Washing Windows to Solhiem Greens: Designer Johnny Mitch

Recently I had the opportunity to catch up with Jonny Mitch, designer who inspired the Callaway Women’s Hyperbolic Golf Shoe.  The Hyperbolic is a very special shoe for MESH01.  It is the first shoe inspired by the MESH01 community to hit the market.  You may have even seen it on the feet of LPGA stars including Morgan Pressel at the Solheim Cup

First of all, congratulations on the Callaway Women’s Hyperbolic Golf Shoe.  What is it like to see a shoe that you where a part of go to production, and even be worn in the Solheim Cup?

The Solheim Cup is a huge deal in the world of women’s professional golf. I wish I could attend- it’s the WPGA’s Ryder Cup. I’m proud that some of the United States women will be wearing a product that I was a part of.  Thank you Brian, Mesh01 and Callaway for giving me a platform to get my work out into the world!

What was the inspiration behind your Hyperbolic design?  How did you incorporate this inspiration into the design?

So, to be honest with you I don’t really remember all the details. I do know that the brief was one of the easiest for me to design from.  There was no guessing involved because Callaway did such a great job telling the designers what they were looking for. So… I took direct inspiration from the brief.

Jonny Mitch’s Callaway Hyperbolic submission

I’ve grown up around the game, (of golf) and loved it since I was five or six when I won a local tournament. In middle school/early high school I worked as a cart boy for the local municipal course so I could play for free. We picked up range balls, cleaned clubs, gassed up carts, hunted rattle snakes, and perfected 360-degree power slides down the wet grass of the driving range hill. Those were the days! Haha.  Jim Oscarson is going to kill me if he ever reads that : )

Anyways, my research is based on real life experience- not some meaningless picture found on google.  I know what golfer’s dress like, so my goal was to design an upper that will go well with the rest of their wardrobe.

8 hours were spent designing the shoe and explanation pages with only 11 minutes to spare before the contest deadline. Not going to lie, towards the end I was getting a little nervous. The first hour I taped up a last and figured out how I wanted it to be constructed based on the brief’s expectations. Then I took a picture of the drawn on last and dropped it into Photoshop. From there it became a digital art exercise geared toward catching the judges attention. Sorry, If that isn’t a very exciting back story- I was just too cramped for time at that moment. But hey, it all worked out.

Sample created from Jonny’s drawings

Getting here has not been the easiest; I hear you started your own business to put yourself through school.  Can you tell us about your window washing business?

My Dad bought the (window washing) equipment and a small list of accounts from a guy leaving town.  Then, when I turned 16 and received my driver’s license, he dropped it onto me and my brother’s laps and said that if we wanted to be able to pay for college this was our ticket.

Have any of the lessons learned as a business owner carried over into your design work?

I don’t know how much it has carried over into my design work, but it taught me many life lessons. The main one is- Why work for “The Man”- when you can be “The Man”.  One summer I was tired of scrubbing bug poo and dried dog nose prints so I quit to go work for the city down at the marina.  I quickly learned that 10 hour days at minimum wage weren’t going to work for me. You just can’t beat making your own schedule and salary-even if its not a very glamorous job. The job also taught me to dream big. Once the word got around town that a 14 and 16 year old were the best in the valley the Seattle millionaires with summer mansions on the lake started calling. They introduced me to a whole new world that I am still working toward.

You recently finished an internship at K1X in Munich, Germany.  What was this experience like, traveling abroad for an internship?

Besides having a total creeper as a roommate and no money to get out and experience the city, my time in Munich was great. Pete and Rainer were amazing to work with. Pete taught me so many insights into becoming a better designer. And Rainer is a master craftsman.  He could take one of our designs and make a real sample within a day.

How would you compare the design scene in Munich to the North West United States?

I don’t know if I can answer that question. I say that because the K1X design scene is not normal for Munich. Some of these guys are ballers. They are consumed by hip hop culture, and have their own clubs where they can promote all the new releases.  Some of them have moved onto starting their own brands. I haven’t met a group of people like them anywhere.

So what is next for Jonny Mitch?

For now I’ve been advised to work in the footwear industry for a few years before I start my own brand. Be on the lookout.  I feel my mentor D’Wayne Edwards is setting me up with the best chance to succeed in such a competitive industry.

Once again congratulations and thank you for the interview.  Can you offer and words of advice to the other designers out there in the MESH01 community?

I’m going to leave you with the wisdom my friend Christopher Burns gave me way back in middle school. He said “Everybody gets what they want in life.” I quickly laughed tried to argue with him saying, “I want a Lamborghini- but I’m not going to ever get it.” And with a dead serious face he replied, “If you really want something, you’ll find a way to make it happen.”

When you get that Lamborghini I call “Shotgun”.