Goat & Kettle
Tell us about your business.A few years ago I went to visit my grandfather in Pennsylvania. My wife, Lauren, couldn't come so I wanted to bring her back a gift. Small town PA didn't have too many gift shops - instead we spent most of our time at farmers' & flea markets. That's where I saw a box of beautiful antique keys - the rust, the engraving, the history - I knew it would be amazing if I could bend it into a ring. We bought three keys and brought them back to my grandfather's garage. After breaking the first two, we perfected the process and finished the third. My wife loved it (of course)! And, to our surprise, so did everyone else! This encouraged us to try to make more - and I was able to start working full-time on Goat & Kettle in November 2012. We still use the same heating and hand-hammering methods on our California patio that my grandfather and I used in his Pennsylvania garage. However, we now polish & powder-coat every ring - giving them an added layer of protection and a smooth finish.
What makes your business stand out?Most people that see our rings at markets or shows can honestly say they haven't seen this done before. The keys we use almost always come from American companies that started in the early to mid 1800's. Some even have patent dates, people's names, addresses, or just basic company information that helps us date and identify where and when each one was likely made and for what it was originally used. Whether it's a padlock, cash register, cabinet, safe, antique car, or trunk key, each one has its own unique look and history - and we try to discover and communicate that story for every ring, whenever and wherever we can. Not only are our handcrafted pieces truly historic, but they are a venture into upcycling and repurposing. We find keys and backplates that no longer have a purpose, that are often languishing in rust and layers of old paint, hidden away in a box or jar - and give them new life and purpose!
What's the best business advice you've received?At one of our very first face-to-face markets it was unusually slow - only a few people were meandering through the school parking lot where all of the vendors were set up. Our neighbor, who had been selling at markets and fairs for years and years, encouraged us to never say "no" to an opportunity when it comes to selling and getting your product out there in front of people. Now we try everything once. You never know who might stop by even the smallest market and see your unique product - a blogger, a celebrity, a boutique owner who wants you in their shop - anyone could be anywhere! At that very same market that started out slow, we had one person come by toward the very end who fell in love with our rings and bought one for each of her siblings, kids, and friends!
Mark Your Calendar
NOMINATIONSJun. 17, 2015
Nominate yourself or other aspiring entrepreneurs.Learn about American Made
VOTING BEGINSSep. 21, 2015
Vote for your favorite makers.
WINNERS ANNOUNCEDOct. 23, 2015
2015 Editors' Award Winners and Audience Choice Winner announced.See past Award Winners
AMERICAN MADE SUMMITNov. 7, 2015
Don’t miss our networking event and maker lecture series in New York City. Tickets available July 2015.