In 1989, I worked as the tradeshow coordinator for Big Dog Sportswear in Santa Barbara, CA. Recognizing the need for mannequins, I designed and fabricated displays for the trade show booth and the company retail store. My mannequins caught the eye of the visual director of Pacific Sunwear, aka PacSun, which at that time was a small chain of 40 stores. They asked if I would be interested in making some mannequins for their stores, which lead to the birth of my company, Phorms Mannequins and Store Displays. The mannequins were 2-dimensional, made from PVC sheets, and had a simple stand that required only a few spot welds that I subcontracted to a local welder.
I began designing and fabricating clothing fixtures, sign holders, sunglass fixtures and other display pieces that required more extensive welding. I purchased a small Lincoln welder and helmet and got a fast afternoon welding tutorial from a friend. After much trial and error, I taught myself beyond the basics and was able to start producing more products.
I relocated to San Francisco in 1992 and worked on numerous store display projects with Levi’s, Sgt. Leisure and Nike, to name a few. In my spare time, I made smaller household items, such as, lamps, clocks, tables, candleholders and photo frames. All of which became products of another company named Mean & Wroughten, a dba of Phorms, Inc.
In 1995, two friends and I opened I.C.E. (Interior Concepts and Environments), a small store on Guerrero Street in the Mission District of SF. The store was stocked with vintage home furnishings and items designed and made by local artists. The late 90’s saw the boom of the tech industry and in 2000 I departed the city by the bay and returned to one of my previous homes, Portland, Maine.
I shifted gears in 2002 and opened a hair salon, Bang Cut & Color, in the Arts District of Portland, which I still own and operate. Don’t call for an appointment with me though, because I don’t cut hair and take my word for it, you wouldn’t want me to cut your hair.
I discontinued manufacturing store displays for PacSun in 2005 (the store grand total exceeded 850 locations in all 50 states and Puerto Rico) and focused my attention on the day-to-day operations of the salon, but continued to weld making photo frames and other pieces in my spare time. I instructed art-welding classes at a local community college, SMCC, and currently travel to various art/craft shows in the region and sell my frames and cribbage boards. One thing is for certain, I have a strong desire to work with my hands and a never-ending need for welding in my life.