At MOXON, the products and brands that we represent need to exist for a great reason. Fortunately for us, the team behind Windmillkey are as resourceful as they are excellent designers - establishing the brand after recognising a very big market gap.Co-founders Daan and Jelle had grown tired of cluttered pockets, realising there had to be an answer to their disorganisation. ‘With my keys loose in my back pocket, I was always finding holes in my jeans. There had to be a solution!,’ Daan explained.
Recalling the humble beginnings of the brand, Daan revealed that it 'all started from our living room.' Unsurprisingly, however, the very early Windmillkey's sparked an immediate customer demand - forcing the pair to rethink their production process, and quickly.
‘Plenty of customers quickly became keen to own a Windmillkey. After the first six months, we had so many orders at once that it became impossible to handle everything at home,’ he added.
‘Now we're working with different Dutch partners to produce Windmillkey in the Netherlands. Last month we had a road trip through Holland, visiting all our supply partners.
'It was so exciting to see all the different people in the country working on the product - especially when only a year ago we were doing everything by ourselves.’
Despite the slick final product, the early Windmillkey production stages weren’t entirely free of hiccups. In fact, the most technical feature of the Windmillkey (it’s slick rotating key screw) caused a great deal of design anguish.
‘The most "technical" part of our product is the screw that connects the leather to the keys. We needed a lot of iterations before we were happy with the design of the screw,’ Daan explained. ‘It needs to be easily opened by our users, and it also needs to be sticky so that the screw doesn’t open by itself. These are two completely opposite attributes.’
Continuing, Daan added: ‘We are also working with high quality leather. It was hard finding a good supplier of leather who could promise constant quality’.
As every great designer knows, function and style are both paramount to producing a remarkable product. Windmillkey draws on the brand ethos of Patagonia - who Daan and Jelle credit as a critical design influence.‘They are very strong in combining design, business and purpose. Quality is number one for them,’ Daan shared.
Highlighting how Windmillkey integrates Patagonia’s influence, he added: ‘Something should be reliable and last for many years. And even when it's broken, it should be easily repairable.
‘At Windmillkey, we really try to follow these principles. The leather is high quality, and becomes prettier with every month that you use it.’
Evolution is critical for Windmillkey, and the brand are already looking at ways to expand the range (stay tuned for more). Daan shared: ‘We're currently most excited about working with new types of sustainable materials. We're exploring different options.
‘Currently we're in a pilot phase with Fruitleather Rotterdam. They make leather out of mango that is not usable for human consumption anymore. In the coming years we want to work with more and more sustainable materials.’
With a very bright brand future ahead of them, Daan and Jelle are unsurprisingly excited about their forthcoming years as Windmillkey.
‘We feel the journey has started, and that working with MOXON is a really awesome next step to growing the brand, design and business,’ they shared. ‘We're looking forward to building new relationships and experiences together.’
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