Tyler Deeb is a bit of an anomaly. He’s a young father of four who has taken his love for design from a rather lackadaisical pursuit to a business where his ideas are realized and marketed to discerning clients seeking beautiful and high-quality goods. Deeb isn’t unusual because he followed his dream. His approach is what sets him apart. It is his “stream of consciousness approach to design.”
He designs products that are as aesthetically pleasing as they are useful. “Design, in general, is problem-solving and decision-making,” he says. “I find industrial design easier than I do graphic design.”
His company, Misc. Goods Co., is a bit of a luxury design boutique with items ranging from a deck of $15 playing cards to a $445 “Here Lies” mirror, which is a wood-framed, black glass mirror engraved with roses and meant to offer a gazer the contrasting view between their vanity and their inevitable life passage. While it may sound somewhat morbid, the result is both pleasant and haunting.
Deeb wasn’t always sure what he wanted to do. In fact, after finishing high school and attempting college at Western Kentucky University, he found that he did not like or fit well into the academic world. He left school and reluctantly signed up to take a mission trip through the organization Mission Year-Urban Ministries. He ended up in Oakland, Calif., working with underserved youth populations.
“I was 21 when I went to Oakland. I’m 33 now. I grew a lot of my faith. I grew a lot of my relationships, and I opened my eyes a lot. I started getting into graphic design because a friend of mine was doing it, and I was really inspired by it,” Deeb says.
He took his inspiration seriously. Since his mission group had strict rules about Internet and watching television, Deeb found himself with lots of time to create.
“I spent that whole year working at a high school, working at a shelter, and then really trying to brand myself as a creative—really working hard at trying to figure out how it all worked.”
Kick-Starting a New Career
After his year was up, Deeb moved back to Louisville and became a freelance designer. But business was slow. So, Deeb began designing playing cards. While trying to support a wife and two young children, Deeb found his lack of work put his family at risk. With a loan from a friend to help pay his bills, Deeb began to think more seriously about his career.
“I felt like a deck of playing cards could really be a robust project,” he says. “I just started doing it completely out of curiosity. That project just grew and grew. That’s when I started really investing a lot of energy in how I can get it made and that just kind of steamrolled.”
Deeb asked friends to assist him in creating a product pitch video and then created a Kickstarter campaign to get production funds. His Kickstarter ask was for $6,250 to cover a minimum manufacturing order. Within 24 hours, Deeb reached his goal. By the end of the campaign he raised $146,000. Misc. Goods Co. was born.
Next came second edition decks, a hard case, a wallet and a ceramic flask. Deeb built an online store and began hosting pop-up shops around town at Forest Giant (2858 Frankfort Ave) and Quills Coffee. He began participated in Made Markets.
Settling Down in Shelby Park
For Deeb, staying in his hometown made the transition into a full-time businessman easier.
“I’m in Louisville because it’s such a hospitable town. When you travel to other cities, you really see it. There’s a lot of a support, a lot of good people and hospitality.”
When Deeb lived in Oakland, he became involved in the Sojourn church network and has maintained that relationship since his return to Louisville. Part of choosing his neighborhood, Shelby Park, was based on the desire to be close to his church family.
“The reason we initially moved to Shelby Park is because we were poor, and it was before the housing market crashed, and the banks were giving loans to poor people. Also, Sojourn was moving into a building in Shelby Park, and we wanted to be a part of that,” says Deeb.
His neighborhood offers him more than that. It is centrally located in the city so he finds that he can access any part of it in a relatively short time. It also places him closer to his Germantown office. Plus, he likes the culture of Shelby Park.
“There’s very much a front porch culture in Shelby Park,” Deeb says. “The community is very much out and about and wants to sit and talk with you. That’s a nice part about the community.”
When asked where he’d like the company to be in the next 10 to 15 years, he thinks first about his family, his wife Noel and children: Royal (6), North (4), Win (3), and Ivory (1).
“I want Misc. Goods to be a company that if my kids are interested in working in, or running it one day, they can. I want it to be a long-lasting company. I’m really trying to build something with a really strong foundation that can be respected and appreciated,” he says.
Former employee, Hannah Petron says of Deeb, “Tyler’s products are thoughtful, which is consistent with how I know him as a person. There is a level of integrity with all of his products that balances what he believes about beauty, work, and generosity with skilled design.
“Tyler’s work really is a reflection of who he is,” she continues. “He leads in a way that inspires those around him and cares well for them in the process.”
Balancing Family and Business
Balancing family and business isn’t always easy. Deeb admits he sets some pretty clear boundaries for himself. He values his home life and makes sure that the time he spends in the office is focused on work and work alone so that when he goes home, he can be attentive to the needs of his family.
“I think there’s really only one way to balance it and that’s to put value and priority into your family first, and then I think you have to be okay with failing at work in order to protect your family,” he shares. “When you’re at work [sic], treat it like it’s the most important thing in your life but when you go home completely drop it.”
Deeb is certainly working hard to protect both his family and his growing business.