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UC grad's senior design project wins first prize at housewares competition

Amanada Bolton, a recent graduate of the University of Cincinnati’s nationally No. 1 ranked industrial design program, tied for first place in a student design contest put on by the International Housewares Association (IHA). Bolton was awarded first place for her B-PAC Kitchenware, which was designed to aid the visually impaired.
The impetus for the design came from an evening when her grandmother, Barbara, who had lost her eyesight, went to brush her teeth and accidentally used Bengay instead of toothpaste.
“That was an aha moment,” says Bolton, who now works at Design Central in Columbus, Ohio. “Most of the visually impaired community doesn’t read braille. So I started thinking about the idea of inclusivity in industrial design.”
After that, Bolton began doing research and empathy training with the Cincinnati Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired, including a three day period spent blindfolded during her final term at the University of Cincinnati College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning.
“I realized there were a ton of issues,” Bolton says. “Precise measuring was difficult; safety was a big issue.”
In response, she created three products for her B-PAC line. A silicone collar or pot guard snaps onto a standard pot to prevent the blind from experiencing burns when checking on cooking food. When flipped down, the collar protects hands from hot surfaces. She also created a measuring cup that pops out buttons to indicate quantity as it is filled, food-storage container lids that feature embossed shapes indicating contents and date of storage.
“I learned from this project that it’s easy to impact people as a designer if your methodology is all about simplicity and tactile and intuitive cues,” Bolton says.
As a result of winning the IHA competition, Bolton was invited to present her designs and her findings to industry professionals in Chicago at the International Home + Housewares Show. She’s been able to secure patents on all three of her products and is in talks with manufacturers about developing a fully functional prototype, while still focusing on her career at Design Central.
“With B-PAC, the ultimate goal is to get it into the hands of people that can use it,” Bolton says. “However, even if the products don’t come on the open market, I’m getting interest from a lot of health groups that want to share these methods and open up a conversation about inclusive design. I’d love for my project to be the innovation spark for this idea.”

Food truck festival on Fountain Square grows, benefits local charity

Local nonprofit Josh Cares, an organization within Cincinnati Children’s Hospital designed to benefit hospitalized children who are alone or in need of support, will take over Fountain Square on June 18 for Food Truckin’ for Josh Cares: Presented by General Mills and Kroger.
The lunchtime event is set for 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will feature more than 10 diverse food trucks from around Cincinnati including Eli’s BBQ, Dojo Gelato, C’est Cheese, Red Sesame, Street Pops, Blue Ash Chili and more. Frank Marzulo of Fox 19 will emcee the event, which culminates with a “Golden Spatula Awards” contest, with best entree and best sweet treat chosen by a celebrity panel that includes Elizabeth Mariner, co-publisher and creative director for "Express Cincinnati;" Ilene Ross, chef and editor of 513Eats.com; and Jeremy Lieb, executive chef at Boca. Judging will be headed up by Warm 98 hosts Bob Goen and Marianne Curan, who will be broadcasting live from the event.
“If you look at just how many people have come together to build this event and make it successful, it’s truly a testament to our city as a whole,” says Tom Howard, member of the Josh Cares Young Professional Council. “We also couldn’t have made this happen without the support of Rockfish, who selected us to be the recipient of $50,000 of pro-bono digital marketing and branding services.”
The Josh Cares program began as a grassroots initiative within Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in 2005. Today, there are six Josh Cares Child Life Specialists at the hospital to ensure that no critically ill child endures a lengthy hospitalization alone, feeling afraid and abandoned. Food Truckin’ for Josh Cares has become the organization’s biggest public event and awareness builder.
“Last year, we raised $17,000; this year our goal is to more than double that,” says Joy Blang, executive director of Josh Cares. “The bottom line is that ,while it will be a great day celebrating the great food truck scene here, it’s really all about making these children a little happier.”

Want to learn more about Cincinnati street food? Check out "30 Must-Try Cincinnati Food Trucks."

