Derek Silverio: Lifted Industry
In a way that is unique only to him, he’s a gentleman who can not only captivate you in conversation, but can entrance the oh-so darting human eye with his gorgeously engineered vape products. His work ethic is engrained in his DNA and his vision emanates something that is simple, cool, and bold and embodies the essence of a household favorite, Bruce Lee. Have we piqued your curiosity yet? Derek Silverio is the founder of Lifted Industry and the story of how the brand became and has evolved into the beauty it is today, unravels below for you to explore!
What was the deciding factor for you to join this particular industry?
I had the great fortune of being able to choose my path between 2 clear options: One would be to further advance my trajectory within the corporate world of consumer electronics, while the other would be to build upon my current successes and dive head first into something self-created. I believe every industrial designer sees themselves as a brand or business owner at some point in their career. It is part of our DNA as we are involved in the creation of mass produced objects. The moment that I and 40 others were part of a “workforce reduction”, I immediately devised plans to fuse my two passions, industrial design and cannabis, into what we now call Lifted Industry. Both industrial design and cannabis have the ability to enhance peoples’ lives in tremendous ways. The intersection of personal health and technology is fascinating to me. I believe there isn’t a single person in the entire world better equipped than me to combine these two things and that’s where my passion and drive comes from.
Both industrial design and cannabis have the ability to enhance peoples’ lives in tremendous ways. The intersection of personal health and technology is fascinating to me.
What were you doing before engaging in Lifted Industry?
For 5 years prior to Lifted Industry I had the great honor of managing a talented team of 9 graphic, industrial, and soft case designers across 3 business units with over 6 different brands some of which included designed video game controllers and accessories for Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo. We also designed toys and mobile products for brands like Skylanders, Star Wars, Star Trek and Pokémon. Moreover, we also created our own line of Bluetooth mobile gaming controllers and premium headphones for gaming and music. We did this all soup-to-nuts – from sketches to prototypes to production in China. Thinking back, I am always amazed about how much great work we pulled off in such short periods of times!
Previous to that, I worked within numerous multidisciplinary design and engineering teams that created automatic external defibrillators, medical ultrasounds, digital multi-meters, and tradeshow booths to name just a few.
Tell us about the point in the time you realized the coming of the ‘green rush’?
I think just being from Seattle I was always immersed in the culture, but the tipping point really came after Washington legalized. Cannabis became an even larger part of the nationwide vernacular and I saw more and more people in the professional world opening up and communicating about it good, bad, or otherwise. I know I am just one of many professionals from the consumer product world who is “crossing over” so I am excited to see the emerging talent and awesome ideas around the corner!
Cannabis became an even larger part of the nationwide vernacular and I saw more and more people in the professional world opening up and communicating about it good, bad, or otherwise.
Right now, where are you guiding your passion and energy towards?
Right now, I am focusing all of my energy and passion into our crowdfunding campaign to launch our first product, the RIZE personal vaporizer, a completely customizable, versatile, and rugged vaporizer for all of your vaping needs. We have a unique perspective in implementing user-centered research and design into the product development process, a first with these types of products. We are looking at the entire experience and putting people at the forefront of it all. We are on a mission to humanize the form and function of consumer products in the cannabis industry and vaporizers are only the beginning… We designed the RIZE to be a lasting and quality solution that lives within an open architecture for e-liquid, oil, wax, other extracts and dry herb.
Describe your work ethic to me in one word.
Who is a person that you consider as a role model? Maybe someone who has been a mentor to you? Why and how did this person impact your life?
Aside from my parents who have fully shaped my atoms from day 1 and have served as shining examples of the American dream, I would say Bruce Lee, or actually the embodiment and spirit that is Bruce Lee. He is the reason I began training in martial arts at a very young age. I tried to apply as much of his perspective and style into all of my work. We at Lifted Industry want our products to embody this essence of cool, simplistic, and bold confidence.
What book have you read that you’ve been inspired by? Any particular read we should put on our list?
To be honest, I haven’t read a book in ages! I swear though I have enough life stories to write my own book every year 😉
Tell me about an esteemed achievement of yours.
I think just getting Lifted Industry off the ground and doing it the way I always envisioned is a great achievement of mine. I keep a laminated card with “starting a company, or brand” as one of my professional goals in my wallet. It’s been one of my dreams for a while now and it just so happens it coincides with this “green rush”
What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
The best advice that I have consistently used is to have my own genuine, point-of-view and to stand by it. I apply this to design when it comes to shaping the way objects look and feel. I am in an always evolving process of defining what “cool” is, or what cool is supposed to be in the near future as it relates to the products I am designing. I want to design things that capture a certain emotion or feeling in a physical form. And because of the very permanent nature and short lifespan process of manufactured goods, you need to have a lasting and unique design perspective to set yourself apart from the rest of the pack. The design ethos, engineering, marketing, and everything else within a company is always more compelling when delivered with a unique personality and perspective. I always try to answer the question: “What does this product say and how do I want someone to feel using it?”
I am in an always evolving process of defining what “cool” is, or what cool is supposed to be in the near future as it relates to the products I am designing. I want to design things that capture a certain emotion or feeling in a physical form.
What is the most important thing for us to know now about the legal marijuana industry?
I believe that there is still a huge education and awareness gap from all parts of the ecosystem. From our point of view we meet people all over who have a lot of confusion about how to consume cannabis and the varied delivery methods. Safety and transparency of information are key to any product, but especially in one that can alter your mood and physical well-being. People in legal states have little clue to the vast amount of good that this plant can provide medically, recreationally, and otherwise.
If we are sitting across from each other a year from now, how will our conversation about the ‘green rush’ be going?
I think a year from now there will only be more of everything; Any product or service will have a cannabis counterpart with many leading brands whereas, there might only be a couple or few today. We live in a fast paced business environment where everything becomes rushed and sometimes rushing can lead to unfortunate results. There is something to be said about slowing the design and development process down, researching and testing, learning from users and taking the time to continuously improve. I think the same goes for the cannabis industry in terms of its momentum. I am confident that there will be more innovation, education and a respectful caution for the journey that brought the industry to this point today.