Rosie Kovacs and her longtime boyfriend Hayes Shanesy have turned a 120-year-old factory (in Cincinnati's industrial Brighton neighborhood) into a creative laboratory for their collaborative brand, aptly called Brush Factory. She designs and sews clothing on the first floor, and Hayes, who refurbishes vintage motorcycles in a garage-like room off the back, also has a wood shop upstairs, where he started handcrafting design objects (like walnut spinning wheels, bottle stoppers) and furniture when they opened their retail shop in Oakley (about 15 minutes away) and needed more stuff to fill it. “We thought we should open a shop in a place where there are actual living people.”
And, indeed, the store is great–a polished collection of their finished product. But the studio, where they sit across a huge work table sketching a pattern and debating the closures for a new bag design (“How can you finish that so you can’t see the cording?”), their idealistic design vision and simple, high-craft aesthetic come to life. The approach, whether working on an apron wrap-dress or a hand-turned walnut bowl, is all about honoring method—“the way things should be made”–and for that very reason, their work feels like an extension of where its created.