Tinkering Monkey first started as a blog to share our love of making things. We turned it into an online shop when people started to request the items that they saw us make. From the start, we promised ourselves one thing - to work with our hands and make things in small batches.
Everything you see in our shop was designed and carefully built by us‚ right in the garage of our tiny, century-old house our historic work/live loft in sunny Oakland, CA. Love hand-crafted goods built to last? We’ve got lots to share.
Mike is a DIY enthusiast that believes that if something can be built, modified, or invented, then it should be. Mike grew up in Georgia shootin' guns and cow tipping, but now lives a much safer life as an industrial designer in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Sales and Support
Eunice Hernandez recently joined our team, and expands our tiny studio to a whopping three people. Contact us anytime, she'll likely be the first to answer your questions.
Tinkering Monkey is located at The Cotton Mill, a brick-and-timber warehouse space in Oakland, CA. The warehouse was originally a cotton mill that began in 1883 and became the largest textile mill operation west of the Mississippi. We share the building with an eclectic group of artists, designers, and businesses.
Fun fact: We live where we work. Our loft is zoned for commercial and residential use, and there's a single wall separating our workshop from our living space. Not a bad thing when you love what you do for a living.
Top photo by lacunha
Mike is born in Mountain View, CA.
Paula is born in San Jose, CA.
Mike moves to rural Georgia. He grows up with no television or video games. What he did have was wide open spaces, access to power tools and his imagination. Mike's childhood was filled with DIY tandem bicycles, three story tree houses, and occasionally playing with fire (literally).
Paula plays piano for the first time, and continues to play for the next ten years. Her love for art and music grows faster than her parents can keep up with.
Paula gets her first high school job doing data processing for a real estate agent. She vows to never work in a cubicle again.
Mike works a summer job at a chicken processing factory, organizing more than fifteen years’ worth of files in a sweltering, steel warehouse in Georgia.
Mike studies Industrial Design at San Jose State and lives a life of extreme self-reliance. He learns how to weld, edit video, swap his own transmission, and forego television for hours of YouTube how-to tutorials.
Paula studies Graphic Design at San Jose State and meets roommate Eunice, who now manages sales.
Mike and Paula meet at the Maker Faire. Make Magazine even wrote about the encounter.
Mike and Paula adopt Boris, a 1971 VW bus.
Mike and Paula start to travel the world. They visit Spain, China, Japan, Sweden, and Denmark over the next few years finding inspiration in the most unexpected places.
Tinkering Monkey is born in a one car garage in Burlingame, CA. The website is designed in an hour, and it launches with three products.
Mike is laid off from his full time job as an industrial designer at Smart Design, where he did much of their prototyping work. Instead of looking for a new job, he turns his focus on building Tinkering Monkey.
Mike proposes to Paula in Hawaii. They're engaged!
The laser cutter arrives at the house in a freight truck. It's three times larger than expected, and doesn't fit in the house. They pack up and move across the bay.
Tinkering Monkey moves into the Cotton Mill Studios in sunny Oakland, CA. Within a few weeks of moving, they host the first of many fun open studios nights.
The first Stand for Square™ is sold. It was a breakthrough success, and showed them that they are going a step in the right direction. They struggle to keep up with demand.
They are introduced to Bill, a woodworker less than two miles of us in Alameda, CA. He helps make parts for the Stand for Square™. Tinkering Monkey starts to catch up with orders.
Paula leaves her full time job as lead interactive designer at Omada Health. She is sad to leave, but excited about dedicating more time to Tinkering Monkey.
Eunice Hernandez joins our team to manage customer support. She just so happens to be a talented animator.
The 500th Stand for Square™ is sold! Mike and Paula jump with joy imagining our handmade product used in small businesses across the country.