I managed a surf shop over a decade of my adult life, and as I mentioned in the VewDo board post, I’ve see all the accessories and trinkets that sales reps have to pitch, board racks included. Some are for aesthetics, some for function. Few companies offered a product range that covered both needs very well. Store Your Board offers racks for a range of activities from surfing to snowboarding to cycling. They have a wide range of racks that span from minimal displays to utilitarian tools for space management. Prices are fair, and many of their racks are made in the USA. I have the Naked Surf Rack, and it is about as minimalist of a surf rack as you will find. It shows off the board, without the usual bulky foam or metal rack getting in the way. It retails for $25, and is on sale now for…Continue Reading
I grew up surfing, and I was raised in a surf shop. My teenage years all the way up to age 30 I lived at Infinity Surfshop, in Dana Point, CA. We saw every imaginable fad, trend and invention come through the shop, with the sales reps or the inventor of the product selling it to us as the next great thing. From surfboard, skateboard and snowboard accessories, to the off the wall bike boards and electric skateboards, we saw it all. We often were given shop demos to try-before-you-buy. Some good, some not so much. One of the categories in which there was no shortage of products was balance boards. Makes sense, right? Surfing, skating, snowboarding, all require balance. We would stand behind the counters while folding clothes, or ringing customer up, all while balancing on the different offerings of balance boards that we sold in the shop. Different…Continue Reading
Joe Dahan started Joe’s Jeans (Nasdaq: JOEZ) in Los Angeles, California in 2001. I’m not certain to what extant Joe’s entire line is made in the USA, but the pair of jeans I have, the Straight + Narrow Brixton men’s black denim jean is Made in the USA (using foreign and domestic materials). I wore denim, almost exclusively, until about 3 years ago when we did a review on Alex Maine. The gist of their mantra was that there are more options in the wardrobe than denim, and they proved to be correct. I haven’t had a new pair of denim in the last 3 years, until this pair of Joe’s I was given to me, as a gift. I do love denim. It would be un-American to not like denim. There is so much history between the expansion of our great nation and the rise of denim. We are lucky…Continue Reading
The Heritage Flag Company, out of Southern Pines, North Carolina, handcrafts these beautiful wooden flags from reclaimed barrels. Their flags represent the American spirit and are dedicated to all the men, women and families that have served the USA. 50 Built has the Small Batch Flag, and it fits perfect above the fireplace. It has become the focal point of our home, a conversation starter with guests, and a proud artifact that will be handed down from generation to generation. The Small Batch is 24.5″ x 13″ and weighs in at 12lbs. It is sturdy and has a rustic beauty to it with the contrast of the old barrel age and the imagery of an American flag. Two hooks are mounted on the back of the flag, with felt covering the rear wood surface so it can rest softly, and firmly, against the wall. The Small Batch retails for $199. A…Continue Reading
Saris might be the most genius company in existence, that I’ve encountered. When it comes to installing and assembling new products, I tend to lose the battle. It takes longer than expected, or I don’t have the right tools, or I just do everything backwards. It doesn’t take much for me to lose my mind while putting something new together, when all I want to do is USE the new “thing.” I worked at a retail shop where we sold car racks. Every salesman avoided being the one that had to assemble and mount the racks to the customer’s car. It’s not that we didn’t want to be helpful, but because it usually entailed about an hour and half of looking like a complete idiot. Saris is a god-send for all you shop workers. Saris Cycling group just celebrated their 25th anniversary. Founded and based out of Madison, Wisconsin since…Continue Reading
Hardel & Co., makes quality made leather wallets and has future plans to expand into other men’s and women’s goods. I am picky about my wallet. It can’t be too big, but there are certain features that must be there to make it a wallet I can live with for an extended period of time. It must fit the bare minimum of credit cards, drivers license, cash and a few random tidbits and business cards that accumulate short-term along the way. It sounds simple, yet so many wallets fail at these simple tasks. Pockets are too small, too large or lacking all together. Cash holders, that don’t hold the cash. You get the idea. I’m always hesitant to try a new wallet, since the one that’s in my pocket has obviously made the cut and satisfies my needs. But alas, enter hardel & co.’s new 2.0 Cash & Card wallet. After…Continue Reading
