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

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



Charleston Gourmet Burger Co.

I love Jay Fletcher for many reasons. He’s one of the most talented and prolific designers with whom I’ve ever had the good fortune to work. He’s funny, kind and makes the world better through design. And, he’s introduced me to some of my favorite people and clients. Enter Team Wilsondebriano.

Chevalo and Monique Wilsondebriano are incredibly warm, gracious people. They made me feel immediately at ease from the moment I met them. (Full disclosure: The fact that Chevalo is a Long Island native and Monique hails from my motherland, New Jersey, may add to my love for them.)

What you really need to know about this husband and wife team is that they turned their obsession into finding the perfect burger into making the perfect burger.

And they did it.

And it’s here in Charleston.

Their venture, Charleston Gourmet Burger Company, elevates the humble burger to legend status by keeping things simple and true. They use only locally-sourced, fresh-ground meat and their very own homemade marinade. Then they cook it to sizzling, juicy perfection and slip it into a tasty bun. Like so.

And it’s magic.

Delicious magic.

In addition to helping Monique and Chevalo tell their story (tagline and web copy), I had the pleasure of watching Jay Fletcher rock out the design and see Gregg at Limelight Custom Sign Co. whip up some incredibly original signage and be awed by Leapfrog PR as they shared the Charleston Burger Co. story with the world (I’m talking press and TV gigs, y’all!). Thanks to everyone for making this such a special project.


Check out the site for sure, and please, do yourself a solid and go get a burger, like now.





Family Circle Cup & friends

One of the many amazing things about Charleston is that every year, we play host to the Family Circle Cup, the largest women’s tennis tournament in the world. Each April, more than 100,000 tennis fans make their way to Charleston to see 70+ of the world’s greatest athletes do what they do best: volley, rally and smash into our lives in the most exciting way.

My friends at Obviouslee Marketing invited the super-talented Jay Fletcher and I to brainstorm concepts that highlight the beautiful harmony between one of the world’s greatest tennis tournaments and the Holy City it calls home.

Courtesy of J. Fletcher Design
Courtesy of J. Fletcher Design
Courtesy of J. Fletcher Design
Courtesy of J. Fletcher Design
Courtesy of J. Fletcher Design
Courtesy of J. Fletcher Design

Made from scratch – Greer Companies

Phil Greer, CEO and founder of the Greer Companies, grew up in an Eastern Kentucky mining town, became a University of Kentucky football star and then a celebrated high school coach and teacher. All that before he moved into community development, real estate, restaurants and hotels. You could say he’s a busy guy with an idea or two.

Together with Blue Ion, I had the pleasure of telling the Greer story through a brand manifesto and site copy. In its simplest terms, the story of Phil Greer is the story of his company: honor the place you call home: its people, its land and everything that makes it a place unlike any other, yours.

Here’s the site.


We grew up in American kitchens, on Main Streets and side streets, in front yards of blue grass, on porches, and local football fields. We come from hard working people who worked overtime, raised children, tended gardens, canned vegetables, fixed cars, and always made time for sunsets and neighbors.

We believe in giving people more than they can imagine – and everything we’ve got. So we only serve up the same quality, value, and respect we give our own families. It’s why you’ll only find fresh, delicious, homemade and handmade food in our restaurants. Why our hotels offer only warm hospitality, great service, and exceptional value. It’s why we take the time to listen, shake hands, and do more than people expect. It’s why we own everything we build – and why Kentucky will always be the place we call home.

Because we know that the things that matter don’t come in fancy packaging or far-away factories. They come from years spent doing right by people and their families. They come from our hearts, minds, and hands – and they’re always made from scratch.




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.

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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.

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


The story of you

Some of the most fun I have as a writer is helping clients share the story of who they are and what they do. Fortunately, I usually work with folks who eschew the traditional bio/about us/what we do format: i.e. Felix graduated summa cum laude from Pretentious University and…snore. No and no, Felix. Here’s a look at some of my recent faves.

Jay Fletcher is a mega-talented designer, and I’ve had the good fortune to work with him on a bunch of fun projects. I love Jay’s aesthetic, sense of humor and pragmatic approach to work and life. He recently redesigned his website and asked me to write his bio. As usual, he added both life and a design narrative to the words, and I’m so grateful to have been part of the process.

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Click to read larger version.

Although this didn’t make it into the final design, I feel strongly that this is also an apt description of Jay:

Jay Fletcher designs, digs deep, asks difficult but engaging questions, makes beautiful and compelling designed things, laughs in all the right places, cuts a rug from time to time, multitasks, handles it, remembers the punch line when you forget it, rides his bike to the coffee shop, is friends with writers, pets friendly stray dogs, recommends a beach honeymoon, flosses daily, and calls his Mom on the regular.

