Outdoor retailer Wayward Collective sat down with our founder Ryan Coulter to hear about how his search for the perfect, everyday carry knife ended in the founding of The James Brand.
When we started James, all of the knives on the market were either hunt/fish or tactical; no one was designing the knives we wanted to carry. We saw a gap we could fill with minimalist design and attention to detail – this approach led us to create the Chapter, and we’ve been continuing to follow that ethos ever since.
WC: Can you introduce yourself and tell us the story of how The James Brand got started?
RC: My name’s Ryan Coulter. I’m an industrial designer and a creative director. I grew up in the Midwest (Indiana) and been carrying knives my entire life. I couldn’t find the exact knife I wished I was carrying every day—everything out there was either hunting/fishing or tactical. I wanted something more refined. At the same time, I was realizing I wasn’t really connected to the knife brands that were out there, so it seemed like a good opportunity to kill two birds with two stones: design and produce the knife I really wanted to carry, and create a brand that would represent that idea for other people out there like me. This was all back in 2011 and that’s how The James Brand came about.
WC: What would you say separates knives from The James Brand from others?
RC: I think our focus on modern, minimal everyday carry is really the thing that sets us apart. We don’t do machetes. We don’t do hunting and skinning knives. We are very focused on knives and tools that people would actually carry with them every day. We want to be in your pocket, with you all the time.