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Honesty & Design With Joey Cofone

Co-Founder/CEO of Baron Fig |  New York, NY

When asked who he is, Joey Cofone explained, “I am curious and willing. I try a lot of things. A lot of things work, and a lot of things don’t. That’s what I like to fill my life with.” Luckily for him, one of those things did work. Joey is the co-founder/CEO of Baron Fig, a company that designs “tools for thinkers” such as notebooks, writing tools, backpacks, and more. While he believes that most things in life occur out of his control, Joey has several practices that keeps him scheduled, grounded, and equipped for success.


Designing with Truth

Joey has a hunger for trying new things and finds inspiration all around him. He often visits crowded spaces to people watch, or abandoned places to think about what once was.


“The whole world is amazing and can be inspiring. It depends on your mindset.”


Once Joey finds inspiration, his design process is all about honesty. He likes to pay attention to how he truly reacts to his work, rather than focusing on what he thinks about it. When creating, he asks himself, “Am I excited? Am I curious? Or am I disinterested?” Joey shared, “When I design, I try to pay attention to the truth of my inner self. Design is an introspective process.” This is what he calls “designing with truth in the moment.”


“I believe that honesty is key, and it’s at the heart of good design, good communication, and good life living.”


The Birth of Baron Fig

When Joey was in art school, he noticed that everyone had two tools: a laptop and a notebook. All the laptops were the same, but each notebook was different. He thought to himself, “Maybe there’s some perfect thing that everyone is searching for.” He had the idea to create a product line, but it wasn’t until his friend, and now co-founder, encouraged him by saying, “Stop thinking about it. Let’s do it.”  It took a combination of conviction, discipline, trust, and passion to create Baron Fig. While most people think leaving their job to try something new is risky, Joey believes that life isn’t about staying comfortable but rather pushing yourself and pursuing ideas.


“I think people are unreasonable in the way that they measure their risk.”


A Blank Slate

According to Joey, Baron Fig was the result of “a lot of serendipitous things coming together.” Joey believes that life is a combination of chaos and luck, and that we’re a result of our experiences. “We are born a blank slate, then that slate is filled up through our experiences, and those experiences are from external catalysts that we don’t have control of.” Thinking this way keeps Joey humble, and excited for the unknown future.


“You are a result of things you don’t have control of.”


Every Minute of Every Day

Joey’s daily schedule, however, is something he likes to stay in control of. “Every minute of my day from 5:45am to 6:00pm is scheduled,” explained Joey. He feels great when his day is meticulously planned, but he also doesn’t resist change when something unscheduled occurs. After six o’clock, however, his calendar is always left empty. “Free time is critical. There is no such thing as delaying your gratification, satisfaction or your chill time.”


“My chill time is planned by being unplanned.”


Practicing Discipline

Along with making time for relaxation, Joey also journals and goes to the gym. “It’s another way to meditate.” When he doesn’t feel like doing either, he forces himself to try because “It’s not always about quality; sometimes it’s about quantity.” Journaling and working out, like practicing any habit, is all about discipline. It’s better to do it a little bit, than to not do it at all.


“It’s more of the process than the result.”


Joey’s Questions for KYŌ:

  • What do I want to be better at?
  • What am I doing today?
  • When am I doing it?

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