Meet Galen Garretson, the badass founder and owner of Town Cutler, a supplier of professional-quality knives and sharpening services in the Bay Area. We're extremely excited to work with such a passionate hustler who reps #ApronSquad. We asked Galen a few questions to learn more about how he got started in the knife business and the advice he has for other entrepreneurs! 🔪 We're on a mission to highlight all the different craftspeople, artisans and makers who wear H&B loud and proud so you can look forward to more features like this in the future! #MakerSeries
In our quest to speak with makers of all kind this month, we met Andrew Conte of Purple Panther Tattoo in Hollywood, CA. He's been at it for a few years now and he's serious about the craft. We had him stop by Apron HQ for a quick interview!
Tell us about yourself in 3 sentences.
I grew up in Newbury Park, Ca. I currently work in hollywood at Purple Panther tattoo. In addition to tattooing, I love making Zines, Illustration and motorcycles.
As you probably know by now, we're celebrating makers all month long! It just so happens we also have a new product release pairing up with this week's Maker! Robert Siegel of Robert Siegel Studio is a ceramicist whose studio is just down the street from Apron HQ on Hill st.! His handmade creations are awesome and we have quite a few of them here at HQ, available for purchase.
We sat Robert down (at his wheel which he was kind enough to bring to Apron Land for a quick pottery lesson with Ellen) and picked his brain on his craft, living abroad and the influences on his work.
I started working with ceramics was in was 9 or 10. For whatever reason I was just drawn to the material. The idea of creating something out of nothing was something I found very intriguing.
How did living abroad influence your style?
Living in china had a strong influence on my work. There is a completely different approach to both making and designing in the East and the West. The simplicity of form and surface is one thing that is very apparent in my work from my time in China.
How do you get inspired?
Inspiration has never been difficult to find. I am an incredibly curious person, so I am always asking questions. this inevitably leads anywhere and everywhere, and there is so much right in front
of you at any given moment to stay inspired until you die.
Do you cook at home? If so, what do you like to cook?
Yes I cook at home, usually 2-3 nights a week. I am not italian, but pretty much everything I make feels like it is rooted in Italian cooking. I make really good meatballs and chicken parm. I enjoy going to the farmers market and using fresh seasonal ingredients as much as possible.
I really make a little bit of everything from meat to fish with lots of vegetables as well.
We're continuing with our #HBMakerSeries this month and next up, we have Ibi Yoo, of Awesome Candle. She works with premium fragrance oils and quality soy wax to create some amaaaazing scent combinations including an #apronsquad staff fave: basil + cotton candy and a #dailycortado inspired coffee candle that was a result of a collaboration with Float Pasadena. We love seeing how different makers of all kinds use our aprons out in the world!
So we invited Ibi to Apron HQ and talked about inspiration, food and scents.
How did you get started in candle making? Three years ago I was a graphic design student, I loved candles and spent a lot of money purchasing various brands. Sometimes I wouldn't find the exact scent I was looking for, so I decided to learn how to make fragrances and candles myself. After developing my own scents and techniques, I started giving candles to friends as gifts. They would ask me where they could buy my candles, and I ended up creating a small business out of it called, The Awesome Candle.
What are your favorite scents to work with? Personally, I'm drawn towards more complex, masculine scents that tend to lean towards woody and earthy profiles. Right now, I love experimenting with Sandalwood, Vetiver, Cardamom, Balsam.. if it's grassy, woody, or earthy, I love it.
How are you inspired to create new scents? For me, I tend to get inspiration for scents from my everyday life and interactions with people and places. When I meet certain personalities, or visit interesting, creative spaces, I tend to associate these things with scents and feelings. I'm always writing down ideas, sensations, and descriptions of my surroundings. Usually the idea for a scent will evolve from these things.
Tell us about some of the collaborations with other makers you've done. I probably get the most joy out of collaborations with other people and brands. One of the first collaborations I did was with (multee)project, a menswear brand based in Newport Beach, CA. Most recently they are known for their designs which can be found in places like Colette Paris, and the very limited edition Adidas NMD_R1 'Pitch Black' sneaker release earlier this year. I created a (multee)project room spray, reed diffuser, and soy candle series called "Morning Ritual" Fragrance Collection that was featured in the publication HypeBeast. One collaboration that I'm excited about is with the mattress company, Tuft & Needle, where I'm developing their exclusive line of room sprays. It should drop later this fall, I can't wait!
What are some of your favourite restaurants to dine at in Los Angeles? Right now, I'm obsessed with Chef Jordan Kahn's new restaurant/cafe concept called Destroyer. It's named after the Destroyer Comet that struck the earth centuries ago, and sounds aggressive, but really symbolizes his first impact in an area of Culver City that lacks any food or beverage options. The space is delicate and minimal, and I love that the morning and afternoon menus are heavily plant focused. There's really nothing like it in LA right now.
Do you cook at home? If so, what are you favorite dishes to cook? I do! I love to make all kinds of traditional Korean dishes like galbi jjim, samgyetang, janchi guksu, even homemade kimchi. More times than not I like to buy fresh, organic produce and make spring rolls with rice paper. I can make a mess sometimes, so Hedley & Bennett aprons really come in handy!
For the month of October, we're following a few members on the #ApronSquad who rock our aprons in places other than the kitchen. First up, we have a cobbler with a serious squad himself.
Dominic Chambrone, or The Shoe Surgeon as he's known on Instagram, has over 117,000 followers. He runs a custom footwear company that has legions of fans dying over his newest creation - whether they're crocodile skin Nikes or custom vegetable tanned high tops. He doesn't like the label "customizer" and is clearly devoted to his craft of deconstructing and reconstructing kicks. Just like with our aprons, there is patterning, sewing, hand lasting that adds up to hours to create a pair of quality shoes that you won't find anywhere else. We had Dominic in at Apron HQ where we talked about shoes, balance and food, of course.
Shoes are a staple , you wear shoes to walk EVERYWHERE. They are vehicles to save our skin/bones from the hard ground that we the human also created. (concrete). Shoes are my vessel of self expression. The amount of time and energy that goes into shoes (whether made in China or by hand in America) is much more than any other fashion wearable product in my opinion.
A photo posted by Dominic Chambrone (@theshoesurgeon) on
With the A List clientele you have, who did you have most fun creating something with & why?
There is no "favorite" no "most" I just enjoy creating with other artists and other people with great energy. I enjoy vibing off of each other and creating something purely from energy. I enjoy creating for anyone who really gets what goes into each pair.
Biggest challenges that you face as a cobbler?
The biggest challenge was always myself. I don't think it matters if you're a cobbler or a cook. In the beginning you are the biggest challenge and once you figure that out and handle that you're good!
How do you find balance between your family, work & everything else in-between?
I currently don't find a healthy balance. Believe it or not I'm still just in the beginning phase of the business.
What/who influences your design?
There is no 1 person or "thing" ... it can change at any moment from food, art, fashion, nature, architecture, reading, kids, etc.. [the] list goes on most everything comes naturally and organically.
Do you cook at home? If so, what are your favorite dishes to make?
I don't currently cook, I come from a big Italian family who's been in the restaurant industry since I was born. I did cook when i was younger but since didn't need to since my Dad, mom and 3 brothers are amazing chefs. My youngest brother Angelo was the youngest head chef in Napa Valley. Can't forget my wife, She's an amazing chef and we LOVE to eat.
Favorite dishes - again "favorites" don't truly exist for me. I find something amazing and different in each one.