In 2009, when the economy bottomed out and business was slow, designer and art director Peter Buchanan-Smith decided it was time to take matters into his own hands. He launched Best Made Company with a small series of beautifully designed axes with colorful painted handles, designed in New York and produced in Maine. "The axe was a valuable tool we wanted people to use," Buchanan-Smith says. "But it was also very symbolic and it was a perch to start this sort of company."
Andy Spade, the man who helped turn wife Kate Spade's purse line into the massive brand it is today and who is also responsible for J. Crew's successful menswear retail concepts, was Buchanan-Smith's first client. He started carrying the axes in Partners & Spade, his downtown New York storefront and studio, and when Partners & Spade quickly sold out of the axes, Buchanan-Smith knew he was onto something.
Today, Best Made Co. has expanded into a full collection. Producing all sorts of cool goods made as much with the urban explorer in mind as the actual outdoorsman, the brand makes everything from cloth extension cords to alpine rucksacks, dart sets and even organic pure maple syrup. While custom axes may have been Best Made Co.'s original claim to fame, Buchanan-Smith says he doesn't necessarily want them to be the focus. "I'd always had my sights set on a much bigger picture, whether that would be designing clothing, making movies or opening a theme park."
For now, he's got his sights set on a bigger store. After a successful pop-up shop, Best Made Co. is set to open a showroom, design studio and workshop space in TriBeCa on April 1st. "We want a place that is going to be multipurpose," Buchanan-Smith says. "As a relatively new retail company, there is no better time to experiment with these sorts of things."
Best Made Co. will open on April 1st at 36 White Street, New York.