It all started with an ax. A hand-painted ax, to be precise, envisioned by Peter Buchanan-Smith, a graphic designer who had previously worked most prominently with Paper Magazine and Isaac Mizrahi. In 2009, after a string of bad luck (his dog died, contracts dried up, he closed down his Midtown office, and he had to sell his beautiful Victorian in Maplewood, NJ), he hatched the idea to do hatchets.
New York was in the midst of a heritage moment filled with beards and workwear and countless articles proclaiming this neighborhood or that block the new Williamsburg, and these axes, manufactured in Maine and painted in TriBeCa, were quickly picked up by the design news media and blogs and heralded as that most covetable of covetable titles: The Next Big Thing.
An exhibition at the Saatchi gallery in London followed, then a Gilt sale — in which 100 axes were sold in the space of an hour — then a New York Times article, where Peter stated that he “wanted to do something simple and sweet. It was like an invitation to this world I wanted to create. The world of making things where notions of courage and fortitude are associated with it, but also playfulness and levity.” Finally, Peter did what any self-respecting entrepreneur would do: expanded the product line, and opened his own shop on White Street in downtown New York City.
These days, Best Made Co. boasts a wide variety of wares, running the gamut from axes to enamel tableware, with everything from vintage maps to good-looking first aid kits, kitchen brushes and shears, and more. Basically, if it’s functional and suitable for everyday use, Peter will find a way to design it beautifully.