After graduating from Hanoi University of Architecture, I didn’t exactly follow an expected career path, and instead chose to realize my passion for mechanical keyboards by working as lead designer for a certain local team. While there were flashes of achievement and personal development, my time there was riddled with questionable management practices and an extreme lack of internal transparency, which eventually saw my personal reputation tainted, mostly due to the fact that I was the team’s communication liaison. I had to exit the community in disgrace, and thought I was never able to return.
However, passion doesn’t die out that easily. A few years after my exit, I had the opportunity to talk to some friends who were then already established within the community under the name of Mechlovin’. One thing led to another, the fire in me was again ignited, and I mobilized everything under my possession to kickstart my own brand of custom mech: Ori Club. It was not an easy comeback due to incidents in the past, but I had nothing to hide and came clean by telling my side of the story. The community had full authority over the possibility of my return, and I was blessed with encouraging words.
There initially was skepticism, and very understandably so, so I just had a lot to prove, and still do. The tale of Ori is about gratitude and redemption, and as the brand evolves, I think it is ultimately about freedom. It is the luxury that is now finally under my disposal, so that I can instil my own philosophy and experience in the bespoke industry in my keyboard designs. That freedom can also be interpreted as a gift that was given to me by this wonderful community, and I hope every time you look at my products, you see not only something that is very personal to me, but also my homage to your generosity and support.
Mechlovin’ Studio has to be a household name when it comes to keyboard PCB design and manufacture by now, or at least they’re close to getting there. Their success story is one of the main reasons why I came back to making custom keyboards, as I saw a way for an independent designer like myself to build a brand from the ground up with confidence.
Mechlovin’s contribution to the inception and growth of Ori Club goes far beyond their role as the sole PCB solution provider for my boards. Their insights on the mech community and sustainable business practices are simply invaluable in helping Ori take the right steps towards its goals. The faces representing Mechlovin’ are Nam Nguyen (more commonly known as Flying) and Vu Nguyen.
Vu and I go way back. We spent our early mech years as parts of a team, learned a bunch, achieved moderate success and went through a disheartening end to our keyboard dreams together. After going independent, Vu kept pushing forward to now become the chief engineer at one of the most reliable names in mech community, and the brain behind so many popular keyboard PCB designs. He made it, and for me, that’s pure inspiration.
I first met Flying when he was very new to the keyboard world, and was still a government official. Fast forward a few years, he quit his tenured job to follow his passion and co-founded Mechlovin’ with Vu. As the general manager, Flying keeps everything on the right track, and that also applies to our collaboration projects. He knows his business, and at the same time, is an enthusiast who has deep roots within the community, which I think is key to driving Mechlovin’s sustainable growth.
HUY HOANG DAO
Hoang is a full-time calligrapher based in Hanoi, Vietnam. Deeply inspired by his late grandfather, he learnt from calligrapher Margaret Shepherd and spends time studying lettering and history. He is recognised international calligraphy artist despite his young age. He was awarded the 2016 IAMPETH scholarship to attend Annual Convention in Portland, Oregon, US; 2017 Dancing Letters Scholarship to attend international calligraphy conference Letterworks in Ogden, UT, US and 2018 Seattletters Scholarship in Bellingham, WA.
Hoang teaches both the broad nib and the pointed pen, specialized in Roman, Italic, Roundhand, Spencerian and Flourishing classes. His international teaching tour started in Singapore and Jakarta in 2015, and has since been invited to teach in the various cities in the US, Australia, Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Japan.
Hoang is also a pen maker; he makes pen holders by hand and is constantly driven to improve his craftsmanship to place beautiful pens in the hands of new owners. He also learn Japanese Urushi (lacquer painting) and bring his pens to new level of art.