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Mile Nine Mercantile

American Made Since 2012

Deja Engel & Jake Soder

Austin, Texas
We design and craft high-quality products for home, garden, and more inspired by design, travel, and enthusiasm for an adventurous life.

Tell us about your business.

Mile Nine is the creative collaborative of Jake and Deja, inspired by wanderlust, simple living, craftsmanship and design. Jake and Deja quit their corporate jobs and hit the road in October 2012 embarking on a 2 month roadtrip from Seattle to Austin. Mile Nine was formed along the way. See handstandstoaustin.com. Jake has a background working in tech as a product manager, but he is not afraid to get his hands dirty and consistently innovates new ways to build things by intermixing materials and methods, bringing to life anything they can dream up. Deja has a background as a software ux designer and graphic designer. She is passionate about design… especially the ease of use and experience of design. She has impeccable attention to detail and a knack for distilling complex information down to a simple story. Our goal is to define and focus Mile Nine in the upcoming year into a set of high-quality products that have both beauty in exquisite detail and simplicity.

What makes your business stand out?

We take a unique approach to creating products by continuing to push a product in functionality, detail, and artistry without making more complicated. For example, we wanted to build high-quality planter boxes for an indoor herb garden. The initial version was a beautiful oak hardwood box. Then we thought, what would make this more unique, modern and versatile? Why not a triangle? Triangles can be arranged in numerous patterns, creating a geometric masterpiece simply in the arrangement possibilities. The next question... how can this planter help to grow the herbs (we've killed a few herb gardens in the past)? We got to work researching the subtleties of growing herbs and realized there is much knowledge to be had. We then distilled the research into an infographic for each herb, which we engraved on one side of the boxes. An illustration was engraved on the second side, and the third was left blank. You can show or hide any side depending on your arrangement.

What's the best business advice you've received?

Iteration, iteration, iteration.

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    Oct. 17, 2014

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