Workspace 101: Where Bold Dots CEO Akshar Patel Designs His Sunglasses
Cary Grant and iconic buildings inspire his designs, but it all comes together in his office
This Is Workspace 101, a series in which InsideHook goes into the studios, offices, garages and laboratories of the most creative people we know to understand just how much the space in which they work impacts the work itself.
For this installment we visit Akshar Patel. He’s the kind of guy who likes the classics: old New York City architecture, Italian films, Cary Grant. It’s those classics that help guide him and his sunglasses brand he launched this past spring, Bold Dots.
And while old movies and iconic builds might inspire his designs, his office is a place where those ideas start to truly come together. To get a sense of how he gets his work done, Patel showed us his two desks, and talked to us about starting a company in the middle of a pandemic and not feeling overwhelmed in these very overwhelming times.
InsideHook: What are the different functions of the two desks you have? One is glass and the other is wood. Do they have different purposes?
Akshar Patel: The wooden desk sits in my office space/distribution center and the glass desk is in my home office. Since I launched the brand amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, I needed to adjust my style of work very quickly. Initially, I did all my work from my home desk and the desk looked really messy. I really embraced working from home but realized the space wasn’t large enough to manage all of my work so I needed to expand the space. As I was able to transition to a small office space, I moved my distribution center and design process to this office. In its current stage, the glass desk allows me to casually work from home and research new materials, style reviews or just review cool complementary products. The two spaces are about a ten-minute drive away from each other.
Where did you get those desks?
The wooden desk came with my office and it is perfect for me. I needed the expanded space and it has done wonders for me to have some extra space especially as we are designing many more frames! I’ve had the glass desk for years, so I have grown a comfortable love for it.
The idea of the third desk that we haven’t discussed yet is also one the most important: the outdoors. I walk a lot outside just to get a fresh breath of air and more so to do “product testing.” There isn’t a better place to test out some of our newest vibrant lenses and designs than the outdoors! Every two hours, I can be found outside testing out the frames and making sure they work as well as they feel.
Your glass desk seems very intentionally decorated — how did you choose the items on it? Do they have any specific personal meaning?
I keep the speaker for music because I prefer not to use headphones when I am at home. I try to keep it less of an office and more like home as much as I can. Every item on the top of my desk was a gift from family or friends. Also, I love tequila, so on the corner of my desk sits a tequila bottle stopper that was created for the David Yurman x Patrón collaboration.
The only work I really keep at home now are new lens colors or early stage samples of new eyewear I am testing out. I love bringing the first run samples around with me and testing them out as much as I can. This is also a great way to allow my friends and family to try the frames out before release.
If you could make any change or addition to your workspaces, what would it be?
I would love more exposed light in the future. As we grow and potentially expand to another space, this is my top priority. Additionally, even longer tables would be better.
What do you think makes something a good workspace?
A great workspace is one where it doesn’t feel like you are working. If I had purchase statements and design papers all over my desk, it would feel like a mundane workspace for me and that is something I would never want for anyone. I keep my desk clean of all of this to keep a clear mind and enjoy every moment of what I am doing.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I like to start my day as early as I can, typically ready for my day by 7:30 a.m. After a little morning run, I like to go straight to my office where I have breakfast and start my workday off. By 10 a.m. I conclude my morning meetings with suppliers overseas and head down to my uncle’s shop to see what he has been working on. I’m back up to my office at 10:30 where I begin that day’s tasks: design, marketing, strategy, etc. I typically will finish my day around 7 p.m. where I may go home early, visit my parents at their restaurant or go outside and get some exercise.
My days are truly sporadic, but the first hour of my day will fully determine the rest. I love sticking to my schedule as much as I can but every now and then I’ll be spontaneous and do something totally off the book.
How has COVID-19 changed your work and the rhythm of your workday?
Soft launching the business on March 15 was probably the most challenging yet exciting thing to ever happen. While it has been a challenging few months for any business, especially new ones, we have just been able to adapt to any and all challenges thrown our way. My typical workday was initially shifted to being stuck indoors initially but has now really evolved for the new age. I feel as invigorated as ever to get out there safely and create some awesome frames.
Where do you find inspiration? You mention you draw from modern and contemporary architecture, your Indian heritage and your global travels, but what aspects in particular?
The first collection was heavily influenced by modern architecture for sure. The new collections, coming very soon, have been driven by my passion for modern art and film. This will particularly be seen in the acetate and lens combos on some of the newer frames. The shapes are nontraditional in eyewear and are drawn based on adaptations of cool frames I have seen in TV and film.
Is this where you do most of your work or do you also go into an office space and work with other people?
I do most of my work from my office/distribution center. A lot of my work is now done digitally as I have teammates and suppliers around the world.
Your workspace seems very plain and organized — is keeping your space uncluttered and clean an important part of getting into the right mindset to work?
One hundred percent. Growing up, my mother taught my sister and I that one’s workspace should contain that which inspires and is relevant to your work. I never eat at my desk, there will never be excess paper that isn’t pertinent or anything to do with frames. When I come to my desk or design table, I want to make sure my focus is solely on Bold Dots.
What do you like most about your office?
I love that I can do all my work out of that space and not feel overwhelmed. Also, I am really good friends with the neighbor in my office, and my uncle’s retail shop is on the ground floor, so there are always people around to talk to.
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