Whimsical itsahook is Designed in Brooklyn and Made in Wisconsin

By Jeffrey Bonior
Feb 23 2024 |
“I have been lucky to work with people that have skills I don’t possess,” said Zac Feltoon, creator of itsahook. “By working with an American manufacturer, I am able to meet them face to face and get a quality product… I think for designers, the closer you can get to the manufacturing floor the more you will learn, and that cycle makes you a better designer.” Photos by Drew Gurian

The sleek wall hook is the latest creation from industrial designer Zac Feltoon, who turned to CR Industries to make his product.

A first look at Zac Feltoon’s steel wall hanging frequently elicits the question: “What is that?”

The answer: “itsahook.”

An itsahook is a cylindrical wall hook that was designed so that you can hang your coat or other clothes on it without damaging your garments with an indentation that typically comes with the use of a traditional wall hook.

Feltoon, an industrial designer in Brooklyn, N.Y., created itsahook for its practical utilization. In addition to a haven for clothing, itsahook can also be used for hanging most any object that has straps or a curved structure. A purse, briefcase, headphones, hat or any type of ropelike or cord material fits conveniently around topside of the itsahook.

The preferred hanging location – and where Feltoon has placed one of his – is just inside the entranceway door of your home. It is convenient for draping your coat over when you walk in the door, and it also has a 2 1/4-inch space on the inside bottom to house your keys or other small essential items.

When not used to hang coats or clothing, the exposed inside section of the itsahook sports what looks to be a happy smiling face. The two screws that attach the itsahook to the wall mounting plates serve as eyes and the cutout on the bottom half combine to form a “D” emoticon.

Itsahook is a simple but multifaceted product that just might produce a similar smile from its users as they head out the door to start their day.

“You have a brief interaction with it every day and you might walk out the door every day with a smile,” Feltoon said. “You can’t help but connect to it.

“I’ve got one that is covered in clothes right now, and that is what I think is so cool about living with it. Sometimes it’s covered in clothes, and you don’t notice it. Then the clothes come off or the jackets come off and that smile is there again.”

Feltoon has designed many products, but itsahook marks his initial foray into the world of just-in-time manufacturing. After an intense Google search, he found a Wisconsin manufacturer that could facilitate both his production and shipping needs.

CR Industries (CRI), a metal fabricator in Cudahy, Wis., was able to provide the exact 11-gauge steel tubing that is cut into sections to create the itsahook. Feltoon needed someone who could oversee everything end-to-end from raw material to shipping a packaged product to consumers.

CRI was able to turn Feltoon’s design into a finished product in less than three weeks, and it hit the market in late November just in time to reach holiday shoppers.

“CRI was the perfect partner for me and the itsahook,” Feltoon said. “I turned to that corridor in the Midwest between Chicago and Milwaukee where there are so many more manufacturing opportunities than Brooklyn. There are also a lot of metal or steel fabricators and that’s how I found CRI.

“I have been lucky to work with people that have skills I don’t possess. By working with an American manufacturer, I am able to meet them face to face and get a quality product. Once I came up with the design, that was only part of what it takes to launch a product.”

The steel tubing is a product called Drawn Over Mandrel (DOM) that is powder coated at CRI. DOM is often mistakenly called “seamless tube” because the seam is hard to detect. It provides a clean look for the cut pieces used in the manufacturing of itsahook.

Itsahook has a diameter of 4 inches with a wall gauge thickness of .125 inches. It can hold up to 30 pounds of hanging objects and will always do it with a smile.

Feltoon earned a Bachelor of Industrial Design degree from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. He shares his design knowledge today with part-time teaching of industrial design at prestigious Parsons at the New School in Manhattan.

Feltoon first became interested in design at the age of 13 when he came down to the kitchen for his morning bowl of Cheerios.

“At 13, I had no concept of industrial design whatsoever,” Feltoon said. “But I had an epiphany of Honey Nut Cheerios when I ate a spoonful with a spoon my father had brought home from his architectural practice.

“Growing up we had the same set of stainless-steel silverware that I used every single morning so when I unknowingly used a spoon that I did not use every single day, I tried to figure out why these Cheerios tasted so good. That morning, just that one thing was different. It allowed me to focus on self-awareness. It got me in the direction of trying to break down a lot of the world that I lived in.”

Feltoon has explored many facets of industrial design and has developed a way of looking at things that most people do not possess. He is still relying on his keen eye as he learns about the varying details of product manufacturing.

“This project is the first one that I have had an interest in manufacturing,” said Feltoon. “I naturally wanted to work with American manufacturers and people I could meet face-to-face. The quality of American manufacturing has become important in what I design.

“I think for designers, the closer you can get to the manufacturing floor the more you will learn, and that cycle makes you a better designer.

“It all started because I didn’t want a little dent in my clothing. But every time I leave, I take my coat off the hook and it’s dynamic. You take your coat off of the itsahook and there’s the smile and because of that every day I am walking out of my house smiling.

“It’s going to make you feel good. You smile after you’ve looked at it 1,000 times and you are still getting it so it’s pretty cool.”

Itsahook can be ordered through the Zac Feltoon Design website and comes in five colors – red, white, blue, black and matte black. Itsahook retails for $39.