Q&A: Brothers & Craft
As preacher’s children, the brothers Chambers—Kirk, Zac, Clay and Matt—moved all over The South growing up. They didn’t come from money, but it didn’t matter. They learned to value relationships and artistry, to be resourceful and, eventually, to join forces. In 2012, they created Brothers & Craft, a creative lifestyle brand that masterfully combines menswear, culture and community. And brings the family ethos to life.
“We loved telling stories about travel, community and craftsmanship, frequently around a good drink or meal,” says Kirk Chambers (shown here). “B&C started out as creative outlet for us, but it gave meaningful inspiration to others.”
The four brothers repurposed with purpose. Everything they touched turned to proverbial gold, from a table found on the side of the road, to Goodwill clothing they nipped, tucked and reinvented to new standards of cool. High demand was inevitable. As the company began to grow in leaps and bounds, it started to spotlight the stories of other craftsman and entrepreneurs. More recently, it shifted from sharing content to creating it for other brands as a full-fledged creative agency. The family venture has been featured in every mag from GQ to Details (and, yes, the brothers have since quit their former day jobs).
BR: What moves you?
KC: Family. At the start of my career, I was extremely motivated to create a life where my family wouldn’t be isolated from my day-to-day work life. I wanted them to be a part of what I do, not just an afterthought. Working for one’s self is one of the hardest things in the world. It requires much more discipline than the corporate world, but it’s also more rewarding because I’m doing something I love. I’m fortunate my family now plays a role in that. My wife works as a makeup artist for shoots we produce for Kindler Studios, and my kids regularly come to my office to play with lights and photo gear.
My nephew, Jude, also moves me. He plays a huge role in why we exist and try to make the world a better place. Jude is 10 years old and has a rare genetic disorder called Tuberous Sclerosis Complex. Caring for someone with a special need or disability is daunting and overwhelming. Since he was diagnosed at 5-months-old, life was flipped upside down for his father (my oldest brother Matthew and his wife Jordana). That’s one of the reasons we believe so much in Springible, our brand new venture that serves as a lifestyle and consumer platform dedicated to family members, caregivers, and supporters of people with special needs and disabilities. We wanted to help people like my brother and sister-in-law.
BR: What’s it like working with family on the daily?
KC: It’s amazing, but it takes work. The best part about working with my brothers is their honesty. No one on our team is afraid to speak their mind or share their opinion. We argue and fight like any family, but at the end of the day, we have each other’s backs. I know this honesty is always rooted in genuinely caring about my best interest, which can take the edge off of a stressful situation.
BR: How does your personal style vary between brothers?
A: The elements are similar, but I like to wear mostly classic pieces and then add something edgy or unique. I wear a lot of solids and earth tones. I like keeping my life (and look) as simple and non-cluttered as possible. Everything from decorating my home to what I wear.
BR: What’s the hardest part about attaining a dream?
KC: Waking up every day and realizing that it’s all on me. If I don’t show up, or my brothers don’t show up, or if we don’t feel like working, it’s not going to get done, and there are serious consequences if we don’t show up every day. Working for a large organization in the past, I saw some people sitting back and doing the bare minimum, but when you have your own business that you want to last a lifetime…you can’t do that, you can’t hide. The easiest part is knowing I’m doing something I love that’s making a difference.
BR: What’s the best advice you’ve received?
KC: “Live below your means.” When you follow this simple piece of advice, it allows you to do more with your life. The reason why most people can’t follow their dreams is because they can’t afford to. They’re spending more than they earn. They can’t quit their job because they have to pay for that giant house with all the rooms they don’t need, or they’re in so much debt from that luxury car they bought, or have too many maxed out credit cards for all the ‘stuff’ they wanted. Their lifestyle owns them. For me, I reached a moment where I had to decide what was more important: doing what I love, or having a bunch of things I don’t really need and dreading the every day. I do believe you can have nice things and do what you love, but you have to work extra hard for that. It’s not going to be handed to you.
KC: Earth tones. Minimalism. Architecture. Also, the places I’ve lived, like the farm country in east Tennessee, West Texas and Central Florida.
BR: What’s one piece that never fails?
KC: It’s either a watch, or great pair of sneakers or oxford dress shoes. If I don’t have one of these, I’m done.
BR: Which BR piece is the most essential?
KC: The olive cotton linen suit. The color is rich, yet subtle. The fabric is perfect for hot days in The South, especially spring and summer. I like how versatile it is…you can dress it up or down. I’ll wear the suit together, but also break it up by wearing the pants on their own with an oxford tucked in, and the blazer with a nice pair of jeans with loafers.