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Studio Stories

  • Studio Stories

    Anti-commodity

    By Matt Conable October 5, 2019
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    For a long time, I’ve called WH the anti-commodity
    brand.  Maybe there is a better way to
    say it, but indulge me for a moment while I elaborate...

    William Henry Founder Matt Conable

    In the case of most branded goods out there, from Rolex to Gucci
    to Apple and beyond, a piece is designed and then the production system is set
    up to exactly replicate that piece every time. 
    They are precise and identical. 
    Nothing against these and other fine brands, they do great work.  So do we, but our approach is vastly
    different. 

    We design a product, and then choose techniques and materials
    to ensure that every piece is not identical, but in fact substantially
    different from the next.  Even within a
    limited edition, number 11 of 25 is going to be different from number 12 of 25
    and so on.  The rare organic materials we
    use, the hand forged metals, and the individual hand craft we bring to each
    step means that no two are alike. 
    They’re damn fine, but not the same. 
    Hence the ‘anti-commodity’ moniker. 
    With most brands, your bag or garment or watch is identical to everyone
    else who owns the same piece.  With WH,
    your piece is the ONLY one like it in the world. 


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  • Studio Stories

    In service...

    By Matt Conable August 29, 2019
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    The Beatles got it right – ‘and in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make’.  More than anything else we might accomplish, our legacy is tied to how we treat others.  The difference we make is best measured by the love we create and leave behind.  What does this have to do with William Henry?  Everything. 

    I set out to build a company that could reflect my values and, in some small way, see those values manifest on a larger stage.  It starts with the employees and how they are treated – with respect and decency, with honor and integrity.  We are all in this together, and I’ve always encouraged everyone to bring their best to each task and each day, and built a system that ensures that we all rise as one and share the risks and rewards of inventing a small company that charts its own course.

    Step outward to our vendors and suppliers, and WH is committed to building long relationships where everyone sees the upside – not relationships where we prosper at others’ expense.

    Step further and you get to the core that makes it all work – our customers.  We try to provide service and support that matches the excellence of our products.  It’s personal, and it matters, and every person that loves WH, whether a long-time collector or an aspirational customer, deserves our respect and full attention. 

    We work hard at maintaining those original values that I used as the foundation for WH over 20 years ago.  It’s not always easy, we don’t always get it right, but we never stop challenging ourselves to build and promote relationships, across the business, that are founded in respect, love, dignity, and integrity.  That has built this brand, and that will be the essential element that helps us continue to find a unique and successful path into the future.

    Sincerely

    Matt Conable
    Definitely not Gordon Gekko

     

  • Studio Stories

    One World...

    By Matt Conable July 17, 2019
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    July 2019 Journal

    William Henry has a simple mission – imagine the best stuff
    we possibly can, figure out how to make it, and challenge ourselves to keep
    getting better.  The rest tends to sort
    itself out if we keep our eye on the ball...

    So how do we do that?  We go wherever we have to go in the world to get the best craftsmanship, source the finest materials, and deliver enduring value one piece at a time.  A lot of that ‘best in the world’ work happens right in our studio in Oregon – but if someone else can do something better than us, I’ll happily sign up.  While we’re proud of our American heritage and studio, we don’t drape ourselves in the flag – seems disingenuous and misses the point.  I’d rather drape WH with an image of the planet than any one flag.  I’m proud of what we do, and who we work with to achieve our goals.


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  • Studio Stories

    It Matters...

    By William Henry June 19, 2019
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    Hi all, I’m just back from a big trade show in Vegas with William Henry.  As exhausting as these big shows are, it’s always good to step outside the bubble and see what we do in the world. 

    Left to right: Musician Matt Goss, William Henry Sales Associate Michelle and Matt Conable. While at the JCK event we got to enjoy the Matt Goss Vegas show. And snap a selfie.


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  • Studio Stories

    Where it all began...

    By Matt Conable May 6, 2019
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    As we begin our WH newsletter, I thought I’d share a little
    of the backstory of how I ended up here – what a long strange trip it’s been...

    I’m another one of those college drop-outs that did alright – in 1989 I left Cornell, mid sophomore year, to take a grunt job in a little knife shop in Davenport, CA near Santa Cruz.  Why?  Because at that moment, making things of permanence and enduring value made more sense than studying bold face terms in textbooks.  I loved the way knives combined form and function, art and utility, performance and aesthetics, and I knew that almost every piece I worked on, day by day, would still be out there in the world long after I was gone.  Quite simply, that made sense to me – and I never imagined that it would start me on a 30 year odyssey of a career.

    I learned quickly, became proficient and then more than that as a craftsman, and a few years later moved to the Arizona mountains and set up my own backyard knife shop in an old horse barn. For three years I made knives by hand, and quickly rose the ranks in American craft. At 25 years old my work was being juried into shows at the Smithsonian and Philadelphia Museum of Art among others – I had arrived at the top of the fine craft market in the US. But, as is all too often true, I was making peanuts – less per hour than waiting tables – my art could not sustain a life and a family.


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