Joe Thirty provides new format, opportunity for entrepreneurs to connect

In May, a new series of morning networking events called Joe Thirty kicked off on the 20th floor of the Cincinnati Enquirer building downtown. The series holds events every second Wednesday of the month at 8 a.m., and offers individual entrepreneurs/companies a chance to present to a group of their peers, make connections and receive feedback.
At each event, only one local entrepreneur is selected to speak. They are given six minutes to present and talk about any issues they are dealing with or help they may need. The remaining 24 minutes are reserved for community feedback (totaling 30 minutes for the entire event). The main organizers of the event are the Greater Cincinnati Venture Association (GCVA) and local startup and entrepreneurial partner Differential.
“GCVA and Differential have been getting together to think about how we could create a program that gathers together the startup community and gives one company at a time the chance to make a pitch to them, not for money, but for resources,” says GCVA volunteer Jake Hodesh. “Our goal is that hopefully by the end of that 30 minute event, that startup leaves with at least one, if not multiple, connections, whether they be to mentors, developers, beta testers or anything else.”
The next event will be held on Wednesday, June 11 and will feature Sue Reynolds of ArtifactTree. ArtifactTree is a tool that lets users log and track family heirlooms and other rare items in their possession. This tool is aimed to make it easy for families to share who has what, add notes, and even tap a network of specialists within ArtifactTree to have your possessions rated, commented on and appraised. 
“There’s still a very real need for startups to access mentors and connections in a general sense,” Hodesh says. “We held the first event, and we had a really good crowd, so it was pretty obvious that there are people who are still hungry to participate and to help.”
Since the first event, GCVA and Differential have received a flurry of inquires from various startups about presenting at Joe Thirty. Hodesh says they plan to roll out an application process to evaluate each company and determine whether or not Joe Thirty will be able to connect them with the resources they need.
“Cincinnati is a resource-rich environment for entrepreneurs right now,” Hodesh says. “The greatest opportunity is that there are so many opportunities. We’re just doing our part to connect people with them.” 

Xavier offers LaunchCincy entrepreneurship workshops in Spanish

Xavier University’s X-link program, a Williams College of Business initiative to support locally owned business creation in greater Cincinnati, has expanded its LaunchCincy entrepreneurship workshops to include a workshop for Spanish speakers called LaunchCincy Juntos.
Currently, LaunchCincy hosts free workshops in six neighborhoods including Madisonville and Price Hill in an effort to give new entrepreneurs the resources, guidance and network they need to start a business.
“The objective at a theoretical level is to help people active in the informal economy transition into the formal economy,” says Owen Raisch, founder of the X-link initiative at Xavier. “At a practical level, it’s about getting people with entrepreneurial interest to realize it and get started.”
The workshops take place in a four-part series, as they help participants take their businesses from idea to revenue. Partnering with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Transformations CDC, the new workshop is developing skills and ideas with 10 Spanish-speaking immigrants in Price Hill. To create the course, Xavier undergraduate students Gali Zummar, Laura Forero and Ronald Vieira translated the outline of the English workshop into Spanish.
“As a Jesuit university, it matches up with our mission to be reaching out to help communities that might not otherwise get the attention,” Raisch says. “The Hispanic population has disproportionately high rates of enterprise, and to create this program and have a chance for our students to be involved is really key.”
X-Link plans to expand its Spanish-speaking program into Carthage this fall, in partnership with the Catholic Charities of Southwestern Ohio and Su Casa Hispanic Ministries. They also plan to build the LaunchCincy curriculum into the university curriculum so that students will get course credit for designing and implementing the workshops through Xavier’s entrepreneurship program.

The next LaunchCincy workshop is Saturday, June 14, at Speckled Bird Cooperative in Norwood. Learn more and sign up for free. 

