Peter Jacobs on passion at the GRAM


GVL / Max Ritchie

Colleen Garcia, Staff Writer

Peter Jacobs, the creator of design firm Peter Jacobs Kind Creative, explained how he found his passion for furniture making as a part of the Grand Rapids Art Museum’s Visionnaire Series on Jan. 13, 2022. 

When he was little, Jacobs played with Legos and drew diagrams. These hobbies he enjoyed as a kid set him on a path that would take him to the Kendall College of Arts and Design (KCAD).

When entering the workforce and creating his company, Jacobs described how difficult it is to ask for help from young entrepreneurs.

“I’m a perfectionist, and I like to learn how to do things perfectly for myself,” Jacobs said. “Instead of showing people that I have imperfections or that I have gaps or that I can’t do things.”

This makes reaching out for help difficult for Jacobs, but he explained how pride always gets in the way of asking for help. Through his experience with internships and studying at KCAD, he learned that asking for help from better and more experienced people is essential to improving oneself. 

“Reach out to someone who is much better than you in a category and make them your hero,” Jacobs said. “Eventually you’ll teach yourself some skills from them.”

Jacobs designs throughout all of his companies. He is creating innovative furniture and developing innovative strategies for his co-company Michigan house, The Cakabakery. 

“If you see a process of behavior that is not working, you should change that process, and design will get you there,” Jacobs said. 

He explains that design flows throughout his company and helps ensure that each company works coherently and uses different forms of innovation to find the problems within the company. 

“Design is the way to get you there because you have to work around all of that bad stuff,” Jacobs said.

Jacobs said that being an entrepreneur is complex and doesn’t come without its share of struggles and hardships. According to Jacobs if it was too easy, then everyone would do it.

“Struggle is essential,” Jacobs said. “Good kind of difficulties have you struggling towards something you believe in and not against your best interest.” 

Jacobs concluded the presentation by sharing his hardships and process to success within the furniture-making industry. After creating a company and co-owning two, along with his internships and volunteer work, Jacobs has created a legacy within Grand Rapids community that will continue to grow.