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Posts tagged ‘Brennan Wesley’

Beer & Boots


As luck would have it, I love both beer and boots! The cherry on top is that I recently had the good fortune of helping two great brands tell their story.

Palmetto Brewery is a Charleston-based brewery hell bent on making good South Carolina beer for South Carolina. These guys are what you might call the teeniest bit obsessed with making beer, and I mean that in the best possible way. And before you ask, yes, they all have facial hair. As Founder/Owner/Brewer/Engineer Ed Falkenstein told me, “A beard is the badge of self employment.”

The first brewery in the state of South Carolina, Palmetto is also the only South Carolina brewery that also bottles its beer. It’s a bit like the brewery footage in the opening of Laverne & Shirley but with much more facial hair.

One of the best things about Palmetto is how dedicated they are to making good beer that people want to drink. And they never stop trying to do it better. As Ed so eloquently said, “Satisfaction suppresses improvement. You learn something new every day.”

My pals at Blue Ion built Palmetto Brewery a fantastic, responsive website that works in harmony with the incredible new identity Gil Shuler Graphic Design crafted. Special shout outs to Josh (interactive design), Mark (identity), and Brennan (photography).


I had a blast crafting copy that spoke both to the fun that is beer and to the no nonsense way Ed lives his life and makes beer. Below may just be one of my favorite lines of all time.

palmetto pants

La Mundial is a family-owned, fully custom equestrian boot company based in Quito, Ecuador. The time, care, and commitment that go into making these boots is awe-inspiring from start to finish. From the more than 40 distinct measurements that happen before a single piece of leather is touched to the 10-step process that ensures every boot is a work of high performance art.

My pals at Blue Ion did a fantastic job of helping La Mundial position itself for equestrian enthusiasts and fashionistas alike. Special shout outs to Sydney, Laura, and Ben on this one.

Here’s the manifesto I wrote:

Our roots date back to 1906 when boot maker Don Francisco Rivas opened a small shop in Quito, Ecuador and began handcrafting custom boots for horse riding enthusiasts. His son, Roberto, learned at his father’s side and joined the business, and later, his granddaughter, Sonia, became one of the first women in the shoe-manufacturing industry. Don Francisco’s grandson, also named Roberto, brought La Mundial to the United States in 2002, and to Canada in 2007. La Mundial now enjoys a strong following in both the US and Canada, as well as in our home country of Ecuador, and various countries around the world.

Today, our fourth generation family business remains true to Don Francisco Rivas’ commitment to crafting fully-custom equestrian boots of unparalleled performance, design and value. Ours is a tradition of hard work and pride in our craft. We believe that even the smallest details ensure exceptional boots that move and feel like a natural, beautiful extension of your body.

We believe the true measure of things crafted with care and passion isn’t just found in the beauty of the finished product, but in the grace, time and tradition inherent in their making — and the journey that awaits those who wear them.

This is La Mundial. The true measure of performance.

So relax, you don’t need to ride a horse to wear these boots. You just have to appreciate incredible craftsmanship and a family tradition of doing exactly what you love.



Kettle Cuisine

kettle cuisine home

Helping clients share what they care most about is one of the most gratifying parts of what I do. And the folks at Kettle Cuisine care a lot. These hardworking, passionate folks handcraft small batch, all natural soups from scratch for restaurants, foodservice operators and grocery retailers. Not only do they source the best ingredients from an incredible array of purveyors, they also make soup in a way that no one else is, unless we’re including your Grandma or Mom. Which is to say they make soup the way you’d make it…that is if you had hours to make stock, gathered the very best ingredients you could find, and treated each ingredient like it was your favorite child. Are we clear? These people mean it.

My Blue Ion pals, photographer Brennan Wesley, and I had the pleasure of venturing to Boston to watch this incredible team in action. In addition to eating some of the best soup we’ve ever had, we had the incredible opportunity to share all of their wonderful sights, smells, and stories through a new website, marketing materials and a tradeshow booth. Shout outs to Woody, Robert, Rich, Zach, Ben, Brian and Brennan for what is a truly stunning, high performance site and body of work.