Have you heard of Skookum Dog?  Our friends at Tom Bihn have created a line of amazing dog paraphernalia that is not only comely and durable, but made in the USA! We got the Camp Mat in Large. This amazingly simple mat fits perfect in the back of the car and is super easy to take with us when we are on the go. Our pup has made the Camp Mat her bed when we bring it in the house, take her camping or take it with us on the road. The plush sherpa side is comfortable and warm for those cold car rides (in winter, that is) and the ballistic side is cool and durable for the summer. We have been using this wonderful mat for several months now and it still looks brand new. We have yet to wash it or feel the need to wash it. It’s really quite wonderful. We also…Continue Reading
The lighting industry has all but disappeared. Options are slim, and innovative new companies are even more rare. In 2006 Jason Christiansen started Rigid Industries. Rigid Industries is an industry leader in rugged LED Lighting.  They service off-road, fishing, fire & rescue, as well as military fields and are constantly pushing the envelope as far as what to focus on next.  Holding it down in Gilbert, Arizona with 200 employees, they’re making their mark and doing their part designing, engineering and assembling their line in the USA. We couldn’t be more excited about their products and also what they’re doing! Check out their website and they’re up to! rigidindustries.com
Last week the North American Handmade Bicycle Show was on in Charlotte, North Carolina.  Team 50 BUILT took a roadtrip and met some super amazing people equally as passionate about all things made in the USA as we are. The theme of the trip was beautiful bicycles & awesome people.   STEVE POTTS BICYCLES, Point Reyes CA  Steve Potts Custom Titanium Bikes was a great booth to visit.  Mr. Potts was remarkably entertaining and after sharing dog photos and taking lots of pictures of his amazing bikes, we were honored to have met him.  All of his bikes are handmade in Point Reyes, CA by the man himself.  Very cool!   AVERY COUNTY CYCLES, Denver CO Josh Culbertson from Avery County Cycles out of Denver, CO is doing some amazingly creative things.  Remember 50 BUILT’s pal, Eli Cox from Berkeley Supply Co (pictured above, with me)?  Josh and Eli are good friends…Continue Reading
Today we have the privilege of talking with Don Walker, founder of the North American Handmade Bicycle Show, and Don Walker Cycles. NAHBS 2014 is opening today in Charlotte, NC and 50 BUILT is here to cover the show. Stay tuned for a full coverage feature of the show and the frame-builders in attendance.     Can you give 50 BUILT readers some background on yourself up to this point? I grew up in Sacramento, Ca. and started racing road bikes at the age of 14. After I graduated high school, I went into the work force as an aircraft mechanic while still racing track, kind of part time. I spent 4 years working as a civilian on B1-B and B-2 Bombers. Around 1990 I wanted to take my skillset and make bike frames. It was a a way for me to stay with and give back to the sport…Continue Reading
Handmade saddle leather cases, crafted by professionals and paid a fair wage. It doesn’t seem too much to ask does it, to offer a quality good, made by a specialty craftsman, who in turn earns a fair wage? In today’s world this seems to be the exception rather than the rule. Enter Skytop Trading Co., makers of the absolute finest leather cases, created by industry artisans, trained by masters, and are paid a living wage to do so. The cases that Skytop Trading Company produce are bar-none, the most beautiful leather goods you will ever set your eyes upon. Crafted in the tradition of quality, and pieced together with pride and knowledge that delivers a guarantee that is quintessentially American. They know their products are the benchmark for the industry because they use the highest quality components, sourced from experts who value excellence, and are pridefully made under the guidance and…Continue Reading
I love mason jars.  No kidding.  It sounds strange, but they’re so beautifully simple – and versatile.  I put serving utensils in them, I use them as cups, and I have so often thought to myself, “I wish I could take this ‘to-go.’”  Cuppow, the geniuses that they are, have made it possible for me to take my mason-jar-contained beverage on the road!  AND their brilliant roadie lids are made in the USA! If you’re like me, you have mason jars coming out the wazoo.  My poor husband.  They’re everywhere.  I have wide-mouthed ones, regular mouthed jars, teeny tiny jars, and how!  Cuppow has a roadie lid for both regular and wide-mouthed jars, so no matter what size the jar, a Cuppow lid will fit.  I have been using a quart-sized wide-mouthed jar as my go-to afternoon iced tea or water receptacle.  The wide-mouthed Cuppow lid is perfection!  All you do…Continue Reading
