Robin Tyler and Tom Allen, co-founders and full-time workers at Grain. We’re friends who have given up our careers to start anew, solve a problem, and make real products that people will love. Wildly different in character, skills and outlook, but with a shared love of never taking the easy route, and of course doing the jobs of about 5 people.
Robin’s the serious one. The realist, worrier-in-chief, or alternatively described as the ‘balance’ of the business. He brings a keen eye for detail. His responsibilities include procrastinating over major decisions, designing and making beautiful furniture, and tackling the gnarly code behind our website (and for some strange reason loads of spreadsheets).
His (at times frustrating) levels of perfection are the reason we’re so confident in the construction, strength and finish of Grain products: he has tested and retested every process, material and piece of software code in our world.
Tom’s the blue-sky thinker, the entrepreneur with boundless energy. The dreamer-in-chief, or in simpler terms the ‘puppy’ of the business. His work is everything you see of Grain, the stunning photography (even in poor light…), the brand, the crucial relationships we have, and whatever on any given day can be described as ‘turning an obstacle into an advantage’ or other such coffee-driven aspirational talk.
His vision and fearlessness have kept the momentum and the ideas flowing under Grain since we decided to make a go of it. He’s the driving energy, steering our brand and the shape of our business, usually thinking at least a year ahead of himself.
Robin’s from an analytical background, with a Masters in Geophysics from University College London and, prior to taking Grain full time, spent years working in natural hazard modelling. He’s one of those people who instantly knows how to use software packages and big fancy machines.
He’s a huge cycling fan, and bizarrely enjoys riding his bike up some of Europe’s largest mountain climbs.
Tom started his first company at just 19 – a graphic design and print business which successfully grew to a staff of six, before taking on major project management and marketing contracts in the construction world. It’s given him an instinctive understanding of branding and visual design.
His passion away from the workshop is rock climbing- strong hands hewn in the workshop put to good use elsewhere.
So it turns out that in our spare time, and purely for fun, we both enjoy expending a lot of energy going up something we really don’t need to. Starting a business together feels rather appropriate, doesn’t it?!