Chris Holden and Tim Higgins set up Ajoto in 2011. It is a brand that embodies minimalism and perfection in every aspect of its offer - pens, pouches and wallets. We couldn't resist wanting to know more. Interview by Neil O'Keeffe.
What led you on this journey?
We both studied Industrial Design together at Northumbria University, completing placements in Hong Kong and London. After graduating in 2009 we both moved down to London and worked as design consultants. We always had a lot of respect for each other’s creative process so we decided to combine our skills and form AJOTO.
You have thoroughly explored the design process with every component of the brand. How long did the process take from concept to final product?
AJOTO was founded in the Spring of 2011 and we’ve been designing and refining The Pen since then. We aren’t interested in taking shortcuts and work directly with 14 separate manufacturers in the UK and Portugal to produce each pen.
You showed at the London Collections: Men in January. How was it?
London Collections was an incredible experience, it was our first show as AJOTO and also our introduction to the world of fashion. The response has been phenomenal and we are in the process of speaking to buyers from across the world. Fashion is very much about storytelling which is something we’re passionate about as a brand. We really want people to immerse themselves in the story of AJOTO, so LC:M was the perfect platform to introduce the company.
AJOTO creates pens, pouches and wallets. Are you planning to expand on the brand?
We started AJOTO to create the perfect tool set for your journey, essentially a collection of elegant and practical items each with a unique story. We’ve got a lots of ideas so it’s the old cliché of ‘watch this space’.
Which retailers would you like to see the brand stocked with?
When it comes to retailers we look for stores that have the ability to tell our story, and stock items with similar values and provence to our own. It’s really important to us that people get a real sense of the experience our products provide. At this point we are primarily an online business, we'd like to see AJOTO stocked in selected high street stores and boutiques so that people can touch and feel our products.
What fires your imagination?
There’s nothing more inspiring than talking to people who are doing something they are passionate about. Whether it’s a manufacturer or a stranger on the street, it’s generally through conversations that we start to bounce ideas around. You have to talk about what you’re doing and exchange ideas, it breathes life into great thoughts that may have lay dormant had they not been vocalised.