Speaking from her wood shop in a Cincinnati warehouse, designer Rosie Kovacs needs to step into a side room to take a phone call. As her and her partner Hayes Shanesy, who started the furniture and design firm Brush Factory in Cincinnati in 2009, gear up to release a new line of minimalist furniture, the shop floor tends to get a little loud.
When they started out, as she explains, they didn’t have a firm handle on direction; Kovacs, a fashion design major, and Shanesy, an industrial designer, started a retail store that didn’t work out, then turned to what became a successful wholesale commercial furniture, grabbing attention nationally for their line of handmade products, such as necklaces and bottle stops made from hardwood.
The duo has been able to realize their desire to create a consumer line of furniture after winning The Big Pitch, a grant program from Cincinnati-based non-profit ArtWorks. Their forthcoming BFF line (prices will range from $400 to $2,800 depending on style and finish), which will be available nationwide via their website starting in May, exudes Shaker influences along with nods to modern minimalism. The group’s first collection, simple pieces with a light footprint that are easy to move, is currently limited to tables and desks, but they plan to expand with new items roughly every six months. With everything under one roof, Brush Factory can prototype and implement new concepts relatively quickly. The next step, introducing seating, and possibly opening a store and a storeroom, are part of the long-term plans.
"We’re trying to recreate Old Time Colonial vibes with modern styling," Kovacs says. "We want furniture buying to be fun and not so serious; it’s in the name of the line."