Ahalogy creates technology to optimize mobile browsing

Ahalogy, the leading Pinterest marketing optimization company, has unveiled its Ahalogy Mobile technology, which optimizes the in-app mobile browsing experience for users viewing content on their mobile devices.
Ahalogy, a Cincinnati startup and graduate of local accelerator the Brandery, uses SmartStacks, a proprietary technology that simplifies and enhances the user experience when the user is coming from a mobile app like Pinterest, Facebook or Twitter to a publisher page.
“Social networks are increasingly the place people turn to discover and read content, and increasingly this is through a mobile app,” says Michael Wohlschlaeger, co-founder and CEO of Ahalogy.
“Pinterest reports that 75 percent of its use is via mobile, and half of the mobile experience is clicking on content that then is displayed in the in-app browser,” Wohlschlaeger says. “But after clicking through, users are often unhappy with slow load times, non-optimized mobile design, and cluttered, hard to read content. As Pinterest’s largest publisher, we decided to fix this problem.”
SmartStacks is a technology that publishers, such as bloggers and content-focused websites, adopt that recognizes when a user is coming to the site from a mobile app and then optimizes that page’s copy and images with a card-based content experience.
“This not only improves the experience for the users, but it also allows brands to interact those users, which in turn helps publishers monetize their content,” Wohlschlaeger says. “We think of it as a win-win-win.”
Currently, Ahalogy partners with more than 1,000 online content publishers. Ahalogy Mobile will be available to them first via Pinterest and Facebook, then Twitter soon after.
“Now that we have this solution available, the rest of our year is about rolling it out across different technologies and platforms and expanding our publisher base,” Wohlschlaeger says. “Our goal with this really is to free up these publishers from the distractions of worrying about anything other than creating great content and engaging their audiences. We know they don’t love having to think about mobile optimization, so we created this solution so they don’t have to.”

FORCAM receives New Product Innovation Award for global plant software solution

FORCAM, a technology and consulting company based in downtown Cincinnati, received the 2014 Global Plant Software Solutions New Product Innovation Leadership Award, awarded by global market research from Frost & Sullivan.
FORCAM earned the award for its Factory Framework V5 product, which enables an improvement process at all production stages for factories and plants by connecting and analyzing real-time data from many varying machine controls resulting in transparent and reliable performance data.
“We have a unique software technology that can monitor factories in a global way,” says FORCAM COO Mohamed Abuali. “If your company has factories in different parts of the globe, our vision is for you to be able to look at the performance of every plant at one time via a single device, such as a cell phone or computer, and easily pick out relevant data on things like speed and quality.”
FORCAM is headquartered in Germany, but opened its Cincinnati office in 2012. Frost & Sullivan chose FORCAM for its award partly because the company exemplifies the concept of Industry 4.0.
“Industry 4.0 is a concept that acknowledges that we have entered a new (fourth) industrial revolution,” Abuali says. “The first revolution was around manufacturing, then assembly line, then automation. Industry 4.0 presents the idea of Cyber Physical Produciton Systems. It means that any device, any factory could be mirrored in the IT world.”
Currently, companies like BMW and Daimler, as well as others in the aerospace and medical technology fields, have adopted FORCAM’s Factory Framework solution. Looking to the future, Abuali hopes to build a client base in other industry sectors, as well as focus on smaller and midsize manufacturers.
“Our solution will be cloud-based by 2015, so small and midsize companies won’t have to buy servers that they can’t afford,” Abuali says.
The investment, research and development of Factory Framework was started in 2008, during the recession.
“We didn’t stop R&D during the financial crisis,” Abuali says. “We perfected the system in 2013, deployed it at four beta clients, and the system will be ready for U.S. release by the end of this year or early 2015.”

