TRNK:

My New Fa­vorite Four Let­ter Word

Hello Mr. Magazine - - TRNK - in­ter­view by Josh Sil­ver­man photo by Lucy Hewett

What is the so­cial life of an ob­ject? Each of our pos­ses­sions tell mul­ti­ple and si­mul­ta­ne­ous sto­ries. Con­sider the in­spi­ra­tion of the maker, the ori­gin of the ma­te­ri­als, the na­ture of cre­ativ­ity and na­ture it­self; to the maker’s craft, the prac­tic­ing and hon­ing of be­hav­iors that, over time, re­sult in a vo­ca­tion. Then, con­sider the de­sign and the mar­ket­ing of an ob­ject, the cu­rios­ity to find out more, the right-brain, emo­tion­ally-ori­ented, split­sec­ond de­ci­sion to make the pur­chase be­fore the ac­tual left-brain ad­just­ment to com­plete the sales trans­ac­tion – all of th­ese con­cur­rent sto­ries are em­bed­ded in the things we own and use ev­ery day.

The way ob­jects tell their sto­ries is some­times in­trin­sic to the ob­ject it­self, part of its de­sign. But peo­ple tell the sto­ries of ob­jects, too. Your fam­ily’s heir­loom rug, that Vic­trola sit­ting in the cor­ner, a par­tic­u­lar tea­spoon or a scrap of pa­per with a pass­ing thought, or some­thing more tra­di­tion­ally mean­ing­ful like your mother’s en­gage­ment ring. You want to know where th­ese things come from; their in­di­vid­ual his­tor­i­cal nar­ra­tives make them a part of where you come from. Ar­guably, our ob­jects make us. And once you come to value how ob­jects have been so­cial­ized over the gen­er­a­tions be­fore they reach you, you’ll be pre­pared to share the newer story when the ob­ject is gifted to or in­her­ited by the next gen­er­a­tion – the story that’s been up­dated by your in­volve­ment with the ob­ject. Or, you could just sell it for cash, per­chance open­ing up the nar­ra­tive to an imag­ined fic­tion.

It can be over­whelm­ing to think about, but wor­thy of in­ves­ti­ga­tion. Con­fer­ences, jour­nals, or­ga­ni­za­tions, books, and so­ci­o­log­i­cal and arche­o­log­i­cal thought have all been de­voted to the topic. Luck­ily, the gen­tle­men that run the busi­ness TRNK (www. trnk-nyc.com), Nick Ne­mechek and Tariq Dixon, are mak­ing sense of it all. TRNK is a mashup be­tween a highly cu­rated Etsy or eBay (the ob­ject’s ori­gin), with a pinch of Pin­ter­est (the cu­ra­to­rial in­ter­ven­tion). It’s a

“For the man who seeks an in­spired

and char­ac­ter-filled home.”

place where we can read sto­ries about mak­ers of ob­jects and their own per­sonal spa­ces and lives, and be en­cour­aged to recre­ate the same for our­selves – ul­ti­mately, find­ing new heir­looms for our­selves. The ben­e­fit of be­ing able to learn and buy is only part of their busi­ness model; Nick and Tariq plan on flip­ping some of their tag sale and an­tique finds and sell­ing them as well.

How’d you get started?

We sensed the need for TRNK be­cause we kept get­ting all kinds of com­pli­ments on our apart­ment. Once the com­pli­ments turned into in­quiries about spe­cific pieces that we had in our apart­ment, and then that grew to re­quests for help to find pieces we didn’t have, we knew we were onto some­thing big.

That’s how great things start! So who’s your tar­get au­di­ence?

We are. We love pieces that are unique, where I’m not go­ing to walk into my friend’s house and see the same thing I have.

It’s re­ally dif­fi­cult to fur­nish your own home. Many home re­tail­ers are overtly fem­i­nine, of­fer­ing pas­tels, flo­rals, and frills. Ours is a desti­na­tion that aes­thet­i­cally has a dif­fer­ent point of view, and tells dif­fer­ent sto­ries. We’re not so much into dec­o­ra­tion as col­lec­tion, in­cor­po­rat­ing prod­ucts from dif­fer­ent de­sign eras, and not over­think­ing it.

Our pri­mary mis­sion is en­cour­ag­ing men to con­sider their homes as an ex­pres­sion of their per­son­al­i­ties and their char­ac­ter, and to re­claim men’s per­sonal space.

Tell me more about that. How are you go­ing to ac­com­plish that?

By fea­tur­ing mak­ers in their own spa­ces, telling their sto­ries, and sell­ing the things that they make. Plus ob­jects we find along the way, in a cu­rated and stream­lined way.

So you ac­cel­er­ate this process of be­ing es­tab­lished in one’s own home. A lot of the find­ing of col­lected things take time.

Yes, we’ve done all the cu­rat­ing. Our site will serve peo­ple in two ways: peo­ple that don’t mind the hunt for heir­looms as much, and peo­ple who value the same prin­ci­ples but don’t have the time or en­ergy that is re­quired to cre­ate a space that’s com­fort­able. Un­like our com­pe­ti­tion, we fo­cus on telling the sto­ries of us, and our mak­ers.

How do you feel like you’ve cre­ated your per­sonal space? Nick:

I have al­ways en­joyed build­ing spa­ces I feel com­fort­able in. It started in col­lege; I picked it up at a very young age. I’ve al­ways been an avid col­lec­tor, even when I don’t have space to be col­lect­ing. All of the pieces that I hold onto have mean­ing to me. I’ve al­ways be­lieved my per­sonal space is very im­por­tant. Tariq: There are a lot of peo­ple that want to have pas­sion for their space. Maybe they don’t have vi­sion, or they can’t do it on their own. Be­fore TRNK, I never re­ally un­der­stood the value of cre­at­ing space you re­ally love and feel com­fort­able in. When I moved to New York, I spent a lot of time go­ing out and not in my apart­ment. But when Nick moved in and we made the space to­gether, I un­der­stood the im­por­tance of it – I didn’t want to be any­where else other than that apart­ment. And then your whole per­spec­tive changes – you want to in­vite other peo­ple into that space and share it, you start en­ter­tain­ing more. The en­joy­ment that you can de­rive from this is new to me.

More than fash­ion, your space re­ally com­mu­ni­cates who you are. You build the story along the way, and it’s some­thing that will carry with you, un­like cloth­ing, which is sea­sonal and tran­sient.

Right, like with a nice ar­ti­cle of cloth­ing, even if it’s not be­spoke, you call it a “piece.” You want to have the same ef­fect on peo­ple’s space.

Def­i­nitely. Most prod­ucts are built to last a short pe­riod of time. We’re ad­vo­cates for in­vest­ing in prod­ucts that have per­ma­nence, and that will build a his­tory with you. We want our cus­tomers to feel more con­fi­dent in their own space.

Josh Sil­ver­man spends his days at Sch­wade­sign.com, and his evenings craft­ing some­thing with bour­bon in it. Fol­low him @jh­sil­ver­man.

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