Jordan Childs has many reasons to love Richmond. He met his wife, Kim (a native to the city), while attending the VCU Brandcenter in 2007. After graduating in 2009, the couple spent time working with big brands and ad agencies in New York and San Francisco, returning to the River City in 2014 to open up their own businesses.
Jordan owns and operates the premium barware company, Shine Craft Vessel Co., who’s signature product – the Wander and Rumble growler – earned Shine a place as a Ledbury Launch Fund finalist last year. Kim runsRare & Worthy, a curated collection of eclectic vintage home decor and furniture (read Kim’s Bar Styling Guidehere).
This week, we stop by Shine Vessels HQ, The Eastern Land Collective - a Richmond-based studio home to a half-dozen retail and trade businesses – to share a beer and talk shop with Jordan and check in on what the other brands are up to.
Interview: Jordan Childs
Hometown: Black Mountain, North Carolina
How do you like your ice? Pellet
What are the best 30-minutes of your day? 10-10:30am is most productive and optimistic part of the day. Also coinciding with my peak coffee surge.
What does retirement look like? Speaking engagements, royal weddings, advisory board meetings, cocktail receptions & ski holidays…
You left Richmond after graduating from the Brandcenter in 2009, what drew you back?
My wife, Kim, and I were ready to make a run at owning our own businesses so we were looking at cities that offered great environments for entrepreneurs. We were seeking cities with a reasonable cost of living, strong start-up communities, burgeoning art and culture scenes, interesting food and dining establishments and of course, a notable beer industry. We were pretty objective in our search and narrowed it down to a few cities around the country. We ultimately settled on Richmond because of all the points above along with it being Kim’s hometown.
What was the inspiration behind Shine Craft Vessels?
I wanted a reusable growler that had great functional and aesthetic design sensibilities. Something that would potentially outlast me and also be a source of pride to carry into a brewery or leave on the table at a dinner party. A vessel that was simple in its design from all aspects and let the real beauty remain in the well crafted brews inside. I couldn’t find exactly what I wanted so I decided to make it.
I had a set of ideas in place that really led the development of the product early on. Only design quality, function-driven products and use high end finishes that assure long term use. Produce in small quantities so every piece is overly scrutinized and individually handled in production. Select finishing partners who are located in Virginia and specialize in short run, highly managed processes.
How has the growing craft beer community in Richmond impacted your brand?
The support the company has received has been more than I ever could have hoped for. What’s been even more amazing is the support from so many people and businesses outside of the beer community. Early on we had the full support from Ledbury in their new business launch competition, an opportunity we still credit as the catalyst for the our growth. Through them we met so many people, some of whom became our investors and partners, who have brought us to the point we are now. Purely in the craft beer and beverage communities we owe a huge debt of gratitude to the local spots who have partnered with us like Ardent Craft Ales, Hardywood, Growlers To Go, Union Market, Strawberry Street Market, Belle Isle Moonshine, Blanchard’s Coffee and Southern Season.
Tell us about your workspace, how did the Eastern Land Collective come together?
ELC was established for creatives seeking a place to do good work on our terms with other talented, like-minded people contributing. We are a group that focuses on retail start-ups, strategic planning, identity development and building platforms for long term success.
We started the studio in March of 2014 way out in the East End. It was almost like a retreat to get out of the city and do the creative work we wanted. In July we moved into the city to our current location to take on more partners and grow the concept of a safe haven for entrepreneurs. As a studio, we want Eastern Land Collective to be as close to the center of that as possible, and to play a role in helping to develop a new class of creative leaders in Richmond.
In addition to having a space where you can work, hangout and lounge, is that it’s a completely open studio. We all spend the day talking about what we’re working on, getting feedback, and sharing projects. The cool part about starting Shine Craft Vessel Co. was coming in and working out of this place with the amazing partners. This is a studio where people can work on projects together, but at the same time, completely focus on their passion projects. Currently the roster includes Shine, Rare and Worthy Vintage, Roaring Pines (until they move into their own retail space in a month or two), South Of Belmar, Kate Magee Photography, Sylvain Labs and Square Trade Goods Co.
What types of qualities do you look for in businesses or individuals that make a good fit for the ELC?
We certainly want to have more people working here, but we scrutinize because ELC is more than a pay-to-play coworking space. We’re focused on developing a tight knit group of people that can work as a full spectrum studio when it calls for it, but also independently on our own projects. Getting the chemistry right is a really important aspect of it. That’s a big goal of ours, to continue getting people in, but making sure they’re the right people.
We really seek people with a creative, retail, design or strategic development specialty. Folks that are grinding out the tough road of start-up and risking everything to make a living at what they love. Additionally, we look for people who can work collaboratively on projects that come through the studio and bring a unique skill to a creative problem or opportunity.
We have about 4 spots still open in the studio for the right people.