Friday Interview: Chris Haines! October 19, 2012 16:50

Happy Friday, everyone! I'm back with another Friday interview. This week I'd like you to meet Chris Haines, the creative force behind ideaka. Read on to learn a little bit more about Chris and the work he's making out of nearby Somerville, Massachusetts! Have a good weekend, everyone!

Please introduce yourself and tell us about your handmade business.
My name is Chris Haines and I am the creator of ideaka, a small product design, lighting, apparel & accessories company. I started ideaka in Providence, RI around 2005 after graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design. I actually went by the name Wanderlust Designs for about the first year. The business started with the map wallets but I wanted to branch out so I needed a new name. The name ideaka came to me when I was falling asleep one night; it just stuck. It means little idea or concept. 

Describe your studio for us.
I work from home in a converted church from 1887, yeah it's pretty awesome. My studio is the second bedroom and it's very unique. It has part of a domed ceiling that is up to 15 feet in the front half making it feel much bigger then it is. Since space is limited I take advantage of that and stack things almost to the ceiling in spots. The only real downside is I have only one window. In the winter it's like I work in a cave. Other then that I guess my studio is pretty normal, lots of things that inspire me all over the place. 

What is it about Somerville that makes it such a hot spot for creative people?
Yes I live in Somerville, Union Square (the best square) to be exact. I had never been here before my wife and I moved here two years ago. I knew nothing at all about it. I just wanted to live in an odd/interesting building and this is where the church was. The first day we came to look at the loft Bizarre Bazaar was going on in the square. I thought then that this was going to be a good creative place to live. There are a lot of creative things happening in Somerville. Maybe it all started with Marshmallow Fluff, it was invented here in 1917. 

What is your process like for turning new ideas into new products?
I am not sure I have a process that I can think of. I kind of just do things. I make what I want when I want. I try new ideas out and see if they work. Sometimes it involves mockups on computer and sometimes I have to make a physical thing to see how it will really work and look. 

What advice would you offer someone hoping to take their work from hobby to business?
I am sure lots of people say this but, just do it. There is no other way then trying something and seeing where it goes. If you sit and think about it too long it will not happen. Don't be afraid to fail it's the best thing sometimes. 

What does handmade mean to you?
Okay I am very sarcastic so I want to say "made with one's hands". I guess that's the best answer I can give you. 

How did you become involved with Craftland?
I really don't remember but living in Providence I would walk by it all the time and think, why are they not selling my stuff?

Little known, fun fact about you?
I ate a few pan fried Cicadas in China this year. That was the craziest thing I have ever consumed. They were surprisingly not bad.