Lee Deas Brown is the Principal and Grand Imaginator of Obviouslee Marketing. I liked her immediately upon meeting her, and my adoration for her has been escalating ever since. Lee and her crew asked me to lend a hand as they put together their new website and marketing materials. Because they are so awesome in their own right, I mostly just nodded, laughed and applauded. I remember Lee asking me if I thought the “OM Way” part of the website, wherein they use normally negative words to describe what they do in a funny, positive way was “too much.” I said, “Bring it!” and added a few touches here and there. Here’s a fun one:

Heather Barrie is the Founder/Owner of Gathering Floral + Event Design. I met Heather a few years back when I was working on a project for her dear friend and creative soul mate, Kristin Newman. Heather is one of those people that exudes calm and grace. I feel like I could go completely to pieces in her presence, and she would gently and compassionately help me find my way out of it. Not that I would ever do this, Heather. Promise. I suppose that’s part of what makes her an amazing event and floral designer: calm in the face of chaos.

I had the opportunity to spend some time with Heather and Mary Ruth to learn why and how they came to be in the business of gatherings. Those conversations and Heather’s vision produced a storyline: about us, what you see, what you don’t, Heather Barrie and Mary Ruth Tribble that is uniquely and only them.

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Click to read larger version.
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Here’s Heather’s bio:

Perhaps it took root in my Mom’s garden or stirring pots in our kitchen – or maybe it was built within me, alongside my Dad as he crafted something out of nothing, me handing him nails, one by one. Perhaps it was during time spent in Europe; rapt by art, architecture,wandering the streets, the plants, flowers and flavors unlike anything I’d ever yet experienced. Maybe still, it came into being here in the Lowcountry amid the lush marshscapes, the changing light, the way one color bleeds into the next.  The “it” being the restless soul always open to a new adventure, craving beauty, & creative pursuits.

I came of age in hospitality – from bed and breakfasts with my first floral arrangements on breakfast trays to restaurants, catering, and selling wine until my small floral side gig became the gig. The truth is, every place I’ve ever been and every moment of my past are the inspiration for why I do what I do each day – and I love that tomorrow always brings something exciting and new.

And Mary Ruth’s:

I love how design moves and changes – my work is my avenue for creative expression. I’ve been creating, painting, glue-ing, building, and imagining since school days spent lost in the craft corner. What started out as school projects has evolved into friends’ birthdays, living spaces, accessories, and event, furniture, fabric, and lighting design.

Today, within minutes of entering a space, my mind races, creating ways to make our clients’ vision and expectations reach their full potential. In a day’s work, not only can I transform a space, I have successfully gone from running around in trendy sneakers and an apron, to throwing on a black dress and pretty high heels. If you are looking for me, don’t be surprised to find me on the top rung of a ladder, backing down an alley in a 26-foot truck, directing a ceremony or bustling a wedding gown.

Annie Byrd Hamnett, owner/founder of Byrdhouse Public Relations is a gem. She’s kind, warm and gracious, and if you don’t already know her, seek her out. Annie and I have worked together on several projects, and she’s always receptive and wonderful. While working with the fabulous ladies of Stitch on her new website, Annie asked me to write her bio. I jumped at the chance to share all the things that make Annie both a great professional and person with the world.

Annie Byrd Hamnett grew up among the abundant beauty of North Carolina’s pristine beaches—and its Blue Ridge mountains. Her early days spent helping her grandparents at their Christmas tree farm in Spruce Pine, harvesting potatoes, exploring the woods, and shelling beans on the porch instilled in her an abiding love of nature and open spaces—and a lifelong curiosity about and deep connection to the things that matter, like family, food, and travel.

True to her roots, Annie earned her degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill—then hit the road in search of adventure. A stint in San Francisco, a study abroad in Italy, cooking school in France, a honeymoon in Bora Bora, a safari in South Africa, and her home near the beach in Charleston serve as inspiration and confirmation that the things she loved most could also be her life’s work.

Annie’s clients are her friends—people whose work and craft she admires, believes in, and wants to share with the world. Her expertise is evident in the way she mindfully and strategically shares all that she loves about her clients with the right people, in the right places, at the right moment. Her mix of creative, thoughtful communication and business acumen has earned her clients the praise, press, and respect she always wanted for them.

In her down time, Annie loves being with her husband, Matt and their growing family: Matthew (1 ½), a baby girl on the way, and crazy coonhounds, Birdie and Stella.