Reinventing the Desk
Artifox elevates the simple structure to new design heights.
ARTIFOX BEGAN WITH THE INTENTION of modernizing the most important workplace fixture: the desk. Based out of the T-REx offices Downtown, the company crafts desks locally but has recently expanded its success nationally and internationally. Co-founded by CEO Sarah Carpenter, 28, and CCO Dan Mirth, 29, “Artifox is bringing a fresh design to the way we work,” Carpenter says.
THE START [Carpenter] We came up with the Artifox desk in fall 2012. Dan’s early agency experience of jumping from home/work offices to various client locations spawned the idea of a multi-functional, tech-friendly desk. [Mirth] With the help of Sarah, co-founder and architect, the designs took shape and Artifox was born.
THE ROLES [Carpenter] Dan is chief creative officer of Artifox. His experience in engineering, industrial design, web development, video production and package design meld together perfectly. My background in architecture gave rise to a relentless passion for design-focused business development. The excitement of taking an idea and turning it into reality pushed me over the edge into entrepreneurship.
THE CATALYST [Carpenter] I found an online competition calling for innovative home and office goods. We had one week to turn the early prototypes into the first piece ready to face the world. That week, our hobby grew into a real brand…produced after normal work hours and submitted moments before the deadline. Within two weeks, we were announced as a finalist, receiving amazing interest and purchase requests from around the world. We knew we had something that resonated with people and that we had to pursue it.
THE DESIGN [Mirth] Our desk is a testament to the detail we seek and the quality we desire, providing a glimpse into our innovation blueprint for future products. The new mobile lifestyle will need complementary products to bridge the gaps that aged designs cannot. Artifox’s design process is built around this idea: The surfaces are writable and erasable; cables are managed out of sight, while tech devices such as tablets and cellular phones dock seamlessly within the desk surface. Regardless of lifestyle, anyone can use them—they complement every space.
THE LAUNCH [Carpenter] With the initial flurry of interest, we were painfully aware that our customers were out there hoping to buy, and that we just didn’t have the inventory to support demand. [We] launched Artifox with no outside financial support. It took about 18 months to quit my day job, track down manufacturing, fine-tune packaging and negotiate shipping, as well as build the Artifox brand. We officially launched Desk 01 for presales in April 2014, and in May, we were awarded a $50,000 Arch Grant, giving us a huge boost.
LOCAL CRAFTSMANSHIP [Mirth] The desks are made right here in Missouri and many are made from locally harvested Missouri walnut. We’re thrilled to work with local craftsmen and support American-made.
ON STAYING IN STL [Carpenter] We very seriously considered heading to the West Coast to launch Artifox. It wasn’t until we were introduced to the growth of the St. Louis startup community that we realized the great opportunities that exist here. Winning an Arch Grant definitely helped seal the deal.
THE TEAM [Carpenter] We would be remiss without giving a shout-out to our amazing team members, Patrick Kohm and Matt Carpenter. They’ve helped propel the Artifox brand in so many ways we’ve lost track. A brand is only as strong as the team behind it.
Artifox team members Matt Carpenter, Dan Mirth and Sarah Carpenter
Photo credit: Attilio DAgostino