Xavier creates framework for student-run businesses

Xavier University’s Williams College of Business will launch a new Student Run Business Program in spring 2015. An informal idea session was held May 1, during which students formed groups and began brainstorming and presenting ideas, including a professional apparel store tailored to students, a food pick-up/ delivery service and a shuttle service.
A team of advisors will work closely with the students to help them craft a viable business plan and provide general coaching/mentoring. The advisors will select the best developed ideas this fall for program funding, and by the end of spring, Xavier’s program will include two to three businesses created entirely by student ideas, teamwork, planning and execution.
“Our focus at the college of business is on experiential learning,” says Brian Till, dean of the Williams College of Business. “I’ve studied similar programs at universities around that country, and in every case I’ve looked into, the students say that it is the single most valuable experience they had while at university.”
Currently, Student Run Business programs are in place at universities like Georgetown, Harvard, the University of Dayton and Loyola University. Besides supporting unique hands-on learning for students, these programs generate revenue that is often directed toward starting additional new businesses (seed capital) or toward student scholarships. After five years, the program is expected to include four to five student-run businesses generating a total of $100,000-300,000 in revenue each year.
“From our standpoint, the increase in entrepreneurial activity and better prepared students will benefit the region,” Till says. “The Cincinnati region has become very interested in supporting entrepreneurship, as well as attracting and retaining talent. This program not only addresses that, but it gives our students a leg up in the field.”
Several members of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Cincinnati have signed on to help develop the Student Run Business Program as advisors and mentors, including Xavier graduate and founder of Tixers Alex Burkhart and Mike Bott of the Brandery.  

Main Library stokes maker culture, offers free access to 3D printer

The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County just installed its first 3D printer in the TechCenter at the Main Library. The printer, which uses plastic filament to build objects layer by layer, can print just about any object that can be designed.
The printer is just one step in the public library’s efforts to give members access to current technology and develop the maker culture in the region.
“We’re planning to have maker spaces, along with 3D printers, at our new Reading and St. Bernard locations; this is a way for us to test the concept out,” says Maelynn Foster Hudson, marketing communications strategist for the library. “As a library, we’ve always been about more than just books—it’s about connecting people with a world of ideas and information.”
The printer is located on the second floor of the Main Library’s South building. TechCenter staff will be on hand to assist new and experienced users with their projects. In addition, there are several premade designs that can be downloaded and printed.
Websites such as Thingiverse provide design-ready objects for printing. Customers can simply save the custom or selected design on a flash drive, bring it to the Main Library and talk to a TechCenter staff member for assistance with printing it.
“Soon, we’ll also offer programming around the use of the 3D printer, such as how to create and patent designs,” Foster Hudson says. “We want people to come in with ideas and we’ll help them to materialize them. That’s why we offer things like computers at all of our branches; it’s about growth, innovation and meeting our customers’ needs.”

SIMEngage to bring national experts in social media and marketing to Memorial Hall

Boot Camp Digital, a local social media and Internet marketing company, has teamed with InfoTrust and BrandHub to put on SIMEngage, a full day event featuring some of the nation’s leading experts in the field. The event will take place May 15 at Memorial Hall in Over-the-Rhine.
The event is expected to attract more than 300 of the Cincinnati area’s marketing professionals, including those from big brands, advertising agencies and small businesses, and will provide attendees with information on social media and internet marketing, as well as an opportunity to network.
“For marketers, this is a fabulous opportunity to learn about the most relevant and important topics in social media marketing,” says Boot Camp Digital CEO Krista Neher. “This event will cover the most important topics and trends impacting social media marketing today.”
The event will feature speakers from companies such as Google, Hubspot, CafePress and more, who will be focusing on five key themes: Creating and Leveraging Killer Content; The Intersection of Search + Social; Generating Publicity through Social Media; Analytics and Future Trends; and Connecting Paid, Earned and Owned.
“I speak over 100 times a year, and the reason that I created this event was because I wanted to connect the best, brightest and most interesting speakers in the field with our local community,” Neher says. “I invited the speakers that most inspire me to speak at this event, all of whom are experts in their field, and most of them are bestselling authors. Every time I hear these people I learn something new.”
Neher also notes that, compared to previous marketing conferences like D2, SIMEngage is more narrowly focused on social media and internet marketing.
“These are the areas that impact marketers most,” Neher says. “Our speakers aren’t the big name executives at big companies who set strategies—they are the actual doers. They are actually implementing online marketing every day. That is what makes this event unique.”
Neher hopes that by bringing an event of this caliber to Cincinnati, it will not only engage the community to stay ahead of the curve, but also demonstrate to the speakers from out of town that Cincinnati is indeed a world-class hub of innovation, branding and marketing.