Today we’re talking with Dan Soha, the owner and founder of Argoz Socks. Can you give 50 BUILT readers some background on yourself and the events that led up to starting Argoz?  And can you tell us about how you came up with the name Argoz? It’s simple: I wanted awesome argyle socks and I couldn’t find them.  I bought over 100 pairs and all of them were poor quality and almost all of them were boring.  I contacted different manufacturers to see if anyone had high quality argyle socks in stock and I couldn’t find them.  The initial goal was to purchase socks that would go in my sock drawer, not to start a business.  When I saw how great the sock samples were, things got out of hand!  With my initial focus on argyle socks, it was only naturally that I go with a short simple name like…Continue Reading
Today we’re talking with George Chevalier, the man in charge of Marketing and Communications at Princeton Tec out of Trenton, NJ. Can you give 50 BUILT readers some background on yourself and the events that led up to starting Princeton Tec? Bill Stephens started Princeton Tec in 1975, in the back room of their Princeton, NJ dive shop. To kick things off, they dreamed up and built the first automatic dive timer. Next, the PTEC product line expanded to include everything a diver could need, from watches to gauge consoles, flashlights and even replacement mask and fin straps. They were ahead of the curve with flashlights, and eventually PTEC transitioned into a lighting company. Today, we design and manufacture lights for the Outdoor, Industrial, Tactical, Bike and of course SCUBA markets. While Bill has retired, his son and grandson are integral to the company today.   What has the road been like…Continue Reading
When my friends and family travel, they bring me back socks. Not really sure how this got started, but I love it.  I’ve sort of developed a collection of funky and fun socks from all over the place- the funkier the better! Argoz is a company out of San Francisco, California who has perfected the art of argyle! This forward-thinking company has a plethora of wonderful colors that can be dressed up or down. I wore these socks around town and around the house to see how they fit and how they wore. They fit rather snugly up the ankle and/or calf, which is nice because they don’t fall down. I believe I was sent the ‘regular’ size, which is perfect for me (I am rather petite), but for kicks we had my husband try them on to see what the sizing was and they were too small. He would…Continue Reading
I’ve been traveling a lot this year. There always seems to be someplace to where I am rushing off or a plane to catch.  It’s been a fast year, but certainly agreeable! On my ‘must-not-leave-home-without’ list is my backpack. For travel, I prefer a simple, no-nonsense, pack that is easy to pack, and unpack. Not a lot of extra pockets and caverns for things to be misplaced in. Just a good quality pack. Buck Products have added just the right creation for their 2014 collection called the FlapSack.  It’s a simple ‘daily hauler’ that is easy to get in and out of, has a handy flap-pocket that is the perfect spot to carry one’s boarding pass or any other must-get-to-easily items (for me – chapstick, pens, and itinerary), and is otherwise utilitarian and functional. Especially for travel, simple is good. I can see this bag being perfect for the bicycle…Continue Reading
Today we are talking with Jon Contino, entrepreneur, designer, and founder of CXXVI and soon to be, Contino Brand.   Can you give 50 BUILT readers some background on yourself and the events that have influenced your passion for ‘American made.’? I grew up with a carpenter for a father, that kind of sealed the deal right there. I watched him make something from nothing my entire life, so I always had that bug to want to make something from scratch and get it out in the world as a total package. As I got older and played in bands, the DIY concept really stuck with me too. People making things because they love them and distributing them to like-minded individuals feels so rewarding to me. It just happens I’m American, so what else would it be?   You have the unique perspective in that you work and design for…Continue Reading
Luxury Fashion brands demand top dollar for the products they provide, and yet do not always live up to the same standards of their reputation. Often seeking out cheaper means of production for larger margins, and no added value for the customer, you. Hucklebury is set to disrupt this industry by redefining premium menswear fashion using strategies they are confident will make a difference to the consumer. Using a crowdfunding forecasting technique, Hucklebury is able to price high quality luxury dress shirts, that normally retail between $215-$550, at a steal of $78. By removing the guesswork of supply and demand (because customers choose what gets made), they can to deliver their product at realistic prices while at the same time, providing a superior product without the superfluous built in margins. Quality is key for Hucklebury and ‘Made in the USA’ is an integral part of that quality. They have partnered…Continue Reading
Check out the new video and movement put together by Alex and Ana Bogusky. The two are actively involved in the American-made scene with the Made Movement and Mrs. American Made respectively. Check out the interview 50 BUILT did with the Made Movement last year here.   millionjobsproject.us
