Who are you and what do you do?
I am Kendall Mingey and I own and operate a foundry design service called Cupolette, which specializes in unique cast metal products and custom production work.
What’s the latest thing you’ve been working on?
I have been producing a line of vessels set to debut at the Portland Design Auction this October. And willing into existence an aluminum antler chandelier (yikes!).
How did you get started in your business?
I studied sculpture in both undergraduate and graduate school, and during graduate school I worked very diligently to develop a skill base in foundry. After deciding not to pursue a teaching career, I moved to Portland, Oregon and began working as a mold-maker for a local production foundry. I started Cupolette this year.
Are you debuting anything new at the winter show?
Most likely there will be a few new designs…most of my fun is had figuring out new pieces.
Is this a full-time business for you?
Yes, absolutely. Full-time in every sense of the word.
Where do you see your business in 3 years?
Hopefully with a small, exclusive retail line and a healthy list of interesting custom production projects under my belt. I hope to begin working with Pacific NW designers and architects this year.
Who’s your biggest fan?
There are two, and I refer to them as Mom and Dad. Predictable perhaps, but still a wonderful thing.
What’s something you’ve learned through running your business in the past 12 months?Sometimes things are going to happen when they happen, regardless of the time schedule I included in my business plan!
What’s your favorite item that you sell?
I am very attached to my Tarantula Bottle Opener. It’s one of the first products I designed, and it’s a pretty good reflection of my personality (dark humor and a fondness for beer). I find that I usually get along with other people who like it.
What do your customers love most about your products?
They are unique and funny, and I am told they make good gifts. They also have some heft to them…it’s the steel.
What’s the best experience you’ve ever had with one of your customers?
This year I was “discovered” by a group of die-hard figural bottle opener collectors…it was wonderful to be appreciated so specifically! I knew my people were out there somewhere…