The philosophy behind Emerson comes from a quote by William Morris, an architect and textile designer in the mid-nineteenth century, who was a pivotal figure in the British Arts & Crafts Movement, but more than that, it is based on the overall philosophy espoused by the founders of that movement. Morris and his colleagues became disenchanted with how the Industrial Revolution had made the world of design and production impersonal, mechanized, homogenous and focused more on ease of production than the quality or design of products. These founders of the British Arts & Crafts movement criticized the industrial process and advocated for a return to pre-industrial values of using high-quality materials, traditional methods, simple utilitarian design and focused on promoting the craftsperson as expert.
William Morris is famously quoted as saying "If you want a golden rule that will fit everything, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful" We ask, why not both? Could everything in our homes not be both beautiful and useful? Is there any particular reason why something needs to be unattractive just because it’s utilitarian? The seemingly obvious answer is that it’s a false dichotomy; anyone familiar with design has encountered beauty in some of the most mundane and utilitarian objects.
It is this thought that forms basis of our mission; to provide items that are both beautiful and useful, made by individual designers and craftspeople, not machines. From this starting point we suggest, as well, that the items in our life should always exist to make our lives easier, to simplify things and improve our lives. That includes ensuring that the products we offer are of the highest quality materials and craftsmanship to ensure that they last.
Tied closely with our commitment to provide the highest quality products intended to stand the test of time is our mission of environmental responsibility; in a society where planned obsolescence is an increasingly common practice in manufacturing we aim to counter that trend by ensuring that the products we carry are made to last but also have minimal environmental impact both in their production and waste cycle. We commit to sourcing the highest quality, durable materials and packaging that are also renewable, recyclable, biodegradable, reusable, and when possible use naturally sourced materials found as close to home as possible.
In short Emerson aims to provide a curated collection of beautiful and useful, high-quality hand crafted goods for around the home, intended to simplify your life and help you reduce your environmental impact.
THE BACKGROUNDWhen it began, everything Emerson offered was designed and produced by one person, Dan DesRosiers; his grandfather, for whom the business is named, was a Journeyman Patternmaker and spent his whole life designing and creating things with his hands, so the shop was named in his honour to carry on the legacy of designing, creating, and making a job out of doing the thing that you love the most.
In an effort to break with promoting traditional gendered roles and activities, the local school board chose to introduce all students to both the Home Economics and Shop classes rather than the previous approach of separating the classes by gender, so Dan was introduced to both woodworking and sewing at the same time and still can't decide which he enjoys more. At the age of thirteen, Dan designed and made a deacon's bench as an independent project for shop class and also joined the after school sewing club, choosing to take on the task of making a dress for his step-mother; neither turned out very well, mind you, but what did you expect from a thirteen year old? Throughout Dan's life and a variety of career paths, the thing he has chosen to do for relaxation and enjoyment is to make things with his hands, so when offered the opportunity to help a family member set up a small production wood shop to make items to be donated to local charities for auctions and raffles he was excited to be a included. That experience lead to designing and making custom furniture pieces for friends and family members, in addition to making smaller items such as cutting and charcuterie boards, children’s toys, step stools, small boxes, etc.
With the opening of a brick and mortar store in the heart of Essex in the winter of 2020, Dan has expanded his original mission from making and selling simple, timeless, and beautiful household goods, to now include showcasing the work of other talented artists and makers with brands that share the values on which the Emerson brand was founded. Each maker and brand carried in the Emerson storefront, and online store, has been hand-picked to ensure a certain level of quality & craftsmanship, as well as a commitment to sustainability.