Interview with Box Clever Founder, Bret Recor: Building on a disruptive model of modern, decor driven cookware

October 17, 2023 • Posted by Design Bay Area

Box Clever is an international design team based in San Francisco, founded by Bret Recor, specializing in Industrial Design, Product Strategy, Brand Identity and Entreprenuership focused on creating purpose driven creative and financial impact. Box Clever has been recognized by Fast Company as one of the Top 10 Design Companies.

Design Bay Area is thrilled to partner with Box Clever to showcase their latest breakthrough the Prepware Collection with Caraway and insights into their process.

Photos and interview courtesy of Box Clever

Since designing the Caraway original cookware line back in 2017, Box Clever has worked closely as a strategic and creative partner with their CEO, Jordan Nathan, to build on their early disruptive model of modern, decor driven cookware. Over the past 6 years, Box Clever has carefully curated the brand and product extensions, helping drive and accelerate the growth of CarawayHome. We sat down with Bret to understand the thinking behind this latest product line.

Bret, thanks for taking the time, can you share with us what Caraway’s challenge was at
the start of this journey?

Absolutely and thanks for this opportunity to share with the community. The challenge was to design a set of cooking tools that extend the Caraway brand offering. We built a product strategy to support how people prepare meals for different reasons and in different environments, offering a flexible design system that’s adaptable. We considered how the Prepset collection works beautifully in use and equally is a joy to have in your home when it’s not in use.

How did you and the team strategically approach creating the Prepset?
We designed the knives, utensils, prep system, and cutting boards holistically so the 18 pieces look and feel as one cohesive product family. The system is intended to be displayed or stored to fit into your life. This decor driven set thoughtfully expands the Caraway design palette, introducing fit-for-purpose new natural materials and finishes, including wood and steel continuing a statement of clean, quality products.

With that broader lens, tell us how you and the team developed such a creative solution?

We balanced high performance and quality with the design language we established with the previous product lines. The knives and scissors are made from german stainless steel with an iterative prototyping approach with our manufacturing partners to ensure they are perfectly balanced in the hand, and crafted to deliver precision performance. They nest exquisitely in the block thanks to hidden magnets and are designed to work standing up vertically in the block or lying down horizontally in a kitchen drawer. The knives can be pulled from the block out of the slots instead of sliding into a single hole like a traditional knife block. The utensils are made from all natural FSC-certified wood, designed to feel balanced in hand, perform perfectly for their task, and present themselves beautifully in the prep set block. Finally the 3 different sizes of cutting boards are proportionally tailored for just what you need in a variety of food prep scenarios, all with delightful hidden details to aid lifting and placing them on your counter, and carved forms for organizing chopped food or scraps and for accepting the previously designed
Caraway food storage system.

I know the Prepset has just launched so it’s too early to talk about business impact, but help us understand how you view this launch in terms of it’s brand impact?
Prepset just launched in late August 2023 and have sold out their first three product quantity drops, so demand is high which is awesome to see the market react in such a positive way! The product line extends the Caraway Home brand beyond cookware, bakeware, and food storage – and is a natural extension of offering an elevated Caraway Home experience. We designed them to allow for a range of colorways, and we feel this set offers consumers a quality and beautiful solution that is celebrated in the kitchen.

Before you go, is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
We’re always excited to share what we have been creating with Caraway! There’s so much potential to elevate people’s experiences at home, with respect to cooking, food storage, food prep, and beyond. I’m looking forward to talking with you again to more on what it takes to build this brand through consistently compelling and impactful modern design.

Our work to date with Caraway is a reflection of our creative approach at Box Clever, and also a testament to the relationship we have with Jordan Nathan, the Caraway team, and our shared values of delivering modern, quality products and experiences.



Through all their work Box Clever creates exceptionally conceived and crafted physical and digital products and experiences that delight consumers and build category-leading brands. Their unique perspective and approach attracts established global Fortune 100 brands, as well as disruptive new companies, across different market sectors including Home, Lifestyle, Connected Devices, IoT, FinTech, Furniture, Health & Wellness, Medical, and Consumer Electronics. Their studio is a dynamic environment that requires a commitment to excellence, and a team-first mentality.


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