The icing on the cake? I mean, the dollop of sour cream on the soup? The Kettle Cuisine team and the talented folks at Windy Films transformed the manifesto I’d written into a beautiful video piece, starring the people who make the delicious magic happen, every day.

kettle cuisine home

kettle cuisine our story


WorkSpaces, The Boulevard & Ms. Rose


My Blue Ion pals asked me to play along on a branding exercise and new website for WorkSpaces. In essence, WorkSpaces is total furniture, technology, product, and service provider helping businesses, institutions, and organizations achieve the highest quality furniture installations. But what makes them truly unique is their revolutionary approach to their work. I had the pleasure of articulating that approach for them, and it’s served both as a rallying cry internally and a key difference that set them apart from the competition.

Here’s one for the books: together with Blue Ion, Brennan Wesley and the good folks of the Charming Inns, we put together five, count ‘em five, websites for their amazing family of Charleston properties. They are: Charming Inns, The John Rutledge House Inn, The Wentworth Mansion, Kings Courtyard Inn and Fulton Lane Inn. The copywriting covered everything from the brand manifestos and photo captions to staff recommendations and tips for pet-loving guests.

Click to read larger version.

Click to read larger version.

Click to read larger version.

Click to read larger version.

Crossing the bridge to Mount Pleasant, you’ll find The Boulevard, a mixed-use apartment and retail community on Coleman Boulevard. The Boulevard is going to be amazing for lots of reasons. It’s one of the first big projects for the Coleman Boulevard Revitalization Project; it’s close to downtown, the beach, shopping, and restaurants, and it’s an fill development, so it makes use of existing space rather than clearing new land. Take a peek. Big ups to the Blue Ion team for this one.

Photo by Blue Ion.

A few months back, my pal Gil Shuler asked me to help out with copy for Ms. Rose’s Fine Food & Cocktails. Located in the space that was previously Sunfire Grill & Bistro, Ms. Rose’s is owned by the Zucker family. In fact, the restaurant is named for and inspired by Anita Zucker’s Mom, Rose. I had the opportunity to interview Jonathan and Anita for the project and so enjoyed getting to know them and hearing them thoughts on and memories of Rose, who is, by their accounts, still cooking and still a character.

Gil and his team created an incredible logo, identity system, menus, cocktail napkins, uniforms, merch, you name it. Everything is beautiful, playful, slightly vintage and slightly modern and, as always, full of good vibes. Reggie Gibson and his team designed the space and turned what was a boring stretch of Sam Rittenberg Boulevard into one eye-catching, must-see venue.

Special thanks to Gil for this one. It was a sheer joy from start to finish. I loved meeting everyone and felt honored to help an amazing family share their love for one great lady. As you might imagine, the food and drinks are incredible. I don’t think Ms. Rose would have it any other way. Get there soon.

Click to read larger version.

Bad@ass identity system and photo courtesy of the mighty Gil Shuler Graphic Design.

Love and marriage

February 19, 2010


Around this time last year, I had the opportunity to write copy for the website of one of Charleston’s best wedding designers, Kristin Newman. To be in Kristin’s presence is to begin to know a woman with an exquisite eye for design, who has the skills to understand a bride’s vision and the keen ability to breathe life and energy into it until it exceeds one’s imagined idea. That is just part of what makes her exceptional.

Hello, Newman...

Blue Ion crafted a site that is both minimalist and striking, elegant and simple. Beautiful imagery by Brennan Wesley and Tim Zielenbach (among others). Copy by me.


All of this wedding business has me thinking. What does it all mean?

The dress. The design. In-laws. Church. Synagogue. Indoor. Outdoor. Elk’s Lodge or historic villa. So much brouhaha over one day when perhaps, the celebration should come somewhere in the middle.