OTRimprov announces Cincinnati's first national improv festival

OTRimprov, the improvisational comedy troupe based out of Over-the-Rhine’s Know Theatre, announced last week that in the fall it will put on Cincinnati’s first national improve festival, IF Cincy, September 12-13, 2014.
The festival will take place at the Know Theatre and, in addition to shining a light on the improvisational talent here in Cincinnati, it will bring in some of the best talent nationwide from cities like Chicago, New York, Detroit and Louisville, with more acts still to be announced.
"We're excited to share the national acts OTRimprov is bringing in," says Tara Pettit, a cast member of OTRimprov and IF Cincy executive producer. "Between those groups, the local troupes doing great work, and Cincinnati natives who have been performing in other cities who are returning for the festival, it will be two nights of really amazing improv.”
The IF Cincy festival will take place around the four-year anniversary of the OTRimprov troupe, who joined together as a group of likeminded performers looking for more opportunities to create a scene around improv performance, similar to the culture that has been created by institutions like IO (formerly ImprovOlympic ) and Second City.
“We’ve been able to build up a regular schedule of shows, do some private performances and even some company training sessions,” says Kat Smith, OTRimprov co-director. “But what we really want to do is build an audience and a community that are excited about improv in Cincinnati. We want to make improv more visible in this city and do everything we can to support other troupes locally.”
Currently, the festival is pushing its Indiegogo campaign, where supporters can donate to help make the festival happen and receive exclusive benefits and rewards in return. Additionally, OTRimprov has been leveraging existing partnerships to create IF Cincy.
OTRimprov brought on local actor Kevin Crowley, who studied and performed improv in Chicago for years, often with Second City. After returning to Cincinnati, Crowley has continued teaching and performing improv. He recently opened a training and innovation company, Inspiration Corporation, that teaches the methods of improv to corporations and individuals.
The other key partner is the Jackson Street Market, a resource-sharing program run by the Know Theatre.
"The Jackson Street Market and Know Theatre have been there since the beginning,” Smith says. “Their impact on our troupe overall has been immeasurable. We wouldn't be planning the festival, or performing as a troupe, without their support."

UC offers new accelerated program combining IT and health care

Announced last month and beginning in the fall of 2014, the University of Cincinnati will debut an innovative, accelerated program that combines a bachelor of science in Information Technology, a master’s of science in Health Informatics and five semesters of co-op experience in just five years.
In addition to allowing students a quicker, cheaper and more efficient route to graduating at the master’s level, the program also seeks to address specific workforce needs in health care and prepare students to contribute immediately upon graduation.
“Health care is transforming before our eyes, and part of what we’re hoping is that we can train more individuals that understand technical and health aspects of the industry at an advanced level,” says Victoria Wangia, associate professor of analytical and diagnostic sciences in UC’s College of Allied Health Sciences and program director of the new health/IT master’s.
The new program represents an interdisciplinary partnership between UC’s College of Allied Health Sciences, which houses the master’s degree, and the College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services, which houses bachelor’s degree in IT.
“We make it a priority to understand what the market needs in terms of workforce,” Wangia says. “We need more IT practitioners who really understand health care, not only locally, but nationally. So we thought about ways we could form relationships with existing programs and work collaboratively to address what’s going on in the workforce.”
Students will develop expertise in one of three Information Technology tracks: Networking/Systems, Software Application Development or Cybersecurity. In the program’s third year, students will take master’s level classes that introduce the health care landscape, including health care data, laws and analytics. Students will ultimately gain the tools and skills necessary to integrate advanced digital technologies into the field of health care and use electronic data to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of health care delivery.
“The accelerated program really takes IT students to another level,” says Hazem Said, head of the School of Information Technology. “This program provides students with the unique set of skills required for this very specialized, well-paying industry.”

