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John started Humphreys in 2017. They detail the beginnings of their company in their Starter Story interview: 
Q: How did you get started on Humphreys?
Since I was a kid I have always had a sense of wonder about the world and the mechanisms behind it. Whether it be a jet engine or a windshield wiper-I have thought about the creative process behind these things since I was 10 years old.
I drew houses as a kid. My dad grew up in a home designed by a student of Frank Lloyd Wright, it was a solar home and it had an odd features. One example is, the entire back wall that was about 100 feet long and 15 feet high comprised of windows that all opened. In front, there were functioning levers that had fans which would draw airflow in and out.
Growing up I thought I wanted to be a pilot. I was described in high school by a classmate as “poetic” which I found offensive. I tried a hand in many things; managing a farm and pre-school, which were two businesses I inherited. This type of work wasn’t for me.
My feelings of unsettlement led me to a meditation community in Iowa, which introduced me to artists and builders that would change my life forever. These experiences allowed me to start building and I drew inspiration from artists and creators. As a result, leading a search to go to South American to pursue a business venture, which was where the development of the brand began in my head and on paper.
The development was inspired to create products for the nomadic, transitional explorer. To begin, I sketched 8-10 objects that would be taken from that character. A chair, blanket, a bag, shoes, canned butter, and even had 4x4 car. So that was the start, all before I actually knew what to build.
Learning to build the chair brought me to a new level of understanding style and functionality as a designer.
Contributors to this article:
- Pat Walls, Founder of Starter Story