In October 2017, Sarah and Daniel Mirth opened a pop-up shop in New York City to showcase ARTIFOX: their line of minimalist home and office products. Guided by the notion of “less but better,” ARTIFOX products are made to be adaptable for modern urban professionals while maintaining a clean, simple aesthetic. Crowds of urbanites raved about the elegance of ARTIFOX’s DESK 02, RACK, and SHELF on display at Canal Street Market.
Admirers initially thought these designs came from the coast—perhaps Los Angeles or San Francisco. But New Yorkers were stunned to discover that ARTIFOX was a product of Downtown St. Louis.
“People couldn’t believe we built ARTIFOX without investors and still had a house to live in and an affordable workspace in Downtown St. Louis,” says ARTIFOX co-founder and CEO Sarah Mirth. “The coasts are only a flight away.”
ARTIFOX—the name comes from the idea of reinventing everyday things, clever artifacts—launched in 2014 when Dan Mirth fused his industrial and graphic design skills to build his own work desk by hand. A notorious neat freak, Dan wanted a workspace that was simple, yet equipped for productivity in the digital age. The result was “DESK 01,” a simple (but not simplistic), durable desk, seamlessly compatible with phones, tablets, cords, and more.
What started as a personal project quickly escalated into a mainstream frenzy the moment DESK 01 went live in a global product competition.
“We started receiving emails from people all over the world,” says Sarah Mirth. “It was a surreal experience.”
Later that year ARTIFOX also received an Arch Grant, adding even more momentum to the startup. Today Sarah, Dan, and team operate out of T-REX—however, the brand is a bit of an anomaly in the space given that it’s not a tech company.
Over the past decade, the vast majority of Downtown’s startup scene has been comprised of digital products and services. ARTIFOX relies on the web for storytelling and ecommerce, but it’s their products’ divergence from the digital space that has enabled the brand to carve out a niche for itself.
In an age of customization, young professionals—particularly those who work remotely—are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with mass produced workspace products. They want a workspace that aligns with their vision: clear, purposeful, and all their own. That’s where ARTIFOX comes in—and they’re onto something.
Their smart and stylish products have been featured in WIRED, Gear Patrol, and HYPEBEAST, to name a few. Sony Pictures and Lululemon are even clients. You know you’ve made it when Fortune 500 brands are buying your furniture.
“You don’t need to build an app or software to have a successful business,” says Sarah Mirth. “At a fundamental level, success is about solving problems. Some people do that with technology—we do it with minimalist workspace products.”
Of course, innovative ideas and savvy insights are crucial ingredients for any successful business. But ARTIFOX doesn’t shy away from crediting Downtown St. Louis’ role in their rise to prominence.
“The Downtown community gave us confidence in our mission to create better home and office spaces,” says Sarah Mirth. “Between the energy, the people, and flexibility, there was never a moment when we didn’t feel empowered to forge our own path.”
Browse the ARTIFOX collection here.