Entrepreneurs' Organization launches Accelerator program locally to help budding business owners

The Entrepreneurs’ Organziation (EO), a global business network of 9,500+ business owners in 131 chapters and 40 countries, has launched a program called Accelerator with its Cincinnati chapter. The Accelerator program aims to aid small business owners and founders looking to grow their businesses.
Locally, EO has a membership of 51 business owners representing 1,000 employees and $300 million in annual revenue. To become a member of EO, you must be a founder or owner of a business that generates more than $1 million in annual revenue. The Accelerator program reaches out to younger/less developed business, requiring businesses to generate between $250,000 and $1 million in annual revenue.
“We’re hoping to reach out to young entrepreneurs, offer educational content and tools for them and really share experiences, not just give advice,” says Dave Ebbesmeyer, communications director for the Cincinnati chapter of EO. “We’re not a networking group, we’re not a chamber. It’s more of a support system of business owners. We’re all very passionate about our region and seeing it grow.”
The education content of the Accelerator program focuses on four key areas: strategy, people, money, and sales and marketing. Insights are distilled from different EO members from around the world, gathering information from entrepreneurs in Canada, India, the U.S. and more.
“One of the most important things I do as a business owner is interact with other business owners,” Ebbesmeyer says. “EO has events that are locally, regionally, nationally and internationally focused that bring in anyone from Steve Wozniak (Apple co-founder) to Mark Cuban.”
Locally, EO has begun working with organizations like the Greater Cincinnati Venture Association (GCVA) to plug into the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Cincinnati and offer mentoring services.
“EO has been largely a referral based group thus far, but working with GCVA has been great to become more involved with the startup community in Cincinnati,” Ebbesmeyer says.  
A maximum of 30 participants will be allowed to participate in the Accelerator program; applications are open online now.

iMAGiNExpo seeks to open doors for entrepreneurs, creatives, inventors

On Saturday, May 17, the Covington branch of the Kenton County Library will host iMAGiNExpo, a free event that spotlights and supports creativity and innovation. iMAGiNExpo is a new collaboration between the NKU Steely Library’s Intellectual Property Awareness Center (IPAC), Public Library of Cincinnati & Hamilton County, and Kenton County Public Library.
The event, which runs from 1-4 p.m., is intended to give an overview on what it takes to work in a creative field, covering topics like intellectual property rights and basics of business.
“We want to bring together some of the most creative and curious minds, young and old, to mingle with entrepreneurs and inventors,” says John Schlipp, associate professor at NKU and librarian at the IPAC. “It is part of our charge as a designated patent resource center to work with the community.”
The iMAGiNExpo will also feature a creativity and innovation panel with representatives from the Inventor’s Council of Cincinnati, the Better Business Bureau, NKU’s Virtual Business Center and more.
“We want people to be aware of the vast amount of resources we have to offer, most of which are free,” Schlipp says. “This event will show people some of that, but it will also show off how we are growing innovation in the region here.”
In addition to the panel, there will be a student creativity exhibit showcasing regional high school students’ digital media presentations. Submissions are based on the students' project-based research, and awards will be given out for the best projects.
The program’s partners aim to make iMAGiNExpo an annual event, rotating between Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky each year.
“Small business is important. We’re seeing a lot of growth in Cincinnati and areas of Covington, like the eZone,” Schlipp says. “But we think there is still a huge opportunity to spur the growth of people creating new things here and filing for more patents. We want to educate our community on how they can be part of that.”