As a general rule, I’m not a jewelry person. I have a few pieces that I wear every day (like wedding rings and sentimental earrings), and I have some pieces that were handed down to me; but rarely do I buy jewelry or find something that I can love and will choose to wear like my treasured few items. Tinsel and Timber has created amazing handmade jewelry pieces. These clever people have taken beautiful wood and made them into letters, shapes of the States, and a couple designer pieces that are gorgeous. None of which were cut with lasers; they’re hand crafted!  These certainly fit into my criteria for ‘everyday’ jewelry.  They have the potential to make that dress just a little more feminine, or to dress up that plain white tee. I have the Stars Necklace in Rosewood on a 20” sterling silver bead chain.  It has two sterling…Continue Reading
Today, we’re talking with Ben Nobel, the man with the plan (AKA Brand Manager), from Kletterwerks.   Can you give 50 BUILT readers some background on yourself, the company and the events that led up to starting Kletterwerks/Mystery Ranch? Let’s see, where to begin.  Mystery Ranch is the modern Dana Designs by Dana Gleason, for those of you who ever backpacked or skied in the 80’s and 90’s – you might have owned one.  Before that, was Kletterwerks – a brand of backpacks built for climbers in the 70’s.  Since the adoption of Mystery Ranch in 2000, we’ve grown into a multimillion dollar business focusing on the professional user – Military, Fire Fighting, Hunting, Ski Patrol and Backcountry Guides.  2006 really changed the face of the company when we secured the SOCOM contract – outfitting the majority of the Tier 1 Military Units in the United States.  Fire Fighting came…Continue Reading
I remember growing up with an old Chicago Bears t-shirt. Every photo I look back on from the ages of 2-10, I swear I’m wearing the same classy tee. The fabric was dripping with memories and comfort. We all go through that stage of thinking we’ve grown out of being a ‘t-shirt’ guy/gal, but always end up in that favorite soft tee. There will always be tees. Charlie Hustle is a “vintage t-shirt company founded on respect for the old school and love for that perfect vintage tee.” They have you covered, literally. Go through their collection of events and milestones and find one that resonates with you. If they don’t have one now, keep checking back, they have several projects in the works. Currently Charlie Hustle has a Kickstarter campaign for their Negro League collection, with some artwork by Aaron Dana. These are premium, American made tees, celebrating the Negro League’s…Continue Reading
People tend to collect things. Baseball cards, comics, shoes,cars, bicycles. Sometimes we don’t even realize it until these objects take over our mental and physical space. I had this epiphany as I was writing this review. I have a lot of backpacks. I collect, analyze and most importantly, heavily use backpacks. The Topo Designs Daypack is my new go-to daypack. It’s not easy to take the crown in my collection and boot my other packs aside, but the Daypack is king. It has a perfect mix of purpose, quality and aesthetics that make this otherwise simple pack a personal favorite. The kind of pack you see with you on adventures that you will one day tell your children about. I opted for the orange Daypack, a pack that suits your jaunts around the city and will store all the necessities for a day at work. For the last 3 months…Continue Reading
I have always envied women who could pull off the ‘jean jacket’ look.  I’ve never been able to swing it… that is, until now. Tradlands, an amazing company out of San Francisco, have put together some really great pieces.  As they themselves claim, they, “have designed pieces for the woman who drifts toward menswear and thinks, ‘if only this were made for me.’”  And they have!  I am certainly that woman. Though it’s a mite on the spendy side, weighing in at $187, I really think it’s worth every penny.  It’s a piece you’ll have forever and it’ll never go out of style. I was taught young to buy fewer things, but nice things. This is a nice thing. Their EMB Denim Shirt Jacket is an amazing feat. Not only does it fit stunningly, it is comfortable (no neck chafing like most denim shirts/jackets I’ve ever worn) and can be…Continue Reading
Today we’re talking with the one and only, Eli Cox, founder of Berkeley Supply in Denver, Colorado USA. Can you give 50 BUILT readers some background on yourselves and the events that lead up to starting Berkeley Supply? I think I was just fucking sick of having to fly to places like Portland, SF, NYC, LA, or Boston just to find quality menswear, when in those towns for visits. If I wasn’t doing that, I was ordering everything online, which when it comes to this type of clothing, it can be hard, you want to be able to try things on. I had been talking about doing a shop like this for a few years, we were sitting around Pearl Velo one night drinking beers, and we came up with this idea to give me the 165 sq feet of frontage that was connected to Pearl Velo and Avery County…Continue Reading