Jordan Lindebaum specializes in bringing function to the unusual.
“I’m always on the lookout for something weird, and the weirder the piece I make, the faster it sells,” said the Newhall resident.
Lindebaum, an aerospace engineer, and his wife, Paloma, own the company Off the Beaten Pallet, which sells touch lamps and wireless phone chargers he made out of reclaimed wood and scrap metal. Rather than using a switch, touch lamps are turned on using the electric charge in the human body gained by touching them.
Lindebaum initially began woodworking as a way to create furniture for himself and for people close to him and learned how to do it through YouTube videos, trial and error, and from the advice of family members. The first touch lamp he made was a gift to his father and he did not foresee himself creating a business out of them.
“I wasn’t even sure if I would like woodworking when I started but I jumped into it, made some furniture for my wife and I fell in love with it,” he said. “The things I made turned out really well so I made some pieces and sold them but we never really planned on creating a business just because of the complexity of selling furniture. Then I started making the lamps, and that opened more doors because they’re much easier to sell at a trade show or ship across the country.”
Touch lamps are not new and were invented in 1984 by Scott M. Kunen in New York. Lindebaum said that after seeing people make crude touch lamps, he was inspired to create them himself and add his own unique twist on them. He combined the touch lamp technology with his interests in making furniture out of reclaimed materials and the industrial, Edison bulb aesthetic.
“The technology has been around forever and people are realizing that these are still a really convenient style of lamp,” Lindebaum said. “We didn’t want the same old look as Grandma’s old brass lamp, so we combined the convenience with the new trend of the industrial look.”
As the company’s name suggests, each lamp is made out of reclaimed wood from old pallets at his workplace or scrap wood from lumber yards. The metal touchable parts of the lamps are whatever interesting pieces he and his wife find at junkyards, antique stores and garage sales and range from engine parts and hood ornaments to vintage metal toys. Lindebaum makes his lamps in batches of 10 and each one takes an average of 10 hours to make, most of which comes from refurbishing and shaping the wood.
“My wife and I are really into the ‘reclaimed’ movement because we love the idea of rescuing something,” he said. “Entire forests have been cut down to make furniture, so this is our way of doing our part to preserve nature. I like finding unique metal trinkets and I use a lot of parts from cars and engines, but the last thing I want to do is take something that a car enthusiast or restorer could use. I usually take parts that they would consider unusable and restore them so you wouldn’t know they’re damaged and give them a new life.”
While the company does have a website and a page on Etsy.com, Lindebaum said that the bulk of his sales come from boutique shows. He attributes this largely to customers being able to directly interact with him and with the product.
“Sure the lamps look good in pictures and online, but this product has so much more of an effect when you’re standing in front of it and touching it,” he said. “We hired some people to build us a website and they advertised to try to capture an audience online and it really didn’t do well. In this day and age I think being able to connect on a personal level with a product and the people who made it is such a big motivating factor in purchasing, and that’s something we get at the craft shows.”
The Lindebaums generally aim for at least one craft show per month. They have recently begun selling their products in three stores in Santa Clarita and Los Angeles, with plans to try to expand into more stores.
“I think the neatest thing about making these lamps is that they’re all unique and that people can take them home and proudly say that no one else has this piece,” Lindebaum said. “I don’t really have a favorite piece because every lamp I sell that someone has a connection to and buys becomes my new favorite.”