Brothers Vincent and Paul Georgeson grew up working in their dad’s two-car garage, where they found their passion for furniture, design and woodworking. “At an early age, we battled it out through drawing contests at our dining table,” Paul says. “From there, we began spending time making an assortment of random things in our dad’s workshop. The next thing we knew, we were in design school together, dreaming about starting a business together.” In 2009 they founded Misewell, an award-winning design company that creates modern furniture and decor with a commitment to partnering with local craftspeople and using sustainably sourced hardwood and 30%+ recycled steel. Everything is American-made, with manufacturing happening in Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Vermont and Wisconsin.

We’re thrilled to offer Misewell’s unique industrial stools, hooks, coffee table + mirrors as part of our West Elm LOCAL assortment. We recently caught up with Vincent and Paul in their Milwaukee studio to check out what they’re working on right now. Read on for more!

Shop all West Elm LOCAL products here!

Photography by Andrew Standaert

Vincent + Paul Georgeson

Tell us about Misewell’s mission.
Our mission has always been to create thoughtful, well-made furniture that we love and can be proud of. We began our collection by designing furniture pieces that we needed for our own homes. We don’t have a specific design language or philosophy that we adhere to, we just design for ourselves with hopes that our furniture will resonate with our customers.

What were you up to before you started this business?
Over the years we’ve each had jobs designing and consulting for a variety of consumer products and furniture for well known brands. We’ve designed furniture, lighting, plumbing fixtures, cosmetics packaging, store fixtures, etc.

Tell us about your studio and how you use the space.
We have a bright, window-lined studio space in a building full of creative people and businesses. Our space is constantly evolving to meet our needs. We do a lot in-house, so our studio is divided into a few distinct spaces. We have an area where we spend most of our time designing and taking product photos. We have a small space next to that where we do our 3D printing and prototyping, and finally we have an open area where we assemble, pack, and store all of our furniture.

What do you love most about living and working in Milwaukee?
Milwaukee may be the perfect sized city. It’s small enough that we don’t have real issues with traffic, but large enough to offer great food, a legitimate music scene, and a design community that is continuing to grow. We’re still discovering unique pockets of the city to explore, and sometimes we forget Lake Michigan isn’t an ocean.

How do you two work together?
Our process is quite fluid and varies from project to project, with few constraints. Most of our products are rooted as an idea from either of us, then tightly collaborated on together. We initially explore the ideas through conversation and sketches over lunch or in our studio, then dig into the gritty stages of mockups and models. Many ideas lose steam along the way, but if not and we both continue to love the idea months or years later, we make it.

What’s been the hardest and the most rewarding thing about being a small-business owner?
Exposure seems to be one of our biggest hurdles as business owners – to find the most efficient path to lead people to our work. The most rewarding part is hearing from someone who loves a product as much as we do.

What does a typical Saturday look like?
Saturdays are most often spent with our families at home. We both have young kids. When we do need to spend weekends at the studio, we try to include the little ones. They like to get their hands dirty as well!

What are your best pieces of advice for entrepreneurs looking to start their own business?
Work hard, very hard, but don’t forget to take a breath now and again to step back to see what you’ve accomplished. Appreciate the process, and surround yourself with people you want to share in the journey.

Shop all West Elm LOCAL products here!

Photography by Andrew Standaert

Follow @misewell_furniture + @westelm for more!

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