Meet the Makers: Tait Design Co.

How an after-work hobby ascended to a booming business


Published:

Model airplanes may seem like a nostalgic throwback, but at Detroit-based toy and homeware company Tait Design Co., they’re flying off the shelves.

After building up an inventory of balsa plane kits, which he had initially designed as gifts for his young nieces, founder Matt Tait, 35, launched taitdesignco.com in 2013. Today, he and co-founder Audrey Elkus, 22, have sold roughly 40,000 plane kits, now better known as Turbo Flyers, around the world.

Then a sophomore at Wellesley College in Massachusetts, Elkus approached Tait about a summer job at his company. “I thought there was a whole team,” she says, later learning that Tait was the sole employee. Since graduating in December, Elkus has now become a full-time partner.

Elkus and Tait work out of what was once a Grosse Pointe Park post office, aptly named Post. Tait goods are assembled in the United States and often, in Detroit. The duo plans to expand their product offering to include wall-clocks, out this month, and a Turbo Flyer ornament to celebrate the holidays. “We’re trying make people happier — add a little something to their day,” Elkus says.


Visit taitdesignco.com for more information.

 

Edit Module
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

Web Exclusive: Meeting the Beatles

Fifty years ago, a Detroit-area teenager won a contest to meet The Beatles.

Rocking in Style

John Varvatos and Alice Cooper talk about their musical and fashion influences — and Detroit’s comeback

Well-Versed in Classics

DSO oboe player tools around town in a rare pair of turquoise 1962 Lincoln Continentals

All Dressed Up & Ready ...

Cobo Center is still a work in progress, but Auto Show visitors will notice a host of improvements

One Night Only: Steven Spielberg and John Williams at the DSO

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. The Makings of the Shinola Hotel
    When the Detroit brand’s first foray into hospitality opens its doors, it’ll offer customers...
  2. My Two Christmases
    An Armenian-Iranian, Detroit-based writer reflects on transposing the holiday across continents
  3. New Year’s Eve, Brooklyn Style
    Tips for celebrating 2019 from the pros at Brooklyn Outdoor
  4. Main Review: SheWolf
    Born in Detroit but inspired by Rome, SheWolf takes diners on a culinary journey
  5. The Art of Gifting
    Metro Detroit tastemakers from all walks of life offer a glimpse of what’s on their holiday...
  6. Comeback Catering
    Dish, in Detroit, pushes through hard times with consistently delicious food
  7. Meet the Makers: Tait Design Co.
    How an after-work hobby ascended to a booming business
  8. Precious Metals
    Layering necklaces, stacking rings, and placing bangle upon glitzy bangle: a definitive guide to...
  9. Food Recipe: Braised Beef Brisket
    Chef Aaron Lowen, of Empire Kitchen & Cocktails, shares one of his favorite holiday recipes
  10. An Hour with ... Ricki Friedman
    Founder, Break the Weight