Monthly Archives: March 2012

Stella Metallurgica Lux

Factory workers at Stella, circa 1940s. (Image courtesy of Stella)

Mid-20th century Stella factory workers. (Image courtesy of Stella)

What comes to mind when someone talks about authentic Italian manufacturing and a nearly century-old tradition associated with it?

One possible answer to this question is Stella, an Italian company born from an intuition of Gino Sgarbi and Girolamo Chiozzi. In 1924, sandwiched between the economic crises caused by two world wars, these two entrepreneurs decided to create a brand which became a guarantee of quality.

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Stay Tuned: KM + IGWT + G. Wiseman

An amusing battle in the office over bringing more women’s products into the store has found resolve in an unlikely collaboration: knife-maker Gene Wiseman and In God We Trust owner and jewelry designer Shana Tabor.

Wiseman worked together with our own Sebastian Kaufmann in co-designing the KM-exclusive sodbuster pocketknife. We teamed up with Tabor thanks to a chance meeting strolling Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.  Go figure. Wiseman got his chops working many a hot, dusty summer in Oklahoma forging metal for horseshoes.

About ten years ago he started honing his milling and grinding skills as he turned his eye toward knife making. These days, he has a small workspace — the size of a trailer, where he makes the knives by himself, start to finish.

In God We Trust, NYC

Tabor also had a knack for knowing what she wanted to do at an early age. Making jewelry since she was twelve years old, she opened In God We Trust in 2005. Since its inception, the store has evolved into a multifaceted brand with three brick and mortar locations in New York. She and her team work in an expansive studio located in the back of IGWT’s Greenpoint shop. Tabor describes the space as a creative playground, with their “aresnal” that allows IGWT to have control over the entire production process.

We couldn’t be more excited to have the combined forces of Wiseman and Tabor to make this one of a kind piece of jewelry exclusively for Kaufmann Mercantile. More info soon!

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Bye Blog. Hello References!

We wanted to let you know that we redesigned our blog, giving it the newer, and we think better name “References.” Why? It is actually a logical consequence for what we set out to do from the beginning.

I started Kaufmann Mercantile as a traditional blog almost a year before the store opened. It was summer of 2009, and I had a long list of daily reads from blogs I admired, starting with A Continuous Lean, 10ENGINES, and Secret Forts. When I decided to start my own blog, it was immediately followed by the fear: How can my voice be different? How can I make it fit?

My thought was to marry a vision of fashion and other “cool” things with seemingly ordinary products, things like kitchen towels or wooden crates.

I was largely motivated by environmental concerns – If I could make people have the same enthusiasm about kitchen towels as they did about a new pair of shoes, maybe we could all stop using paper towels! – but I also had an abiding interest for the design and quality of everyday goods.

Then while searching for products for the store, I became interested in the materials that they were made of. So I wrote articles on Natural RubberStainless Steel, and borosilicate glass.

While learning, I was trying to do was create a place that would help other people make better decisions when buying products – paying attention to usage, production, and the history of materials and place. And since behind every good product is a passionate person with a story worth telling, those narratives also become part of the project.

Since all these articles were written about tools and people and ideas which were essentially timeless (in my mind, anyway) the traditional blog format of having the oldest article be at the end of a long list seemed unjust and, frankly, inaccurate.

This new design allows for a more friendly way to access the information our amazing set of writers have created. Every article allows for comments and we would love to hear your thoughts. You can also email me directly. View References here.

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Stifel Textiles

Logo of the Stifel Fabrics Company

Stifel fabrics logo.

J.L.Stifel and Sons, a textile manufacturing brand, was the foremost cotton production company in West Virginia from 1835 to 1956 and was known for quality, indigo-dyed cotton calicoes. Calico, one of the oldest cotton products around, was a popular plain weave textile in no more than two or three colors. Softer and thinner than canvas or denim but durable and affordable, it was once widely used in workwear clothing. Common motifs included polka dots, flowers and dotted lines as found in bandanas and ticking.

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