KILLSPENCER® started as a personal project of Spencer Nikosey, an industrial designer based out of Los Angeles CA, to locally craft the perfect sustainable and waterproof backpack. A craftsman at heart, striving to bring a high level of performance, functionality, and quality to everything he touches, Nikosey’s project quickly blossomed into a full time business.
Made in U.S.A., all products are designed and manufactured out of their new Silverlake Workshop by a small team of master craftsmen and women. Constantly on the search for innovative materials and processes, whether new or historical, KILLSPENCER® is dedicated to making products that will last the test of time.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do. I’m a design entrepreneur and owner and founder of KILLSPENCER, an interdisciplinary brand, leather factory, storefront and design firm. We design, develop, manufacture and ship luxury leather products all around the world.
How has living in Los Angeles affected your work? Los Angeles is an amazing place — all of our products are made here locally. We have so many super talented creatives in this city and being able to collaborate with them on many levels has made the journey that much better.
What’s your absolute favorite place in the world to be? Fukuoka, a little surf town in Southern Japan. The community revolves around a lot of advanced development, which is really inspiring to be a part of. It is my place to retreat and work on new stuff with no distractions.
What are some recent, upcoming or current projects you are working on? We have a lot of exciting things in the pipeline and are always looking to create new and innovating products for our customers. We just launched our KILLSPENCER x Snarkitecture Indoor Mini Basketball Kit, which revamped a signature item from our athletics collection. We also collaborated with photographer Van Styles on a special edition leather camera wrist strap, which merges both of our passions for minimalist and durable design.
Where do you plan to travel next? Bali. Japan. French Alps. Breckenridge, Colorado. Malibu.
What was your first paying job? My first paying job was designing a logo for a Japanese restaurant when I was 14 years old. I’ve been working in design for a very long time.
What do you collect? I currently spend all of my extra money on instruments. I have drums, keyboards, guitars, basses, electronic instruments, wind instruments — they’re all so much fun to play around with. I’ve been playing drums since I was 11 and music is deep in my blood. Whatever time I have away from KILLSPENCER is spent tinkering on loops and beats. I also have a crazy collection of machines at our workshop.
Describe your current studio or workspace. We currently have a 2,200 square foot storefront and workshop, which we designed and built from scratch. We have a hardworking team of 13 people including master artisans who handcraft all of our goods from start to finish. We also have an operations and design team in the mezzanine section of our studio. I love having customers come into our store and see the craftsmanship that goes into what they’re buying.
How long have you lived in Los Angeles and what brought you there? I was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley and have always lived around different parts of LA. I moved to Silverlake about five years ago; I was inspired by a Daniel Lanois song, “Power Of One,” where he talks about Echo Park being his Jamaica in Los Angeles. It’s a very special neighborhood filled with tons of artists and creators.
What do you want a viewer to walk away with after experiencing your work? We make amazingly high quality products that people are proud to own. We use the best leathers, patented military spec metal hardware and parts from around the world. Zippers from Switzerland, buckles from Austria. When you see, touch, and smell our products, you cannot help but notice the attention to detail, level of craft and functionality in every single one of our designs.
What were you like in high school? Athletic, musical, and artistic.
Favorite place to shop? Anywhere that sells rare or vintage instruments.
Can you share one of the best or worst reactions you have gotten as a result of your work? Some people can’t believe how cheap the products are, and some people can’t believe how expensive the products are.