Echo Hopkins of Ordinary Habit answered some questions for us about her perspective on mixing playfulness and mindfulness to create tactile tools that are luxurious but still suitable for day-to-day use.
1. Tell us about your process. How do you pick designs, and how does it become a puzzle?
There’s been a number of ways we discover the artists we ultimately end up working with! In the beginning we started with a few people we knew, or had followed for a long time. Once we launched the brand artists started reaching out to us, and it’s been one of the most amazing parts of launching the brand. We get to meet so many wonderful artists, and also get to share their stories. We try to keep the artwork varied, while still making sure that the puzzle will actually be doable!
2. Do you have a rota of artists and collaborators you tend to work with or do you tend to branch out for new designs? There seems to be a consistent aesthetic as you release more designs even with different collaborations. How do you remain true to your style?
From the start, we knew we wanted our artwork to feel modern, while still feeling accessible to a wide range of people. In each piece we choose, we look for a theme of calm and serenity. Some of our artwork is a bit more abstract, and the subjects vary from landscapes to indoor tablescapes, and everything in between, but with each collection we try to make sure it feels cohesive, whether that’s a theme, or a color palette.
3. How did OH come to be what it is today?
When we were first thinking about starting the brand, we took a long time to really think about what we wanted to be, who we wanted as our audience, and where we could ultimately grow. Defining that, and spending time thinking through a lot of details from the beginning has helped us make decisions, and stay on track.
4. Where do you see the company in a few years? Is where you are now what you expected?
I don’t think we ever could have dreamed about where we’d be now! We didn’t know what to expect, since we launched in June of 2020, when there was so much uncertainty in the world. We hope to continue to expand our offerings – we never intended to solely be a puzzle company, but instead to create tools for wellbeing, that were playful in nature, and beautiful to look at. We can’t wait to continue to explore different products, and truly become a name that people can rely on to make high quality products that bring moments of calm into their days.
5. What has been the most fulfilling part about running Ordinary Habit?
Meeting so many people – other founders, artists, people I would have never encountered otherwise. It’s been wild, and wonderful, to expand both our social worlds and our minds. There are so many things I never thought I’d know about: shipping logistics, warehousing, manufacturing… As someone who loves learning, there’s a ton to learn!
6. What is it like running the company as a mother-daughter duo?
I can’t imagine it any other way, honestly. It’s been amazing to work with someone you not only love, but implicitly trust. There’s a lot to be said for that.
7. Tell me about the name “Ordinary Habit”. How did you end up choosing it, and what does it mean to you?
It took a while for us to land on this name, but then once we did, it really felt like it spoke to all of our aims. We want to create products that become part of your every day, things that feel special, while not feeling so special you never actually use them. Bringing a luxurious product into your daily ritual routine makes each moment with them feel special!
8. I see you’ve just released some new mindfulness notebooks! They aren’t puzzles but seem very in line with your ethos. Will there be more of this stationary-type product? What’s next for OH?
We’re definitely always thinking of ways to expand our line of products that still feel in line with creating tools to help people slow down. A notebook felt like a natural progression of the puzzles and matching cards, that is a little bit of a departure from the “games” sphere, but was something that still fostered that same feeling of taking a deep breath, and refocusing your mind. I’m not sure about stationary, but we definitely have lots of ideas for where we want to head in the future!
9. What do you hope your products bring to your audience?
We wanted to share the beauty of taking time throughout your day to clear your mind in tactile ways. Whether that’s doing a puzzle, writing in a journal, or playing with our memory cards, we want to help everyone remember that taking your time, and creating a routine and space to play, can be an “ordinary habit” that can help immensely.
10. This last one isn’t exactly a straightforward question but bear with me: One of the reasons we gravitated to Ordinary Habit– other than the design and quality of the product itself– is your ethos behind it. One of the guiding philosophies of our brand as a “slow luxury” boutique is that luxury is more than just an item itself, but the experience that lends to it. Ordinary Habit puzzles encompass this idea completely and you often talk about mindfulness, resetting, and connecting. How do you integrate your philosophy into your products?
There’s a huge irony to starting a brand that is all about slowing down… but then realizing that you’re going to spend a huge amount of time and space working on that brand intensely. As we’ve grown, we’ve definitely learned to practice what we preach. We try to make decisions slowly, and make sure they all relate back to why we originally started the brand. And of course, we make an effort to create space in our days for the little rituals we love!