'Who's that?' pointing towards the gentlemen who just entered the bar wearing a badass vintage black leather jacket and crisp denim jeans. 'Ever hear of the TheSelvedgeYard.com?' replied Adam Fitzgerald of Iron & Air Magazine. 'That's the guy who started it.'
The setting was The Doug Fir, the event was the 4th annual One Motorcycle Show in Portland OR. Surrounding the bar was some of the coolest names I had to come to follow on Instagram, including Kevin Dunworth of Loaded Gun Customs, Sasha Valentine of CafeRacerXXX, Iron & Air Magazine, James of Hammarhead Industries, illustrator Doug Werner of MuchoMoto with his twin brother Michael, and of course Jon Patrick of The Selvedge Yard.
Over the next three days I somehow managed to befriend JP (it wasn't difficult as he's the nicest dude on the planet) and the friendship since then has only but flourished. When he mentioned his plans to open the TSY store, I made it my mission to be one of the first to walk through it's doors. On a warm July 4th, Saturday afternoon, I met up with JP and his wife Ashley inside their shop at 110 South Main Street in downtown New Hope, PA.
TSY has been around digitally for some time now. What made you consider a brick and mortar version of it?
JP: It actually happened quite out of the blue, but not totally by surprise. I have a pretty extensive background in retail development, visual presentation, and branding, having worked for Ralph Lauren, Lilly Pulitzer, J.Hilburn, etc… so it’s forever in my blood. The itch started to surface as I became friends with David Teague and Ginger Hall at America Designs in Lambertville, NJ. I was and am inspired by their ability to create a sense of wonder and discovery, both of them having an incredible eye and business acumen. It got me thinking what it would look like if I were to do my own thing. It was all in my head, just had to find a space that wasn’t an arm and a leg, that spoke to me, and in the right location — someplace with history, a little character, and a pulse.
Downtown New Hope, PA is an interesting scene. Why here?
JP: I love the beauty, history, diversity, and spirit of New Hope, Bucks County, and Lambertville, NJ — it’s sister town across the Delaware. On any day in downtown New Hope you’ll rub shoulders with interesting people from every walk of life. Bikers, bankers, hippies, hedge funders, artists, aristocrats, roofers, rock stars, all coexisting and getting on. My wife Ashley spied that a great old spot seemed to be vacant, and we called on it right away. A couple weeks later, and many anxious moments, the place was ours. From the outside it felt like a rustic, weathered beach shack with a creaky wood plank walkway to wandered around from the sidewalk to the front door, and great big picture windows in front. The inside had soaring white walls, and a great wood beamed ceiling. It felt right, right away. I could see me in this cozy little space. It was plenty crusty and neglected by the prior tenant, but I knew what we could do.
We know you to be a very particular when it comes to style. How do you go about choosing products for the store?
JP: Thanks. I could say the same about you, my friend. With my background I have a pretty 360 view on what it means to be a merchant, and how to be thoughtful about balancing artistry, aspiration, and accessibility when it comes to merchandising and presentation. One thing that was important from the get-go, I wanted to focus on made in America, and locally made as much as possible. So I reached out to people that I know and trust, who do great product.
JP: (cont'd) Iron & Resin is a clothing and accessories brand based out of Ventura, California. It’s made in America, and has a moto/surf vibe that is cool and easy. BillyKirk makes really great bags, leather goods, and accessories, also made in America— a lot of it right here n PA. Founded back in ‘99 by the Bray Brothers, Chris & Kirk. They are great guys, true renaissance men who appreciate quality, design, and integrity in all things. Silver Piston jewelry is very cool, a collab between Hobo Shane and Steve West. Shane carves these insane hobo coins, and Steve crafts them into pendants, rings, lighters, and cuff links. When you show it to someone, and explain all the history, artistry, and craft behind each piece— they are hooked.
JP: (cont'd) The Café Rocker puts a smile on everyone’s face that walks through the door. I mean, who doesn't want a rocker that looks like a mini British café racer? I actually saw a grown man get on it! I wanted to laugh and punch him in the face at the same time! And of course, the Shop Rag Shirt (made in Fall River, Mass.) will always have a special place in my heart. I remember you unveiling your masterpiece through animated hands and cocktail napkin sketches. You were so wide-eyed and pure, I knew it was going to be amazing, and it is. Anyone who works with a shop rag thinks it is the coolest shirt since sliced bread. Myself included.
We're humbled to be represented in your store, thank you for that opportunity JP. You're a man of many collabo's. Working on anything you'd like to share?
JP: A partnership / collab I’m very excited about right now is working with David & Ginger from America Designs on some of the initial design elements of the shop like the blueprint walls, the ’57 Chevy hood— and the amazing curated vintage in the shop. Most of my collabs in the past, like with PRPS and Norman Porter have been selvedge denim. I’d like to continue that, and create a full TSY denim collection, made in the USA, that is accessible and honest. I’d also like to collaborate with friends who are photographers, artists, designers, etc. to create multi-media events and exhibits in the shop. More on that later.
What do you want your followers, now customers, to know about the new TSY shop?
JP: I feel like the unspoken motto for New Hope, and for the shop is— Don’t judge. If there’s a badass ’52 BSA dragbike in the window and vintage leather jackets everywhere (and there is!) it doesn’t mean it’s a shop just for bikers. If you see art and photography on the walls, we are not trying to be a hoity-toity gallery. We love motorcycles, rock ‘n’ roll, style and art. TSY is about inspiring and being inspired. It’s all the cool stuff that fuels us all to create cool shit and live out our dreams to their fullest. This is a store for young and old, all walks of life. You can come in and buy a locally made gift, cool clothes, vintage, or a piece of art or photography of The Race of Gentlemen races in Wildwood, NJ. We want to immerse everyone who comes into the TSY shop with our love for artistry, anarchy, alchemy & authenticity— and hopefully inspire them by being surrounded by all the natural born world shakers that canvas our walls!