Makers Monday Interview With Conway Electric

BY Taylor Rebhan

Kevin C Faul is Founder of Conway Electric. As part of our Makers Monday interview series, we asked him six questions about his products and what it means to be an American Maker. Check out Shinola supply’s Exto Extension Cord by Conway Electric, and discover more Makers on the Makers Monday website and on Cool Hunting’s Makers Mondays: The Great Outdoors.


What is it you make, and what should people know about your products?

Electricity is an American story and that’s been turned into an afterthought. Harnessing electricity was the beginning of the modern age of technology. Incredible Americans like Benjamin Franklin, Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison were directly responsible for figuring out how to turn this wild thing into the usable thing that all modern technology relies upon today. Conway Electric uses American manufacturing to build electrical accessories of great design that bring integrity and durability back to this incredible technology.

When did you commit to making your products in America and why did you choose to do it here?

From our inception we planned on manufacturing in America. We looked to overseas factories for quotes as a reference early on, and to learn how American manufacturers compared, but I grew up in a household where our father was an inventor and net exporter of specialized products for the ceramic wire industry—American manufacturing helped put food on our table when we were young, and that set the stage for Conway Electric. If we are going to do something, we are going to do it well, and do good while doing it, and it’s proven to be an advantage. We can move faster, offer wider product selection, and grow quickly while supporting many small- and medium-sized businesses. We directly see the impact of our growth every day.

[[{“type”:”media”,”view_mode”:”media_original”,”fid”:”236″,”attributes”:{“alt”:””,”class”:”media-image”,”height”:”540″,”style”:”color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: ‘Lucida Grande’, ‘Lucida Sans Unicode’, sans-serif; font-size: 13.0080003738403px; font-weight: normal; line-height: 1.538em;”,”title”:””,”typeof”:”foaf:Image”,”width”:”960″}}]]

Where is your business located, and what makes your town uniquely American?

We’re in the amazing city of Seattle, the home of Boeing, Microsoft, Amazon and many other tech companies; the source of lumber for homes and furniture everywhere; a port for receiving goods from overseas and shipping to other countries; a central hub of the American fishing industry (you can walk the docks and see crab trawlers and vessels made famous by the Discovery Channel); and a huge producer of wine, beer and produce. Seattle is the founding city of Nordstrom and Filson, both over 100 years old. And you can’t get more American than Johnny Appleseed, or Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Cobain—can I throw up some horns? Surround all that with amazing out-of-doors experiences where you gear up at REI first—another trailblazing American company—and that’s how great we feel about Seattle. No other town is quite like it.

What got you started, and what was the first thing you remember making?

Really it goes back to being children of an engineer and a nurse. Highly educated parents encouraging us always to be curious and capable. They said, “Take these tools. Make things. Go outside. Travel. Keep your eyes open. Just make sure you clean your room.” That’s where it started, and the first things I remember making were tree forts. Not like other tree forts. As engineer’s children the forts had to be accurate and structurally sound. Ours were multi-level engineered mini-houses back in the acres of forest we owned. Then I worked on old cars with older neighbors, then we made a hovercraft out of an old Hoover, plywood and some plastic sheeting. Name it and we probably made it.

When you’re not busy at work, where might we find you? What do you like to do with your spare time?

I’m very active outdoors. I’m a former ultrarunner and still run trails 99% of my running time. I cycle, surf, climb—anything outdoors, washing it down with craft beer or local distilled spirits on occasion. Travel is incredibly important, reading stories of inspirational characters like the Wright Brothers and Ben Franklin, and meeting new people doing cool things. Staying busy with curiosity, I guess.

Which other brands and Makers inspire you?

Too many. Eames/Herman Miller in furniture. Tanner Goods leather products out of Portland, Oregon. American Giant of San Francisco (I wear their hoodies every day). Patagonia—Yvon has been an inspiration for nearly my whole life and I’ve met him several times. I want Conway Electric to be the Patagonia for home technology. Parke Denim out of New York (Solomon Liu’s successful kickstarter company). Roots Roller kids toys from Orange County, CA. Defy Bags out of Chicago for bomber designs with an edge. On a larger scale it’s Apple. Gregg Buchbinder and Emeco Chairs. Brands that inspire me are courageous, irreverent and of high integrity.


Get updates on products,
people and places we love.

Follow Us On Social