L.A. Artist Creates "BROllow" Dec Pillow Line for Men
Cecile Corral -- Home Textiles Today, May 9, 2012
“Meet the Boys” is how Toban Nichols, the designer of these masculine-minded decorative pillows, introduces his BRO-llow collection for Man Caves and other male-oriented dwellings.
Print and video artist Toban Nichols, based here, has developed what he says is an appropriate interior décor piece for men's spaces - or anyone who prefers a more masculine look - with his new BROllow decorative pillow.
It was about two years ago that Nichols came up with the idea for the BROllow, he explained to HTT.
"Since I am not really from that [home furnishings] world, I didn't know what to do. So it all ended up being a little unorthodox," he said.
"I start out with photos I've taken, and through a sort of complicated process with the computer, I cause the computer to error while it is processing the image, and the result is a mashed up image," he said. "It's like if you took a can and stepped on it, or crumpled a newspaper page. And that is the overall design I use."
Nichols said that he has been making these types of prints and artwork for many years - "photos based on bright colors," he specified.
But he has "always had great love for interior design, and I have been looking for a way to include it in my work."
Part of what prompted him to venture into the uncharted world of home décor was that "out in marketplace, I had not seen anything this angular or masculine, so I thought my designs might make interesting pillows."
Nichols made his first prototype in 2008.
"But I couldn't really wrap my head around it at the time," Nichols said. "I liked it and thought it looked really cool, but didn't know how to make it in a viable product. I don't think that way. I think more in the artistic way."
Realizing he lacked industry know-how, Nichols went to work on his approach, experimenting "a little more" on his designs and researching "how to make a pillow, as opposed to how to make printed work, which I already know. I did my due diligence [on pillows]."
He wanted to know how to produce, market, and sell a decorative pillow. So he created a six-design line and began showing them to some players in the industry.
Then last fall, he came into contact with Joseph Abbati, owner of DQtrs (aka Design Quarters), a San Francisco-based home décor producer, wholesaler and online retailer.
"His work looked interesting, and he seemed very interested in putting together this pillow collection, so I made some samples and he then got involved in doing some fo the marketing," Abbati told HTT.
This February, the first BROllow collection debuted on http://dqtrs.com/DQtrs/DQtrs.html, which also works with other artists and designers to create unique decorative pillows, throws and wall hangings for high-end home décor.
"I like the BROllow line because I like the concept of marketing to men or for masculine [tastes]," Abbati said. "There isn't a lot out there marketed for men's home décor in the marketplace. It's a segment that I think is often forgotten."
Abbati said he refrains from targeting "only men" with BROllow. But, he added, "It's a good way of speaking to a market that really isn't usually spoken to. I think that a lot of the design out there, we just naturally think that, especially if it's for a straight married couple, the wife will take care of the décor in the home. But there are a lot of men who like to get involved with buying things for their man caves or homes or whatever you want to call it. So BROllow is addressing that and giving men an option that speaks to them."
DQrts retails BROllow pillows for $135 each. Abbati said he produces some limited-edition collections, and makes 250 of each design by Nichols.
Now, Nichols wants to expand the line to include some more mass market looks that can retail at major discount department and mid-tier department stores.
To help him get that effort started, he has launched a crowd funding campaign on Kickstarter.com. He is also exploring licensing opportunities for his designs to the home textiles supplier community.
"What I want mainly is to get my BROllow pillows in front of people," Nichols said. "I want to show them to everyone."
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