It’s not a big surprise that Ben Jenkins, the head of the design firm One Fast Buffalo would love Airstreams. He describes his internal roadmap as being “… about aligning work with life in a way that nurtures your creative engine and supports longevity of creative output.”
After ten years of expanding office space and too many meetings, he radically changed his business model: work from virtual offices, from September 1 to June 1, with summers off to play. “Burnout is absolutely avoidable if you fill your days with experiences that matter to you and fuel your work. Don’t separate life and art,” Jenkins says.
One significant catalyst in merging his art and his life has been his 1958 Flying Cloud, part of his refined vision since 2009, and a thing he calls “part of the family.” Jenkins found a kindred design soul, Eric Stoltz, to refurbish the trailer, which took 15 months. “Eric is minimalist, and I think that’s what makes him good. He does not overdo things. But he does all the small details right.”
Getting the trailer right and getting Jenkins’ mind right were parallel paths: he is a surfer and a fly fisherman, and his early work-burnout years didn’t afford him the time to find himself again in those pursuits. The Airstream opened up time. “I wanted to find a way to work where I could spend long periods of time near the outdoor activities I wanted to get good at: surfing and fly fishing. Not to mention I have three sons, ages now 12, 9, and 7. I wanted them to get more perspective and spend more quality time with them.”
Time Management by 8s
Since he’s owned the trailer, he’s used it for expeditions long and short, both as office and retreat. Dallas is home, but the road is where his mind opens. “We make an annual summer trek that generally takes us West. We go from Texas to the California coast most years and get right to surfing. Then at some point we turn back east and start the fly-fishing phase of the trip,” Jenkins says. “I keep a simple time management idea in mind: 8-8-8. Sleep eight hours, work eight hours, play eight hours. So that eight hours of play is spent doing exactly what we enjoy most.”
Jenkins has managed to use travel and solitude as a way to connect to his muse, and the Airstream has been his partner. “Choosing Airstream over other brands was pretty simple: as a designer I think Airstream is the only one that really gets what good design is all about.”
Jenkins’s design talents stretch beyond marketing and branding for corporate clients. He was a minor leaguer in the Philadelphia Phillies organization, and his other company, Warstic, makes bats and equipment now getting recognition from major and minor league players.
Baseball, buffalo and Airstreams—what’s more American than that?
–By Tom Bentley