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"The Allen Associates team has cultivated working relationships with some of the top business minds in the United States. The firm's An American Story, leads us to brilliant little nuggets of creative capitalism and culture.."

- Benjamin Stephens, Top 10 Creative Blogs You May Have Missed 

An American Story


— Authentic American Inspiration —


Kickstand " The Original " Cold Brewed Coffee

The Luxe Concentrate

Remember the milk man? Probably not.

The theory lives on in Brooklyn though. Only instead of the creamy pasteurized daily source of calcium that does a body good, we are talking coffee. Cup of Joe. Jitter Juice. Java. The nectar of the God’s, our morning wakeup, our afternoon refresher, our midnight bad decision.

Kickstand Brooklyn is a startup that understood two things: Gotham is a mobile city, and Gothamites need their caffeine. So it began with a few rickshaws and a few million tired souls at the unending events that siege the city daily, and the once incongruent term “bike barista” was born. Growing with the mobile idea, Kickstand Brooklyn now offers Sunday and Monday iced coffee delivery service to the client’s brownstone stoop. No motor, sustainable and compact recyclable bottles ,and a gourmet flavor make for an evolving contingency of happy, green- conscious, and alert citizens who coincidentally reside in a city that never sleeps.

The worldly beverage is consumed in those NYC landmark paper cups, the famous blue and white trim with the Greek motif and the simple “We are happy to serve you” emblazoned on its side. One gets the feeling that at this rate, Kickstand Brooklyn might someday share the same lofty status in the realm of caffeine.


Brooklyn Brine Company

This is not your Grandmother’s pickling.

That is said that necessity is the mother of invention, and although in our most minimal state it can be argued that we don’t need Fennel Beets, Chipotle Carrots, Garlic Scapes or Minted Eggplant, to name a few, after a taste or two of these…well, much like beauty, necessity is in the eyes of the beholder. At Brooklyn Brine Company, where tattoos and preserving run concurrent with one another, a twist on the art of pickling, one that is as fresh as their product, has turned an ambitious startup into a growing enterprise. Featured wherever seasoned palates might feast throughout the crowded city of Gotham, and now nationwide through Williams-Sonoma and numerous other food commerce chains, Brooklyn Brine Co. and their upgrade to an age old American undertaking are slowly rebooting what was once banal and mundane and rebranding it with a hipster edge. Imaging aside, their next generation vegetarian delicacies simply taste phenomenal.

Brooklyn Brine Company lives with a bold mission statement: We make “Damn Fine Pickles”. A declaration, sans colorful hype and circus style marketing. A simple statement, about a product crafted of simple ingredients, yet a potent punch to what indie cuisine and small business can be.

If ever caught in a pickle, cross your fingers it’s from Brooklyn Brine Co.

Brooklyn Brine

Lena Blackburne Baseball Rubbing Mud

Eddie Collins left, Lena Blackburne center, Ty Cobb right

Yep. It’s a real product. And the only product used by all thirty Major League Baseball clubs to break in balls. All minor league teams too. Give it that non sheened scuff, without scratching the leather of the hardball. Wear it in, without marring the beauty of the white leather and red stitching. Lena Blackburne, a Philadelphia A’s third base coach, discovered the product after listening to the complaints of an umpire concerning the usual ball weathering products. Tobacco juice. Infield dirt. Shoe polish. Schmutz, glop, and other unspeakables from under the bleachers. All of which left the balls in garbled disrepair, and, moreover, the performance of the balls became as capricious as all those products, and all the variables of whoever is applying those products are wont to do. Baseball wouldn’t want to seem capricious.

The one thing that baseball does better than seem capricious, is inculcate a sense of legend and mystery. Lena Blackburne Baseball Rubbing Mud does just that. Legend has that Lena began scouting the brackish banks of the Delaware River in Southern New Jersey in 1938, and came upon a “secret location” rife with the perfect admixture of mud suited for, you know, rubbing baseballs. God Himself had beset the banks of a river with some divine ingredient. Sounds almost biblical.

Jim Blintiff runs the company now, and is purported to be the only person who knows the real location of Blackburne’s “secret spot”. He culls the mud himself, and cures it behind his house before jarring and shipping the product across the nation. The Baseball Rubbing Mud is sold in 32 ounce jars. No doubt, paleontologists of the future will puzzle over dirt native to the Delaware River found in trace amounts on the surface of baseballs, under the thin swath of inked autographs, entombed in glass spheres, and buried under rubble of shelving and books all over the globe.