By Mike Sarason

Converted West End space becomes new model for fitness: Foundation Fitness

Speak with Patrick Hitches for one minute and you’ll understand that you are talking to a man with vision. Hitches, a Cincinnati native currently splitting time between Cincinnati and Washington, D.C., is a consummate entrepreneur and owner of the newly opened Foundation Fitness located in a converted West End warehouse space.
In addition to being an entrepreneur, Hitches has long been a fitness enthusiast (to put it lightly).
“Fitness has been in my veins since about 6th grade,” says Hitches. “It’s one thing that’s always stuck with me, it’s been my safe haven.”
After earning a degree in nutrition science, Hitches became a personal trainer for many years, working in several locations such as Raleigh, N.C., and Washington, D.C. As time went on, though, he began to hear more and more good things about his hometown.
“I’ve got a great setup in D.C., but hearing about the shift going on in Cincinnati really inspired me to go back to my roots and be a part of what’s happening here,” Hitches says.
About a year ago, he began exploring the option of finding a space for a gym in Cincinnati.
“Within 10 minutes of looking online, I found a warehouse space that caught my attention,” Hitches says. “That week, I flew out to take a look at it, and six months later Foundation Fitness had its soft opening.”
Foundation Fitness is not your average gym, nor is it trying to be. Hitches feels strongly that most chain gyms are set up on a sales model that benefits more from members not coming to the gym and has only a bottom line in mind, rather than members' actual health goals.
“What gyms really should be is a place where you’re able to execute your fitness training, have access to knowledge that can get you to the point you want to be at, find that perfect blend where body, spirit and mind all collide and create the best possible version of you,” Hitches says.
To that end, Hitches has set up his gym on an invitation/recommendation basis only, preferring to bootstrap his business, grow slowly and bring in only people who are serious about their fitness goals.
“My opinion is that the industry shift should be towards small pockets of little communities, training together,” Hitches says. “That’s what we’re building at Foundation Fitness. 

By Mike Sarason

Such and Such celebrates three years of design and fabrication, grows with new facility

Such and Such founders Zach Darmanian-Harris and Alex Aeschbury have quite a bit to be proud of. This month, their Over-the-Rhine-based design and fabrication studio celebrates three years in business, six months in its new 10,000-square-foot shop and a partnership with local PR/design firm PB+J that has helped grow the business considerably. Still, the founders have their sites set even higher for the rest of 2014 and into the future.
Darmanian-Harries and Aeschbury, both graduates of the University of Cincinnati’s Industrial Design program at DAAP, decided to join forces while both working on their senior thesis using rapid prototyping technology to create custom products.
“After we graduated, it took us about a year to figure out how to get the funding we needed to get started,” says Darmanian-Harris. “Meeting Chris Heckman (of Losantiville Design Collective) really helped us get going.”
After meeting Heckman, Such and Such moved into Losantiville’s Main Street shop for two and a half years. But as Such and Such’s production needs increased, they began to look for alternatives.
“Once we needed to grow, it just wasn’t right for us anymore at Losantiville,” Aeshbury says. “We didn’t want to monopolize their space, but we needed more equipment and employees.”
So near the end of 2013, Such and Such moved its fabrication shop to a warehouse space located on the border of OTR and the West End owned by Carl Solway, whose Carl Solway Art Gallery is right next door.
“Carl initially came to us with a project for New York artist Peter Halley,” Darmanian-Harris says. “That ended up leading to us getting this huge workspace, which has been great.”
Such and Such has spent the last few months getting the new space running, hiring two new employees and further deepening its relationship with PB+J. While Aeschbury spends most of his time at the shop, Darmanian-Harris works primarily out of PB+J’s Main Street office, interfacing with clients and overseeing the business side.
“We just work really well together,” Aeschbury says of the relationship with PB+J. “Together, we have the ability to holistically design PR campaigns and/or brand identities, bring them into a physical space and give customers something super competitively priced.”
After working on projects for the Contemporary Arts Center, Procter & Gamble, Miami University and more, in 2014 Such and Such will launch its own line of furniture in addition to its client work. 

By Mike Sarason
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