Maximum Watts

It’s been a while since we posted anything, particularly an editorial. This is only the second time we have shot with a male since we started the blog and the first time since we switched to mens fashion only. To top it off, this is the second time we shot with this model, Michael Watts. We have improved a lot since the last time but check out his first shoot with us here. No particular inspiration with this shoot, we are just continuing to fine tune our photographic style. Hope you enjoy!

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Iowa Brewing Company

The new brew in town, Iowa Brewing Company

Iowa Brewing Company

When I moved to Cedar Rapids there was one brewery in town and one about 40 minutes out of town. A lot has changed in a short time and now there are five breweries in town and at least one more in the works, possibly two. Last weekend we were on the way to a cooking class and I purposely drove by a brewery that has been in the planning stage for around two years and was excited to see lots of people inside. I didn’t even think about it, we were going there after our sushi class. Honestly, what’s better than beer? Probably only free beer. Turns out we walked into Iowa Brewing Company’s soft opening. The beer community being the beer community, we were told to come on in for some samples and friendly conversation. Funny enough this isn’t the first time this has happened. We got a chance to speak with a couple investors and it always brings me pleasure to hear the passion and enthusiasm. One of the majority owners had a hand in Great Divide Brewing Co in Denver so things seemed pretty well planned out with 1,000 kegs in cold storage ready to roll out the back door. We sampled everything they had that night, got a few glasses and a crowler of IPA to go and went home. The official opening is this week and we will definitely stop by, I urge anyone else in town to do the same.

Iowa Brewing Company

On Wednesday I finally opened up the crowler. I do love IPA’s but am very picky about them. I prefer them to be around 50 IBU’s and the hops absolutely must be balanced with the malts. Once the beer warmed up a little it was a nice balanced, citrusy beer with a finish a bit on the sweeter side. If you don’t go for the IPA they have a few other beers and more planned. I look forward to seeing what they produce in the future.

Iowa Brewing Company

You can find Iowa Brewing Company at 708 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52401

The website doesn’t have much info currently but check back, I’m sure more info is on the way soon!

Iowa Brewing Company

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GentlemenCare: Superior leather goods

Conor Paulsen: GentlemenCare Co-founder/CEO

What product started GentlemenCare? What’s the story?

GentlemenCare started in the Spring of 2015 in an attempt to market fine goods that would help revive the lost gentleman. We researched providing “loud” dress socks, but ran into outsourcing quality issues. We then explored crafting a premium “sock belt,” but decided that creating the market for this product would be to difficult. Instead of calling it quits, we met a local leather craftsman named Kevin who believed wholeheartedly in our mission to revive the lost gentleman and began crafting and testing additional leather products, such as belts, shaving kits, and messenger bags. After a short time we realized that this would be our competitive niche in the market. Kevin, Lee, and I decided to raise our initial capital through Kickstarter. We were fortunate to finish our crowd funding campaign at 131% of our initial 30-day goal.

GentlemenCare

Having a high quality American product was important, what else inspired the creation of GentlemenCare?

Our mission at GentlemenCare is to revive the “true” gentleman. A true gentleman is the type of person that takes extra care to do the little things right, like, holding the door open for a stranger, using manners (i.e. please or thank you), and cares for others. We make the same extra effort to provide our customers with an exceptional product reviving the level of quality in leather products that cannot be found in present day. We don’t believe in taking shortcuts like the majority of our competitors, instead, we focus on the attention to detail making sure that we craft all of our products at the highest level of quality that passes our final control test.

At the end of the day our core mission is to revive the traits that we believe modern gentleman are forgetting (general manners like, “thank you” or “please”, or simply holding the door open for a stranger). We believe that the modern day definition of gentleman tends to be too focused on appearance, when instead we should encourage a lifestyle of helping others while maintaining a gents confidence.

GentlemenCare

Are all the products made in house?

Yes, all GentlemenCare products are crafted in-house at the GentlemenCare leather shop in Solon, IA.

*All GC products come with the “GentlemenCare Promise”- All of our products are hand crafted, fully custom/one of a kind, and guaranteed for life.

GentlemenCare

Who is the Gentlemen Care customer?

The GentlemenCare customer is anyone that appreciates premium quality, hand crafted goods, leather, fashion-forward trends, American made products, and strives to challenge the status quo.

GentlemenCare

What are your goals for the company?

At GentlemenCare, our core goal is to grow a business that we’re proud to call our own. Because if you can’t stand behind your own name, why bother. One day we would like to be the first name people think when they hear- “quality”, “custom”, and “premium leather”. We strive to provide not only the highest quality leather products, but to provide a one-of-a-kind customization experience that customers will remember!

Another team goal is to have GC featured in many of the top magazines, blogs, sites, and news that relate to premium fashion. We would like people around the world to one day reference our customer service, quality, and overall customer experience as the best in retail.

GentlemenCare

Do you see brick and mortar or wholesaling in the future?