Story, Billy Comparetto


Best Made Company

It began with an axe.

The gritty, rustic tool that man has used since becoming self aware thousands of years ago, the axe is both the anchor and an avatar for NYC based Best Made Company. Founded in 2009 by a North Canadian who knows a thing or two about the rugged outdoors, Best Made Co. caters to varying crowds with one shared trait; A desire to get their hands dirty.

"Big Jug" Pure Organic Maple Syrup

Along with other empowered gear and wares, Best Made aims to hearken back to an era when men were men, and became one with nature, craftsmanship, and each other through fulfilling projects. The instinctual yearning to build and create has not waned with the increasingly pampered times. In other words, with their finely constructed Best Made products, survivalists and weekend warriors alike are now kindred spirits. And for those hand models and internet worker bees who can’t afford to risk their precious paws, an axe from Best Made Co. still serves as fine art on a wall.

Seamless & Steadfast Enamel Steel Cup

Paul Bunyan would be so proud.

Story, JMA


Timothy Oulton 

Timothy Oulton's lifestyle collections grace the showrooms of Restoration Hardware and his eponymous luxury retail concept stores in the Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe, and Mediterranean. Inspired by timeless, classic design and artisanship through the centuries, the designer constantly tests the boundaries to bring an eclectic, elegant aesthetic to his collection. Michael Allen chats with Mr. Oulton about the current collection, the brand's evolution , and his state-of-mind.

You've moved from antique dealer to designing and developing products sold world-wide. Were you compelled to fill a void in the market? 

I don’t think it was so much to fill a void in the market. Exposure at an early age to the antiques industry introduced to me beautiful design and gave me an understanding and appreciation of it, and this led to a desire to design and develop a collection. Being surrounded by great, hand crafted products most of my life has definitely had an impact on how I now manufacture and produce my furniture. We use the original, time-honored techniques– hand craftsmanship, hand carving, traditional joinery, unique hand finishing processes for our leathers – only the best traditional methods are used. I think it was a love for design and a desire to see things done this way that has motivated me more.

Who's your target customer? 

I think these days the majority of our customers are exposed to a wide range of design. I think our customer is someone who, when choosing their furniture, is inclined to go for individuality in a piece, and who is prepared to mix it up a little. Time and design elements are no longer adhered to – you can combine traditional and modern pieces, and it gives it a more interesting feel. I have an appreciation for good design whether it is traditional or modern – and I think our customers have an appreciation for this too.

You have a reputation for creating classic, timeless pieces. What makes a design classic and timeless? 

Functionality, originality and form.

Do you have a favorite piece in your current offering?

I like the drums. I come from a military family – my father was a major in the army, so I’ve always had a bit of a fascination with military inspired design and the classic regimental colours. They’re a great piece but they’re not for everyone. The trunks are probably a stand out for me…mainly because of the skill and craftsmanship that goes into each and every one. Each trunk requires around 72 man hours to complete. We use classic craftsmanship to complete each part – right down to all 400 finishing pins that are applied by hand.

From where do you draw your product design inspiration?  

Obviously the world of antiques has provided me with endless inspiration. And I am always inspired by flea markets, which I visit around the world.

If it's not a secret, what's about your current project?

We are working on few special projects that we will be launching later in the year…top secret at the moment though! Stay tuned for that one!

Timothy I'm guessing guessing that you're the person friends ask 'where to place the ottoman'. Between us... and the business folks that will be reading this at their desks, share your interior design strategy. 

I think that once you have a clear design direction and key pieces in place, have some fun. I scour antique stores and flea markets and always come away with hysterical treasures that make life just that bit more interesting and personal.

Hong Kong Gallery

Good interior design that encompasses individual style has always relied on pieces from different cultures and design periods. Think outside the box and mix in pieces you respond to, even if they're not the most obvious design choice.

Also, think first about what a room means to you, your expectations and what it will be used for. I approach all design from this aspect to find the right balance of form and function.

How do you see your brand evolving over the next few years?  

I think we will incorporate some softer, slightly more feminine collections into our offering, by adding different fabrications and designs to the mix. We will continue to expand our accessories collection also. I see the brand becoming more of a lifestyle offering, with collections that take on different styles, whilst keeping the uniqueness of our brand.

What's your current state-of-mind? 

Excited. We are working on lots of great projects at the moment and have plans in the pipeline for many more!

To learn more about the Timothy Oulton Collection visit Restoration Hardware, one his galleries, or view online at