Valvert Thompson and Steve Shi
When Houston-based designers Valvert Thompson and Steve Shi bought their first engraving machine, they planned to use it to make acrylic desktop accessories. Their first few tries didn’t go so well, and they ended up creating pieces they weren’t entirely proud of—but they didn’t get discouraged. Instead, the team did a little research and set their sights on creating personalized products.
While sourcing materials, they had their “eureka!” moment. They wondered, “Why should businesses waste products that aren’t flawed, when each product can be upcycled into something special?” This question led the pair to begin upcycling otherwise unwanted pieces by printing or engraving on them. By bundling previously unloved items with educational material like posters and pamphlets, they’re able to create new, meaningful products. To this day, Valvert and Steve are constantly experimenting with new designs and “inventing” uses for materials that were once forgotten.