My design career started in my mid-twenties when I was introduced to the world of interior design. Up until this point I didn't know there were options in the design world where I could utilize my creative skills. I enrolled in a three year applied diploma program at Georgian College in Barrie Ontario. I fell in love with creating functional spaces for hypothetical clients.
This education led me to my first job as a designer in Toronto. I worked for a small design-build company specializing in timber frame construction, and rustic furniture. I was hired on as a draftsperson/designer for their new endeavor into kitchens. I spent most of my time designing and working on many residential kitchens in the GTA, Muskoka, and Kawarthas.
Through this process the introduction to industrial design was presented. I fell in love with the idea of creating furniture for the spaces I was designing. Since I recently relocated to Toronto I felt there were many opportunities within the city to follow my dream with formal education. I was always told by my highschool teachers and guidance counselors that I should quit school and get a job, since college and university were not options for me. Struggling with excelling in the standard metrics of a ‘good student’, and dealing with the challenges of ADHD and a learning disability I never felt post secondary was an option. These suggestions were formally debunked when I was accepted into OCADU in the industrial design program.
In my second year at OCADU I was approached by the head of design at Gus* Modern, a Toronto based and internationally known furniture manufacturer, to join their team. Since I was committed to completing my degree I took a year and a half internship with the company where I had many opportunities to design and create a multitude of products, which many are still manufactured today under the Gus* brand.
Upon returning to complete my thesis, I considered the path I wanted to take. The idea of becoming an entrepreneur and having my own company to build based on my values was never clearer. This university environment working with students and many professional designers from around the globe with diverse backgrounds gave me a springboard into the design world I had embarked. My thesis became the development of Rekindle.
Rekindle started as a school project that defined every detail of what my ideal company would be. I dreamt, prototyped, and had many discussions, within a very creative environment amongst my peers. This environment allowed me to refine what I felt the world needed more of and how my perspective could benefit the world. This school project quickly became my full time gig. I began production of my designs in a basement in the Toronto Tool Library. The space was inexpensive, but had everything I needed to make my work come alive. Rekindle was starting to get some traction while selling at the One of a Kind Show and IDS in Toronto as well as other small pop-up markets. After a few months I upgraded my working space to a shared environment with a couple local designers. There I really honed my craft with making my items and working alongside professionals. With this increased capacity Rekindle started selling to retailers across Canada. As interest in Rekindle's work grew, so did the team. Rekindle took on a director of sales which allowed Rekindle to reach a much broader audience, growing our online presence, selling to fifty five retailers in Canada, The United States, and sales to South America and Europe. We grew to the point where we needed to upgrade our space once more. Rekindle joined a professional woodworkers coop, which included more space, much better equipment and mentorship from almost two hundred years of shared experiences among the members. We grew our mechanical offering with purchasing a cnc and laser cutter to help with manufacturing unique pieces for our growing customer base. Rekindle continued with producing items to retailers while creating custom pieces for many unique clients until Rekindle’s most radical change, leaving the big city.
In the spring of 2019 I took Rekindle out of Toronto to my hometown, Chatham Ontario. The move was based on a better quality of life outside of the busy city for my family, and has allowed me to focus on dealing directly with my supporters as well as give more time with my family. Family and close relationships with friends has always been a priority for me and this shows within the experiences Rekindle supports.
Rekindle and Devin Schaffner are one of the same. I have changed how I want to build my dreams and scaled back how I will offer my handmade items. I absolutely love the relationship I am building with the craft community in Chatham. Being able to focus on dealing directly with my community is what excites me everyday. We no longer sell to an abundance of retailers, but I still focus on increasing the quality of life for every individual person who invests in Rekindle. I am extremely grateful for being able to follow my dreams with the new direction of Rekindle. I look forward to handcrafting something for you soon.