Submitted by Melissa Howsam — Correspondent
Founded in 2011 by N.C. State School of Design grads and OCD crafts people Julie Pitts and Adrian Matlock, and proud to call Bull City home, Woodville is now the Triangles go-to for high-quality all-natural, hand-crafted wooden jewelry.
Born of a machine and power-tool love that spawned a laser-cutter hobby circa freshman year of college think carpenter-esque Christmas gifts for fam and friends the memory resurfaced when Pitts eyed a wooden necklace from New York on a friend several years later. I did some research and saw that there was a market for laser cut wood accessories and decided to try my hand at it," said CEO and General Manager Pitts. Lock and I shared a passion for craftsmanship and hip-hop/African culture, so we teamed up to start experimenting with making wood chains. Enter Woodville.
With humble beginnings the custom-wood pendant craft shop began out of Locks moms garage for the first half-year and then to Pitts dads old office space, before moving into their own studio on Old Oxford Road in December 2011 Woodville is now a household name, having made jewelry for such A-listers as 9th Wonder and True School, various UNC football players (past) and various UNC basketball players (past and present: Danny Green, John Henson, Harrison Barnes), actor Khleo Thomas, J. Cole, Wiz Khalifa, Gym Class Heroes and Travie McCoy, and so on even working with small nonprofits and educational institutions like Blue Ribbon Mentor-Advocate and Lowes Grove Middle School.
Inspired by culture, nature, technology and music, Woodvilles unique accessories emphasize hip-hop and Afrocentric-themes. We love to fuse the old with the new, says Pitts. Wood is one of the oldest materials used to create art with. We take an old material and create something new and refreshing. We like to highlight the natural beauty of the wood while adding a modern twist.
Woodville gave triangle.com some insight into laser-cutters, shiny things and their future.
You share a partnership and passion over a laser cutter. Pretty unique. How'd you find each other?
Lock and I knew each other through the African-American Design Student Association at the N.C. State College of Design. We attended the COD at very different times, but we were both presidents of the organization at one point in time. While at N.C. State, we often used the laser cutter for school projects and fell in love with the machine.
Lock's father was a passionate wood craftsman and passed away in 2008. His father left him ownership of the laser cutter (the machine that carves the designs into the wood). After his fathers passing, Lock felt it was only right that he continue his fathers passion for crafts, using this awesome piece of equipment.
After college, we often ran into each other at hip-hop events in the area and after awhile we started talking about projects to work on together.
Your brand is hip-hop/Afrocentric in theme. Where does that focus stem from?
Lock and I are both African-American and both did summer study abroad in Ghana while we were at the N.C. State Design School. Our separate experiences in Ghana were inspiring and stuck with us long after we left Africa. Hip-hop is also a culture that has inspired us throughout the years. We incorporate African and hip-hop themes in almost everything we do in and outside of Woodville because its a big part of who we are as individuals.
What makes your world go round?
Music, hip-hop, laser cutters, Adobe Illustrator, power tools, graffiti and street art, graphic design, cute tree frogs, walks in the park, trees, sunshine, shiny things, gadgets, traveling, sports, learning new things, meeting new people, and exploring.
[I] went to school for industrial design (product design) and art. Before Woodville, [I] worked at the mall airbrushing T-shirts, shoes, hats and everything else. [I] specialize in photo realistic portraits.
Lock is a full-time associate architect at O'Brien Atkins Associates. He coaches little league and plays baseball for local team the Kakalacks.
Describe Woodvilles style.
Our style is natural and down-to-earth, yet modern. We like to pay tribute to the past, but also tie our themes to the here and now.
What vision do you have for your jewelry on the streets?
I love to see strangers wearing our jewelry in the streets with pride. Chains are a way for people to express themselves and what they are passionate about in a unique way. If wearing our jewelry puts a smile on someones face or puts a little extra pep in their step then we have accomplished our goal.
We try to make high-quality unique jewelry thats affordable for everyone. Woodville is for everyone. Our typical customer is between 15 to 30 years old and listens to hip-hop music. Many of our clients are up-and-coming hip-hop artists.
Our most popular item is a plain bracelet made from high-quality wood beads, starting at $10. Its simple and can go with any outfit.
You've built strong ties with the local hip-hop scene and have since begun to focus more on music-themed jewelry. Tell us about it.
When we started Woodville, we spread by word of mouth. Since we attended so many local hip-hop shows, the word got to music artists and DJ's very quickly. We found that these artists and DJ's had a lot of ideas and energy. That energy spread to us and became a driving force behind our designs.
What's next for Woodville?
Woodville is planning to grow into a larger company and expand our availability of products.