At first glance it’s a relatively obvious formula: combine equal parts brilliant craftsmanship, bold yet understated branding, add iconic colors and fabrics, and you’ve got yourself some quality merchandise. However when you talk to Best Made’s COO Ben Lavely, you begin to realize that the devil is most certainly in the details, and while their axes (for example) might be painted beautifully, they’re far more concerned with genuine utility – and the quest for the perfect edge.
Best Made has existed solely as an online outfitter since their inception, which as Ben informed us has posed a unique problem: “Our customers are unable to feel the products in our hands before they buy them, which is frustrating as so much of the quality of the products we make and source is the weight they have in hand, that tactile experience you just can’t get online.”
That problem, while only till December 24th, has been solved: Best Made has opened up a pop up tent shop in their new HQ at 36 White Street, right around the corner from The Tribeca Grand Hotel. The space serves as a combination work/retail space, with many of the products for sale on the floor being made one story below.
As we stood in their workshop, holding a freshly hewn axe, Ben pointed out something interesting that we found rang particularly true about their business model: “Perhaps the only thing New Yorkers love more than being in their city is escaping from it; dating back to the 19th century there has been great history of outfitters being located in lower Manhattan. In its earlier manifestation, the original American safari outfitter, Abercrombie and Fitch, spent many decades gearing up adventures and travelers only a few blocks south of where our shop now stands. As a modern outfitter we are carrying on a small piece of this history.”
We’re proud to know that these guys are carrying on a bit of craftsmanship history just steps from our hotels, and can say without question that you’ll be as taken in by their pop up as we were.
We also recommend signing up for their Whiskey & Workshops series, which will be picking back up on December 22nd from 4-6pm with an axe restoration workshop in the store, hosted by their resident axe expert (axpert?) Nick Zdon, teaching the history, care, restoration, and sharpening of the axe. Don’t have an axe to bring? Here’s a few of their more colorfully named models you can pick up before the 22nd:
Sam McGee– Named and adorned for the title character of the famous Yukon poem of Robert Service published in his 1907 collection of stories Songs of a Sourdough. The color scheme is inspired by the palate of illustrator Ted Harrison who’s paintings bring the modern print to life.
Flashman – Named for Harry Padget Flashman, a fictional character of author George MacDonald Fraser’s creation.
CCGF Series – Courage, Compassion, Grace, Fortitude. The four virtues that anchor our focus here.
Paler Male – Named for the famous red-tailed hawk of Central Park. A reminder to us of the wild in the city.