What happens when two globe-trotting journalists decide to start a business of their own in licensed product design? Madcap Cottage, that’s what. With backgrounds in interior and graphic design (John Loecke), and storytelling and marketing (Jason Oliver Nixon), this dynamic duo have turned Loecke’s “side” design projects into a recognized, thriving brand.
The Road Less Traveled
With backgrounds in travel and lifestyle magazines, the editors realized they had an edge when it came to home interior and product design.
“I realized I couldn’t afford the products I was writing about,” Loecke says. “We wanted to create product that was just as beautiful but also affordable.”
“Every product we create needs to deliver an aspirational yet attainable feel,” adds Nixon. “We’ll show you how to use it. We can share how to pull things together to mix with your great vintage pieces like grandma’s dark furniture.”
The Path to Product
Madcap Cottage’s licensed product lines focus on pattern and color. From their first licenses — wallpaper with HSN and fabric with Robert Allen — to accessories with Port 68; casegoods with Newport Cottage; rugs with Momeni, wallpaper with York; and the latest, tabletop with Certified International, which debuts this October, Madcap has introduced pattern across the home front. And they’re not close to done. We can expect a bedding line in January.
“We’re about creating a coordinated look for the person who wants that coordination, but with a ‘happy, gee I love my home’ feel,” he adds.
“Jason and I are both collectors,” says Loecke, adding that as a young teen, he opened a neighborhood museum...and charged a fee to come in. “Our inspiration comes from history, from travel. We look to the past to move forward.” The brand’s designs have a nostalgic feel but they also feel current. “Everything in our Certified International tabletop collection, for example, doesn’t feel stuffy but nods to history,” adds Nixon. “Good design evokes memories and touch points, and a sense of whimsy and fun.”
Telling the Story
Both Loecke and Nixon attribute Madcap Cottage’s success to an ability to tell their story. As former journalists, this comes naturally. For Madcap Cottage, words paint the picture almost as well as Loecke’s designs. “We’re creators,” says Nixon. “John can draw and sketch and create product. Fifty percent is John’s design and 50 percent is engaging the customers. Every collection is one chapter. We’re in chapter five. We want the customer to appreciate what we have in chapter one and in chapter seven.”