RECLAMATION ART + FURNITURE is a boutique design studio located in Northern California. It was founded in 2011 by Steven Tiller, an artisan furniture maker, product designer and craftsmen.
THE BIKE VALET is a product within the RAF label, designed to fill a unique cycle storage need. The goal is to produce an elegant design combining both form and function. Integrating the bicycle cradle along with the bag and helmet hooks into an abstract form, providing the user with an pleasing mix of both art and utility. Although a simple pair of rubber hooks may suffice, we feel that there are a great deal of us that wouldn't hang utility hooks from the hardware store in the first room of our homes. We want to provide these individuals with a graceful option, something less utilitarian.
In the beginning The Bike Valet was made in small powder coated steel batches, cut and bent by hand in my tiny studio. In early 2012 we raised funding through a successful KICKSTARTER campaign for our first production run of 100 units. You can learn more about the journey and challenges of a first time manufacturer in this podcast INTERVIEW with lifestyle blogger Jennifer Snyder, host of Creating Your Own Path.
In 2013, after a number of vender challenges and set backs, we stepped away from The Bike Valet. We took some time to focus on a re-design utilizing new materials and finishing techniques similar to climbing gear. We added new features such as locking security through-hole and stackable adhesive pads not present in the original design. We also simplified the color palette to black and clear anodizing over aluminum to reduce some of the past manufacturing hurdles in the previous powder coating process.
Re-launched in May of 2014, we started excepting pre-order requests (without payment) for the new Bike Valet here on www.thebikevalet.co through what we call: "group effort manufacturing".
Let us explain:
This is not your normal manufacturing process. Since RAF is a tiny studio with limited resources it was necessary to know that we could match the minimum required manufacturing volume with our customers. Financially it wasn't possible to output a large sum to cover the manufactures minimum order quantity and then hope to sell enough of The Bike Valet's to recover the out-of-pocket on our investment. Because the timeline between the acceptance of the the order request and the date of manufacturing was undetermined, we created a platform were we could accept the order request and not collect payment information until we could comfortably begin the task of manufacturing the new Bike Valet's. This "group effort" and commitment from our customer, along with some patience, has made it possible to produce a product in an unconventional way. At the end of July 2014 we have built enough of a customer base to begin accepting payment and start the process of making The Bike Valet. It is now being manufactured here in California at a facility in the North Bay Area.
We are excited to be looking and moving forward!