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Austin-based company is selling Instagram-friendly cookware for a new generation of cooks |

Austin-based company is selling Instagram-friendly cookware for a new generation of cooks

Not every cook loves to spend hours in Bed Bath and Beyond picking out pots and pans.

An Austin-based company is taking a millennial-minded, direct-to-consumer approach to selling the tools you need to make dinner.

Made In selling pots and pans that are shipped to your house. Many shoppers buy them in bundles that include several different
types of cookware. Contributed by Made In.

By selling online only,
Made In founders Jake Kalick and Chip Malt knew that they could appeal to customers who were already buying eyeglasses, razors and
underwear through the internet.

But why pots and pans?

The easy answer is that Kalick grew up in the cookware industry. His grandparents started
Harbour, a Boston-based commercial foodservice company, in the 1920s. He and Malt have known each other since they were 5 years old
and growing up in Boston, but they stayed in touch as they started their careers.

Kalick worked in food, first in restaurants and then for his family’s business. Malt was working for a direct-to-consumer
apparel company and had millennials’ buying habits on his mind.

“Have you ever thought about kitchen tools?” he asked Kalick one day a few years ago.

That was the start of what became Made In. Over two years, the friends-turned-business partners dug into the supply chain
to find U.S. manufacturers to products the sauce and saute pans they wanted to sell. Kalick knew the markups that were built
into the price of the familiar brands, such as All-Clad, so he knew they could increase the quality — and keep manufacturing
in the U.S. — by selling to customers directly. Pots and pans might be heavy, but they are relatively easy to ship.

But before they started designing the product line, the company surveyed 100 cooks about what they knew and didn’t know about
pots and pans. “Nobody had brand affinity and everyone was waiting until they were married” to buy them, Kalick says. Customers
didn’t want the handles to get hot and they didn’t like the current handles on the market, so they engineered slightly slimmer
handles that don’t get so hot.

With bright colors and thoughtful design, Made In is trying to capture the millennial market of cooks who need kitchen gear.
Contributed by Made In.

The founders say it was an easy decision to base their company in Austin. They looked at Los Angeles and Miami, but Kalick
says the thriving start-up and food communities in Austin — “the Brooklyn of America,” he says. They moved here in early 2017
and, by September, they were shipping pots and pans across the country.

Having spent so much time in the cookware industry, Kalick puts an emphasis on transparency around what the pans are made
of and where the materials come from. “Transparency is a big thing for direct to consumer in general, which is why we explain
why we source 430 stainless steel from Kentucky or 304 (stainless steel) from Pennsylvania that has nickel that helps resist

Kalick might have the background in cookware, but Malt says he considers himself the target demographic: He cooks three times
a week and doesn’t shy away from calling himself a “foodie.” He still eats at restaurants but also entertains at home.

But selling cookware to millennials is quite different than selling clothing. “In the apparel world, our primary problem was
to have people trade away from brands they already love. In this space, it’s a completely different challenge. You go to a
23-year-old and say ‘All-Clad,’ they give you a blank stare.”

Some of the pots and pans from Made In have a traditional look, but they are designed to compete with the high-end brands
on the market. Contributed by Made In.

Millennials might not be buying homes as fast as generations before them, but they are investing in the stuff in their homes,
Malt says, and they are always looking for an excuse to get together. When the founders both lived in New York City after
college, they hosted monthly dinner parties for their friends. Food was how they kept their friendship going as they both
worked for other companies.

“One of our big missions is bringing back the dinner party,” says Kalick. “We want to encourage people to host get-togethers.
Some of the most fun nights are going to a dinner party to eat and drink and with someone who does it right.”

That’s when the pots and pans come in. Although experienced cooks like Malt and Kalick can differentiate between high-end
and low-end cookware, many beginning cooks can’t. But having good gear “helps you look like you know what you’re doing,” Kalick

Twenty- and thirty-something cooks aren’t the only shoppers who need new pots and pans, of course. Even if the prices might
seem high to first-time buyers (
$79 for a 10-inch non-stick frying pan,
$155 for an 8-quart stock pot), Baby Boomers who already have some high-end gear in their kitchen see value in Made In’s induction-capable product line,
Malt says.

A nice set of pots and pans is something that many people used to wait until they got married to buy, but millennials are
changing American buying habits, including cookware. Contributed by Made In.

Within the general categories of stock pot, saute pans, saucier, sauce pan and frying pan, the company sells about 30 different
products in various colors, sizes and finishes, and the majority of sales come from the kits that bundle several pans together.

One question they often get is about the safety of non-stick pans. Malt says the fear of nonstick coating is outdated. Decades
ago, American consumers heard a lot about a Teflon as a possible carcinogen, but
the specific chemical that was of concern — PFOA — is no longer used in Teflon, he says.

However, the concern over Teflon helped the industry find better ways to create a nonstick surface that doesn’t chip or scratch
as easily. Made In works with a company in Pennsylvania, which applies three coats of an FDA-approved PTFE, which creates
a durable nonstick surface that won’t easily scratch or chip.

Because Malt and Kalick are making Instagram-worthy cooking gear for an Instagram-loving generation, the pans come in several
colors, including options for blue and graphic nonstick options. They’ll eventually sell chef’s knives and other kitchen gear,
but for now, look out for a specialty cookware line this fall featuring designs from the Austin-based illustrator Will Bryant.

Each Made In pan comes with a recipe etched onto the bottom. Contributed by Made In.

All Made In pots and pans come with a recipe on the bottom, which might seem like an odd place to put a recipe that you might
need to reference while you’re cooking, but Malt says the recipe becomes a talking point for cooks.

“I can’t remember when I looked at the bottom of the pan and had any feeling at all,” Malt says. “It sparks conversation.
We just wanted to do something different. We didn’t start this business to do things the way people have always done it.”

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