make a little difference here and there, it’ll be a big difference when I am gone. The goal with my products is to start a conversation and keep folks interested in eco-friendly.”
To learn why Traxler has launched a Kickstarter campaign and who’s helped him grow GHS since its launch last year, keep reading.
The Metropreneur: What has been the biggest obstacle you’ve faced since launching GHS and how did you overcome it?
Alex Traxler: The biggest obstacle was establishing direction. I just wanted to be my own boss, pay the bills and, most of all, create with a purpose. I have a variety of skills and am fortunate to have one more by opening up shop in The Columbus Idea Foundry. I learned how to use a laser cutter, which transformed the way I work and the jobs I take.
[M]: You’re currently seeking $20,000 on Kickstarter to buy new equipment and expand your operation. What kinds of equipment and what would the expansion entail?
AT: The first piece of equipment I am buying is a laser cutter. It is great to rent the laser at CIF, but now that I am constantly in production, it has created too much overhead. I would also like to create the possibility of reclaiming wood to better standards. This means buying a saw and large belt sander.
[M]: What made you decide it was time to expand?
AT: I was working out of 100 square feet, which is why I just doubled my space. As I get more clients, the word spreads about my reclamation practices and more folks are donating. I am running out of room to store these materials!
With the purchase of the laser I will need a cleaner environment. My shop collects quite a bit of dust as it is now. That will be a huge bonus when the CIF moves to the new Franklinton location.
[M]: Are there any people, resources, organizations, etc. that have been especially helpful as you’ve worked to get GHS off the ground?
AT: The biggest support is my fiancé, Alex. She has pushed me to follow my dreams and keeps things in perspective. My mom is a huge support of all my efforts. The Columbus Idea Foundry is insanely awesome and full of innovative minds. American Plastics has been a great source for scrap materials and learning about my newest medium, acrylics. And Kickstarter once I hit that goal!
[M]: Is there anything else you think we should know?
AT: It’s time to up-cycle. We are a consumer nation. It’s past time to start caring more. I hope my reclamation practices are shared and experienced by many.
To learn more about Griffin Hollow Studio, visit GriffenHollowStudio.com.