WHAT IS THE GARAGE?
Tap into the innovative spirit of the Garage as we explore new possibilities for Leatherman products and improve existing ones. Here, we leave behind the doubters and naysayers to enter a world where there are no bad ideas, only lessons to learn. Discoveries to make. Paths to forge.
The Garage is not a destination, but the start of new beginnings. Sometimes, you find an answer, and other times you leave with more questions. It’s all part of the process, and there’s no better place to embrace it than in the Garage.
THE GARAGE ORIGIN STORY
Over 40 years ago, Tim Leatherman designed and fabricated the first multi-tool in a garage. Today, the Leatherman Garage takes that same spirit of grit, perseverance, and engineering to test out new ideas, tinker with the old ones (like his original prototype), and discover what works and what doesn’t. Everything that comes out of the Garage will be released in small batch runs (less than 1000), and once they’re all sold out, they’re gone forever. Some will succeed. Some will fail. But each of them will be completely original. That is the Leatherman way.
Q&A WITH THE GARAGE ENGINEERS
We talked to Lee Leatherman, Director of Special Projects, Ben Rivera, CEO, and Andro Purnomohadi, Sr. Product Innovation Engineer, to get their thoughts on creativity, what’s special about the Garage, and what excites them most about the possibilities of the Garage.
WHAT MAKES THE GARAGE DIFFERENT?
Lee: The Leatherman Garage is designed as a vessel to carry on the tradition of innovation at Leatherman.
Ben: Because we are limited the run to 1,000 pieces, we can try a risky technology, use a material that is limited in quantity, experiment in a new category, or serve a very small niche or new-to-Leatherman consumer in order to learn something that will ultimately inform the mainline.
The Leatherman Garage is a mindset, not a place. What is possible? How would I do it if I had unlimited time and money? What do I like to work on? What am I passionate about? It’s where I gather ideas and even materials for projects that I plan today and just because I might use them later on. It’s where I store a bucket or shelf of ‘scraps’ that are way too good to throw away. It’s where I save my plastic containers for future use. It’s where I keep special tools that I made for that one specific job in the hopes that I can find it again when I need it.
Andro: It’s a place or environment where your day starts with ‘What Ifs’.
WHAT IS THE MOST EXCITING PART OF THE GARAGE? CAN YOU GIVE ANY HINTS OF WHAT IS TO COME?
Lee: To me, the most exciting part of the Garage is pushing the boundaries of what we think is possible…from our own expectations, to our customers’ expectations, to our end products, to our materials and manufacturing processes…. We have some really cool stuff coming down the pipeline. Some of it is close to core with a Garage spin, and some of it may surprise folks.
Ben: The most exciting thing about the Garage is we get to play. We get to try things that we may not be able to normally justify.
Andro: Pushing existing design to new heights and elevating the brand.
WHAT ARE SOME PRACTICES TO KEEP CREATIVITY FLOWING?
Lee: I like to do things that force me to be present: surfing, jiu jitsu, music. I find that there’s a pulse to cultivating creativity in work and in life. It’s not all about expanding and being creative all the time. For me, it doesn’t work like that. Sometimes I need to get outside of the box and sometimes I need to get back in it. For us in the Garage, it’s nice to go blue sky and think of anything possible as well as think about all the processes that go into creating something new. There’s value in working on the small things and making little innovations as well as working on the bigger ideas. When the creativity is flowing, let it flow. When it’s not, go back to the basics.
Ben: Music. I like to practice my improvisation skills. Perhaps the most important one is to say ‘yes, and…’ Another good way to get creative is to get out of my comfort zone. Maybe meet someone I would not normally, go to a show that I would not choose, or take a different route or mode of transport to work. A little diversity in my daily life helps the ideas flow. I like to do 10 things good enough more than 2 things almost perfect. I learn from failures.
Andro: Creativity is like a knife edge or your bicep muscle. You need to keep it sharp and strong through repeated sharpening and workouts. Everyone is different, but for me, here are some key words:
1. Observation. Your eyes, your hearing, the touch and feel are the gateway of the information. If you ask “why” on what you observe, you’ll be amazed on how much stuff that you took things for granted and don’t understand why it exists.
2. Ask your self, What ifs….
3. FORCE yourself into time constraints or any constraints and see how far you go.
4. Talk to others about your What ifs, your observation, or things that you are trying to solve. Anyone else other than your boss or coworker. Your spouse, daughter, neighbor….
5. Don’t settle on your ideas on your head. Try to materialize it to make it tangible. Create the roughest prototype possible. Go to your local hardware store, like Home Depot, JOANN, or Michaels to create it.
6. There are no dumb or bad ideas. A good idea is considered “good” only after you understand and stumble across the “Bad” ones.
7. Don’t get attached to the end product or what you are trying to solve or do. But focus on the process.
8. There is no absolute. You look at things or what you are trying to solve or do from the perspective of managing the good and the bad, instead of trying to focus on just the good.
WHERE THE FUTURE OF INVENTION BEGINS
Enter The Garage where we explore what's next for Leatherman. Sign up to hear about new releases and insider information from the Garage. The first design to roll out from the Garage will drop soon. Don’t miss it. Once they’re gone, they’re gone forever.