Spencer Nikosey is reaching for the stars when it comes to product development.
His premium leather goods business, Killspencer, which makes everything from chic totes that convert into backpacks to superslick baseball gloves and balls, just tripled its footprint in the Los Angeles market. The firm, which had previously operated for the past four years out of its Silver Lake storefront — now closed — took up 6,200 square feet of space for its roughly dozen employees in the Atwater Village neighborhood for a factory, photo lab, offices and play area (to test out those gloves and baseballs).
“We’d been looking for a year to find the best place,” Nikosey said. “With this platform, we can literally build anything.”
The company’s materials are sourced from all over the world and include buckles from Austria, zippers from Switzerland and leathers from South America and Italy. Everything is then made in the L.A. factory.
The company’s current focus and where it’s so far found the most success is in accessories and bags along with specialty athletic goods. A lot of the business comes from custom orders, including camera bags for photographers and filmmakers.
Killspencer currently has no wholesale business and with the closure of Silver Lake, it’s currently only selling through its online channel.
“That place was too small for us. It was a really great place to be but it wasn’t the right fit,” Nikosey said. “As we’ve gotten older and grown, we have different needs now. Silver Lake’s a really cool place, but if we’re going to open another store, we want to go somewhere else and be near a museum or near some more culturally significant areas.”
The co-tenancy also wasn’t right so the ability to generate sales from customers simply strolling the area, wasn’t realized for the former store, Nikosey added. He pointed to the Little Tokyo area or Arts District of downtown or La Brea Avenue as potential places for a future store.
“My dream is to be able to develop things that no one else has ever made before and we have a wall full of patents,” said the industrial designer major, who currently counts two patents awarded so far.
The company’s loyal following was enough to turn the heads of Intel, which reached out to Killspencer about using its RealSense technology in a drone to shoot a marketing clip. RealSense, as the name would apply, recognizes gestures and facial expressions, the environment and other factors that — in the case of Killspencer — allowed for the device to follow the subject being filmed.
The tech firm is keen on aligning with “emerging brands with cult followings,” explained global director of digital experience Nam Nguyen. It’s strategic for Intel, which has in more recent years aimed to boost the brand’s resonance in verticals such as music, fashion and gaming.
“[Nikosey] was definitely a designer that was passionate about the same things that we were and so we identified him that way,” Nguyen said.
The drone was used to shoot a video for the Forever USA collection and featured former National Football League player Sinorice Moss, while Intel created its own video — released today — to show how its technology was used. An additional marketing video from Killspencer is also due out.
The two have talked about integration of Intel technology into Killspencer product but nothing is currently in the works, according to an Intel spokeswoman.
“You can program it to do very complex maneuvers and in harder climate conditions,” Nikosey said. “We were able to really quickly program the drone to do a specific shot and nail it for the first time. The advantage for us of using their new equipment was we were able to maximize our day and get a lot more shots. Being a young designer and manufacturer, we’re constantly trying to do stuff that’s on a budget.”