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Offering up fine craftsmanship with a charitable bent is a tall order for a fledgling business. But it was always a twofold mission for the Denver-based duo behind the new online shopping website Journeyman & Co.
“We wanted to wrap up our passion for doing good with our passion for good design,” says Nathan Downey (right), who co-founded the company with Cory Doney. The two full-time art directors at brand marketing firm the Integer Group were itching for a side project: designing a brand of their own. “We wanted something creative and cool that had a philanthropic element,” says Downey. “And this concept combined both of those ideas.”
For one collection at a time, Journeyman & Co. partners with charitable organizations for product inspiration and donates a percentage of the proceeds. For its launch, Journeyman & Co. has put together the American Veteran Collection; 10 percent of all sales benefit the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA).
“We both have family members who served in the Air Force, and it’s something we are both really passionate about,” says Downey. “People our age are making these sacrifices so that we can do what we do.” The seven pieces in the inaugural collection—which ranges from a custom coffee blend from Method Roasters to an end table—are all military-inspired.
Journeyman & Co. scouted small, primarily local vendors to create unique products around the theme. “The craftsman community in Denver is very warm and inviting,” says Downey. “As we’ve approached different craftsmen with this concept, we’ve been very excited at the response.”
The resulting designs have a vintage feel paired with modern touches. Take the silhouette of the Scout Cap ($65, above left): Inspired by mid-century Army-issue hats, this waxed canvas/waxed leather chapeau—from New York’s Knickerbocker MFG for Journeyman & Co.—fits today’s fashion. The same can be said for the utilitarian design of the Field Bag ($300, above right), produced by Winter Session for Journeyman & Co. Denver-based Winter Session used WWII-era military map cases as a muse to design a 21st-century carryall, perfect for riding a bike with today’s technology tucked inside.
But perhaps our favorite piece is the Ascent Table ($750, above), created by Denver’s Fin Art Co. for Journeyman & Co. The sleek end table, topped with actual parts from a WWII airplane wing, highlights the craftsmanship ideal the partners envisioned. (This piece is in limited quantity due to the availability of airplane parts.)
The goal is for every piece in the collection to tell a story, just as the name Journeyman & Co. evokes a time and place for its founders: Journeyman is the level below master craftsman in the traditional trade hierarchy, explains Doney. “We wanted a name that wrapped up both the idea of a master craftsman and the feeling of travel and discovering new things.”
“We’re creative,” says Downey of the team’s brand marketing expertise. “But our partners are the masters.”
BONUS: This Fourth of July, eschew mass-produced flag-emblazoned gear from the big-box stores in favor of a true display of patriotism: Indy Ink for Journeyman & Co.’s “Land of the Free” and “Home of the Brave” T-shirts ($30, above).