Sharon Celek Kevil walked into her kitchen and froze. Her then 7-year-old daughter stood atop a bar stool, reaching into the cabinet for her husband’s stash … of Mike and Ike candy. “Thank God it wasn’t CBD or pharmaceuticals,” she says.
But what if it was?
This inspired the Fox Point interior designer to launch Forti Goods: solid-wood furnishings sporting a lock mechanism to safely tuck away, well, the types of things you might want to tuck away. Prescription drugs. Jewelry. Important papers. And perhaps, pot.
The need for a secure place to keep things was reinforced when Celek Kevil’s parents struggled with chronic illness and a flurry of care workers entered and exited the home.
The line debuted in late 2020 and consists of eight styles. Prices range from $1,850 (for the Grace side table) to $4,050 (for the Geraldine Entertainer). The Entertainer buffets and cabinets, of which there are four, are large enough for wine or liquor bottles. Two coffee tables and two side tables each complete the collection. “Our side tables are meant to be seen from all sides and float around the room,” Celek Kevil says, and double as nightstands.
A locking mechanism that you operate using an app with a programmable passcode – or a temporary passcode to allow one-time access – makes contents completely safe. And it’s battery powered, so no tripping over unsightly power cords (although you will have to recharge the battery). And oh, the storage spaces are equipped with replaceable carbon filters to control scents, just in case you’re storing something that has a particular odor.
While the largest share of Forti Goods’ customer base remains cannabis enthusiasts, a growing portion is made up of Airbnb owners. While renting out their properties to strangers, they can safely store valuables. Interior designers also love Forti Goods’ design sensibility, which Celek Kevil calls “Scandinavian and California modern aesthetic.” She sells through a trade program for designers, and – for the public – a pop-up shop and her website (fortigoods.com). “Safe and secure storage for the modern home” has become her often-used buzz phrase when marketing.
Celek Kevil’s career had taken her to manufacturing factories in China and Vietnam, and exposed her to the industry’s dark side, with minimal transparency to the consumer and the potential for exploiting labor and fair wages.
“Ultimately, I thought there’s a way to make furniture that’s not ‘fast furniture,’” Celek Kevil says, that can survive a few moves and more than a few years. This led her to reject contracting with those overseas manufacturers, despite their lower prices. “I believe we need to make things on the continent where we’re using them,” she says. To that end, she works with two Wisconsin manufacturers.
“The fact that it’s sustainable is the icing on the cake,” says Celek Kevil. “[Customers] know that the money they’re spending on this piece of furniture is going to last. There wasn’t harm for the people or the planet.”