We had the good fortune of connecting with Brian Kirk and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Brian, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I can’t say I set out to start a business. It’s more like I was struck by an exciting idea, and felt compelled to act on it. Exciting ideas have a tendency to drive me crazy if I don’t do something about them, so acting on these ideas helps bring me peace of mind. It’s also what provides my life with purpose.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
The product I’ve designed is called the Ballast Beach Pillow. Here’s how it came about. I was laying on the beach a couple of years ago, wishing I had something more comfortable to lay my head on than a crumpled towel, when I decided to shop for a beach pillow. After about thirty minutes of searching online, I was shocked to discover that beach pillows didn’t exist. How was this possible? I knew a traditional stuffed pillow wouldn’t work, as it would get ruined in the salt water and sand. And inflatable outdoor pillows are so lightweight, they’d get blown away on a windy beach. The key was to find a way to hold a pillow down without incorporating weight, because nobody wants to lug something heavy around. That’s when I got the idea for the Ballast Beach Pillow: a soft, weather resistant pillow with an attached pouch that you can fill with a small scoop of sand to temporarily weigh it down. Voila! This simple, nature-inspired, solution allows us to have what we’ve always wanted (what we’ve always deserved!): a pillow for the beach. Or, as I call it, a nap enhancer. Creating something that has never existed before is incredibly challenging, and fraught with obstacles. Solving problems as they arise is a critical part of the creative process, so it’s something I’ve learned to embrace, if not enjoy. What initially seems like a problem is almost always an opportunity for improvement. The Ballast Beach Pillow is all about helping make life just a bit more comfortable and relaxing. That’s what we hope to provide for people: comfort and relaxation.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
It would certainly depend on the friend, but what I personally like best about Atlanta are the neighborhood music and art festivals. While the city is pretty much shut down at the moment, the spirit of community is still alive in my neighborhood, with neighbors putting on front porch concerts that are conducive for social distancing. If a friend came now, we’d probably get some takeout from my favorite neighborhood joint, The Albert, go on some hikes, and raft down the Chattahoochee. Evenings would be on our front porch, listening to my talented neighbors play tunes.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My father-in-law Tom Thomasma has been instrumental in helping me pursue my passions, and is partnering with me on this new business venture.
Photography by Brittany Wages.