In the second installment of our Phase Chronograph Campaign, A Moment Marked, we visit with Adam Littke of Workclub and SET & CO. After spending a lot of time working and living in LA, Adam and his wife, Jennifer, uprooted to Dallas and opened SET & CO, a retail space that provides items for the kitchen, home, table, and pantry as well as creative services.
We stopped by SET & CO in the historic neighborhood of Oak Cliff, where Adam shared his journey, the selection process for new products, what’s in the future for him, and how he defines success.
What does an average day look like for you?
Adam: An average day for me, at the moment, is a very early wake up. We just had a baby so I am up usually at 6 in the morning. I tend to some family stuff for a couple hours and then head out. Typically the first thing I do for work is check my email. I probably have 40 or 50 emails every morning that have come in for various things like for the shop, but also from my other focuses which are commercial directing, and music supervision. I try to do a digital morning the first couple of hours where I just answer questions, and try to get that email list down a bit.
Lately I haven’t been in the shop as much, but at some point I do get in the store, check inventory, make sure things are set the way they should be and look the way they should be. I check in with the staff and make sure they are up and running. I try to set up the second half of my day as being a more creative outlet. So it’s finding new products, sourcing things like that. I do a lot of research, trying to look at different things to bring into the shop like new products, new vendors, and exciting things that Dallas doesn’t really have yet or maybe we are trying to lead the way in finding product that way.
Tell us about your journey, the beginnings of your career. How has that changed shape over the years?
Adam: The journey for me and the shop has been over about a course of a decade. My wife and I, for our prospective businesses, travelled a lot and while we were travelling we would find different places and be inspired by different shops and start collecting these ideas of how we would actually open a retail shop. At this point it wasn’t even a reality, it was more of a what if type thing.
So in the last few years we have been able to not only pull together both of our creative visions and put it into one working unit, but to grow the company with new products and new opportunities, and also tie that into our other careers as well. Jennifer is able to get work as a designer that way. I am able to work on commercials and get clients that way. I think the shop growth of just being fresh and bringing in new things, but also just being a cultural spot has been able to grow our careers in other directions.
What is your selection process like? Do you have any standard set of principles when seeking new designers/makers and items for the shop?
Adam: When looking for new vendors, artists, makers, and objects our touch stone in the shop is first and foremost do we have a personal connection to it, do we like this product, would we use this product at home or in our lives. So if we have something at home that we need, and that we are in search of we will actually search for it first for the shop, for our clients and then retroactively use it ourselves.
Our touch stone in the shop is first and foremost do we have a personal connection to it, would we use this product at home or in our lives.
Impacting people in a small, meaningful way is what success is to us.
Do you find that your creative style for film translates into the aesthetic of the shop? What are the similarities/differences?
Adam: I think that my film aesthetic does translate to the shop because the way I approach film it is very simplistic, straightforward and head on. I think when finding products for here, and also just the design and layout of the shop i want to say it feels like a curated set or art designed in a way. I think the way I approach the selection here for products is to just be simplistic, classic forms and pieces that tie into what I do as a filmmaker. But also the way I approach our Instagram account, or the way that we market here is is very much in line with how I work as a director.
You spent a lot of time working and living In LA, what could say about the benefits of moving to Dallas and starting a new business?
Adam: We were in LA for 10 years and I felt that we had gained a lot of knowledge, and good worldview of being there through our careers and seeing a lot of things and meeting a lot of wonderful people. When we decided to move to Dallas we definitely wanted a different pace of life. To slow down, to gather our thoughts, and put all of our focus into one venture together. With the store I feel like we were able to focus on Dallas and have something that was unique at the time and still is of being a store that gathers objects from all over the world so people can be in Dallas but see the world through our store.
What’s in the future?
Adam: The future for us at the moment is continuing to grow the business with this particular location, but to focus on the design and studio side of the company. My wife is an interior designer and she has several projects that work under the umbrella of SET & CO. I have music supervision jobs that also fall into that category as well. Right now we are just trying to streamline the business in that department as more of a design studio that focuses on larger projects like hospitality, retail projects, as well as our own focus here in the shop.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your career?
Adam: The most rewarding aspect of my career are the people and relationships I have made along the way. I feel that working in film everything is so much apart of just being online and not physical. Looking back at my career and seeing the relationships built while making wonderful projects is the best part of that. I think that stands true for the shop as well. It’s the people that come through the door, the people that we meet, the relationships that we’ve made here as a store and as shopkeepers has been the best aspect.
What does success mean to you?
Adam: Success to me is happiness. It’s knowing that what we have done has made people happy, has made them feel welcomed and when they leave the store they have an object that they can live with for the rest of their lives. Impacting people in a small, meaningful way is what success is to us.
Photos, Video and Music | Kalan Briggs