The Illuminati Of Akron
As a modern bachelor, few things in this world can be a centerpiece for your pad. The team at Whiskertin, a hand-crafted lighting company in Akron, enhances the feel of the room while drawing any visitor’s eyes to their fixtures. Nothing says “I’m a cool, adult man” like a lamp from Whiskertin.
Aaron Novak and Glenn Miller are two friends turned business partners. They are both the design and manufacturing branches of Whiskertin–just two guys with day jobs and a bit more than high school shop electrical expertise. The pair have giant beards and even bigger ideas about the art of lighting any space. The ex-roommates and longtime buddies are transforming what was a one-off garage project into functional, fashionable lights and a very intriguing brand.
Everything is moving fast for Whiskertin right now. The company is only four years old and Aaron and Glenn still work their respective daytime gigs. The irony is the very genesis of this company is weirdly rooted in after work hangs. Sometime in 2015 after a typical HVAC workday, Aaron had a strong need for a cold beer with his buddy Glenn. He also had a need for a cheap lamp, so the duo hit the garage and grabbed a drill. They punched holes in some scrap ductwork, put their basic wiring skills to work, and made their first light. After an Instagram post of the spoils, the frame of the brand had been wrought.
Still, Aaron and Glenn needed to be sure the product was cool enough to sell. If they were going to market, the lamps, the fixtures, the logo, and the overall vibe had to grab consumers’ attention and properly light their spaces. Therefore, every aspect of the business was designed with marketability in mind, from the grandness of the Whiskertin gonfalon, which is classically little more than a poster hung from a crossbar, and the old-school feel of Edison bulbs on skateboard decks. All the bones of the Whiskertin brand are marketing class 101 mixed with post-work beers and beard whiskers.
The company expanded in April 2018 into Akron’s version of Lakewood’s Screw Factory. The Saalfield Building is the home of “The Whisker Space.” The beautifully-lit showroom and workspace is warm, bright, and welcoming. Everything in the room emits a familiar glow. Local artists can display work there for sale. Aaron and Glenn are among the first artists to inhabit the building and set the standard for what’s possible in this burgeoning space. With a fantastic mural on the central pillar, a TV playing skate videos, and a rustic bar, the sales floor becomes a hang space after hours on occasion. This is ground zero for the Whiskertin stamp.
The effectiveness of Whiskertin’s mark is based on them creating a product that is undeniably cool and customizable. Even the merch is an attractive, mind-bending homage to some of the best metal tees of all time. The main logo is a moth with a light bulb bum–brilliant meme-level stuff. Some of the lights are best described as art first. Aaron and Glenn have found a way to fashion handmade fixtures into a rock ‘n’ roll band. They are lighting the room for effect and making moods possible.
Get down to Saalfield Square and see the Wiskertin showroom. Aaron and Glenn will be there. Don’t be afraid of their massive beards. They’ll explain how Glenn has always had the bigger better beard–Aaron is not bothered by it. These two friends have seen all sides of life together. Fun times, sad times, dark times–now the light days are here. Seriously, don’t miss out on this amazing art lighting by two guys in Akron. Ask them about the “Litany Spears” or the work they’ve done in local fine dining. These dudes took Whiskers and Tin, smashed them together and found a brand that’s handmade for the spotlight.
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James Earl Brassfield or simply JEB is a writer, podcast host, humorist, actor and “Black Hunter Thompson” type madman of no ill repute. Language has yet to evolve fully to describe his unique view of Northeast Ohio and the world. JEB produces work across all media with his original and clearly stated voice. @Jearlbrass