I just finished reading The Maytrees, a lyrical and beautiful novel by Annie Dillard. It’s the story of a marriage, among other things. This passage especially moved me and seems to somehow convey why we go to such lengths for love.

“Falling in love, like having a baby, rubs against the main current of our lives; separation, loss, and death. That is the joy of them.”

Madaktari on Communication Arts

February 9, 2010



On the heels of the ADDYs came another lovely moment. Yesterday, the Communication Arts website featured Madaktari as their webpick of the day. Congrats and thanks to Blue Ion, Brennan Wesley and Kathleen Ellis.


Madaktari: CA’s webpick of the day

As I’ve mentioned before, I wrote copy for the Madaktari website, and it’s inspiring to see the organization’s work and dedication get the attention it deserves. Sustainable health care: an idea so simple in theory and vital in nature. All coming to life. Please support Madaktari.

In other news, was very psyched to see the ladies of Stitch grab a handful of solid golds at the ADDYs the other night. Among their winning work was the identity and packaging for the Charleston-based, female-owned and operated company, Cutey Booty.

Photo by Stitch. Cutey Booty baby boxers!

The brainchild of two friends, career women and Moms, Angie and Whitney, Cutey Booty is a modern spin on traditional pieces, specifically, the bloomers and boxers that cover baby bums.

I had the pleasure of coming up with a tagline, storyline and hangtag copy for this dynamic duo. Many thanks to Courtney and Amy for asking me to play along on this one. The identity and packaging is simply beautiful: playful and memorable. Should you have the need to buy for a baby’s bum, check out the CB website.

Madaktari and “the ordinary instant.”


Thinking about Haiti and how, as Joan Didion wrote in The Year of Magical Thinking, “Life changes fast. Life changes in the instant. The ordinary instant.”

Here are ways to help Haiti.

As horrific as the devastation is, it’s as overwhelmingly hopeful to watch the world mobilize support, which always begins with one person digging in and doing the work.


A while back Blue Ion asked me to help out with a pro-bono project for Madaktari. Madaktari is Swahili for “physician.” It’s also a medical training and healthcare program created by South Carolina neurosurgeon and MUSC Professor Dilantha Ellegala. The program is a true testament to one person digging in, and the beautiful momentum of support that follows. It’s about changing life “in the ordinary instant.”

I’m grateful to have had the chance to help tell the story. Many thanks to my friend and photographer Brennan Wesley who provided the incredible imagery, as well as Kathleen Ellis from MUSC who provided me with the program details, energy and spirit behind this inspiring work.

An excerpt of the copy I wrote for the website:

In Tanzania and other East Africa countries, there is a frightening lack of physicians – and other healthcare workers. Which means healthcare in Africa is in real trouble.

Tanzania has 5.2 healthcare workers for every 10,000 people.

That’s as scary as it sounds.

That’s the lowest number of physicians per persons in the world. And, the shortage of healthcare workers is getting worse. Currently, 25,000 healthcare workers are trying to serve a population of 40 million.

The problem doesn’t end there.

85% of Tanzanians live in rural areas with rugged roads and little to no transportation. So, a trip to a healthcare facility is difficult and often dangerous.

But where there is a challenge, there is also opportunity.

That’s where Madaktari begins.

Madaktari is medical training and education for the developing world. Physicians training physicians. Health care workers training health care workers. The Madaktari team helps local caregivers learn the techniques they need to care for their community. Those people, in turn, train others. Before long, you’ve got a local, sustainable, self-propagating system of care. Led by the people who live there.

Through in-country education led by volunteer physicians and health care workers, the creation of Madaktari-modeled teaching hospitals and in-country and global partnerships, Madaktari is empowering people to help themselves.

And when lots of people are empowered, things start happening.

Mortality rates drop.

Heath improves.

Life is better.

And it starts with one doctor, nurse, health care provider…and you.

Change healthcare. Improve life.

Photography by Brennan Wesley.


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