In this installment of Meet the Kalalou Family, we’re thrilled to feature Ian Hanson. Ian has been with Kalalou for 4 years as a product designer and less formally as a pun extraordinaire. Originally from Jackson but having graduated with a design degree from University of Wisconsin-Madison, Kalalou couldn’t be more happy he is back to calling Jackson, MS home. As a product designer, he directly works with manufacturers to design the products that we produce whether it be via e-mail or flying to one of the locations of our manufacturers all over the world. When he’s not busy designing our next big hit product, he can regularly be found planning an exciting event in the Fondren area of Jackson, MS or trying to convince his girlfriend to bake him some of her amazing pound cake that we always hope he’s kind enough to share.


Tell us about you and your role at Kalalou.
Product Designer, Product Development Manager, Undisputed Champion of the Showroom Vignette

How would you describe your Personal Style?
Rustic Minimalism informed by Wabi Sabi and notes of early Americana

What do you like to do in your free time?
Cook, sample fine bourbons, and hold it down at my art and music venue in Fondren, The Flamingo [Find us on Facebook]

What was your previous work experience before joining the Kalalou team?
I was the Senior Graphic Designer at an advertising agency

What special skills or traits do you feel you bring to the Kalalou Team?
I’m a pretty good designer with an eye for emerging trends and I think most people really appreciate my positivity, candor, and unassailable sunny disposition

What do you find most fulfilling about your job at Kalalou?
Watching a product go from pencils to samples to the catalog is very gratifying. So is the Crack Pie Soft Serve at Milk Bar in Vegas.

What are your favorite places to travel while working for Kalalou?
Honduras is a gorgeous place. I’m also partial to the many fine eateries and sneaker stores of Atlanta, Georgia.

What’s one of your favorite memories at Kalalou?
I work with so many amazing people, I’d like to think we make cherished memories nearly every day. But if I have to pick one, I’ll go with eating in a little open air café in Haiti called the Artists’ Corner with Doug, Susan and Bradley. The sounds of live music from the bar mingled with the scents of grilled seafood as we sipped red wine. And then we were served grilled lobster tails the size of a full grown house cat. It was the stuff of legend.



Being a product designer, what’s one of the products you designed that you are most proud of?
I’d have to say our galvanized serving tray wine toppers, although no less than two of coworkers tried to take credit for the idea.

Favorite Kalalou Product:
Hands down, the ceramic pig bowl – a modern classic. It is to pottery what the Eames shell chair is to furniture.



Favorite style inspiration blogs:
Remodelista, Gardenista, SF Girl by Bay






Special thanks from all of the Kalalou family, to Ian, for all your creativity, hard work, attention to detail,
and always helping to make Kalalou a great company for our employees and our customers alike.







The Life of A Kalalou Product


Have you ever been curious about the story behind a Kalalou product? If so, you're not alone. Our customers are always asking about our original designs and how we come up with them. With this blog series, we'll be shedding a little light on our creative process with step by step breakdowns of our product development.  It's a collaborative process where each member of the design team uses their specific talents to create some of our unique accessories. Join us as we take a peek inside the Kalalou think tank and catch a glimpse of how one of our original designs comes to life!


As with any creative process, inspiration is the first step. In this case, Ian, one of our full-time product developers decided to mock up a slight alteration to one of Kalalou's preexisting wall storage pieces, adding a metal shelf for mail.


Once the idea is there, then it's time for some visual brainstorming. Sometimes we'll go through several sketches and revisions of a design before we decide on the final look. In the sketches above, you can see a few different forms the design took on until Ian decided on the perfect form.


After the design is set, we scan in our drawing and color them in Photoshop so that our manufacturer can better visualize the product and its materials. It's at this point where dimensions and other specs are added. This is, of course, a key step. There's nothing worse than ending up with a 24 foot shelf when you ordered a 24 inch one!



Soon after that, there will be some communication with the manufacturer. Then, after a few tweaks to the design, they will send us a sample. This is the pass or fail moment for a product. Once we get to see the sample in person, our design team will discuss its merits and decide whether or not to include it in our next catalog.


Once the item is chosen to be in the line, our photography team takes over. We go through weeks of photography as we style and shoot each of our new introductions. It's at this moment that the product really takes on a life of its own!

Click here to shop the Metal and Recycled Wood Coat Rack with Organizer from the post!