Yes, I believe that a brick and mortar store front is likely within the next 3-5 years. Our current plan is to open a storefront in Kansas City, Minneapolis, or Chicago with the intent to create the perfect show room for a one-of-a-kind customization experience. The store would be designed with the customer’s understanding in mind, providing a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Imagine- walking into a premium leather store that’s purposefully designed to provide a “dream like” experience. A similar business model to the world’s top suit tailors but focused on customizing the highest quality leather goods. Example: A customer enters and walks to room #1 aka the “Hardware room”. This is where the customer would choose their desired hardware for their product. This room could look similar to a Rolex dealership that’s brightly lit, crystal clear glass, and Sinatra’s soothing voice playing throughout each room.

Wholesaling: Yes, if the opportunity is mutually beneficial. Our current focus is to provide the highest quality leather goods and to maintain this level of quality, it’s important to insure that each customer receives a similar experience. As GentlemenCare continues to scale, it’s critical for our team to continue building and maintaining our products exclusivity as a brand. For the right price, wholesale opportunities are definitely an interest of ours and a possible end goal down the road.

GentlemenCare

Lastly, what sets you apart from your competitors?

GentlemenCare is different than competitors in a handful of ways, one of which is that we don’t focus on creating products at the cheapest prices in attempt to improve margins. Instead, GC’s sole focus is crafting the highest quality products that are backed with our lifetime guarantee. Offering the highest quality leather products isn’t fast or easy, and this why competition struggles to compete. It starts with our collective values at GC- all of our products are handcrafted from start to finish inside our leather shop in Solon, IA to insure the highest level of quality control.

Each customer at GentlemenCare can expect a quick call from our team if a new reservation has been made. We believe in building a lasting relationship with each of customers before discussing products. The products enter the production cycle after being designed. Before the first cut is made, we lay the entire hyde flat and check for the perfect balance in grain to insure the highest quality and consistency. The hydes are sourced from one of two renown American tanneries, either in Pennsylvania or Chicago, IL. After each cut, we then edge, wax, and burnish the edges by hand to strengthen the leathers prolonged quality.

(*products are exclusively made using the world’s highest quality full grain leather. All GC leather is sourced from two of the world’s top tanneries that are both located in the United States.)

Visit the website to preview all the products or schedule a consultation today!

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State and Liberty Clothing Company

Lee Moffie: Co-founder of State and Liberty Clothing Company

Tell us the State and Liberty story.

In the fall of 2014 my business partner and I started having conversations about how we felt that no one on the market was making an off the rack dress shirt for athletically fit guys like us. That fall we started making dress shirts for us, and eventually our friends wanted them. After time, word spread and friends of our friends also wanted them so we started ordering and selling more and more shirts.

State and Liberty

We like that you are targeting a specific demographic, was this your personal influence or just an observation?

Definitely personal influence. We felt like no one was making a tailored shirt for the athletically built male. On top of that, we were looking to make a shirt that was made from this new style of athletic fabric that would offer so much more than your traditional cotton dress shirt.

State and Liberty

What makes State and Liberty special? Sets you apart?

 3 specific aspects make our shirts special.

Fit- more room in the shoulder chest and arms with a slim waist.
Feel- Athletic performance fabric that is stretchy, moisture wicking and lightweight. Also extremely low maintenance, wrinkle free and don’t need to be dry-cleaned.
Professional look- Double fused cuffs and collars that leave the cuffs stiff and upright giving the shirts a crisp professional look.

State and Liberty

Who is you ideal customer?

Our core customer is an in shape young professional ranging anywhere from right out of college to the mid 30’s. Our customer is a guy who is serious about their fitness and looking for a shirt that can keep up with and compliment their life on the move.  Although our core customer is certainly leaning toward that young professional our shirts are still loved by guys of all ages that are in great physical shape.

State and Liberty

With such a unique niche, do you see yourself breaking into bigger markets and selling to department stores?

Definitely want to eventually break into bigger markets at some point but right now our focus is to be the go to brand for physically fit guys.

What’s next?

We are going to continue to make sure we are doing everything in our power to ensure that our customers are getting the best possible product out there and make sure that they have a fantastic experience every time they deal with State and Liberty.

Shop for dress shirts, t-shirts and pocket squares on the State and Liberty website.

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Beer review: Saison

I’m sitting outside (finally) drinking a petite saison that I kegged just under two weeks ago that has barely matured to the point of being decent and wondering what we should post for WFF. How about a saison. One of my favorite saisons came from Bent River Brewery near my home town in Moline, IL. They didn’t have much on the website and I couldn’t find any public domain images to post so a general post on saison beers will do.

Saisons are sturdy farmhouse ales that were traditionally brewed in the winter, to be consumed throughout the summer months. Not so long ago it was close to being an endangered style, but over recent years there’s been a massive revival; especially in the US. It is a very complex style; many are very fruity in the aroma and flavor. Look for earthy yeast tones, mild to moderate tartness. Lots of spice and with a medium bitterness. They tend to be semi-dry with many only having touch of sweetness.

Like I mentioned Bent River makes a good saison (if you can find them in the grocery check out the Jalapeño Pepper Ale and Uncommon Stout to, damn good) but there are a ton of good saisons. Some of the more commercially available ones are from Ommegang, Bells and Hoegaarden. Or if you can find a saison with Brett, it adds a subtle sour and is probably one of my top three beers right now.

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