Brad Wellman, Mill City Fineries
Mill City Fineries was born out of a passion for hand making small-batch menswear accessories in our home state of Minnesota. Co-founders Brad Wellman and Matt Brunnette travel the world for the most unique, highest quality, and limited edition fabrics. Each piece is then created by hand by them and a small band of artisans in Minneapolis. Mill City Fineries has two ties in The Maker’s Collection, a select group of Minnesota’s most sought after artisans who sat down with the American Refugee Committee to design of a custom collection of hand-crafted gifts. Adding fresh meaning to locally made goods, The Maker’s Collection is an exclusive collection of gift-ready products that work to create real change worldwide. As one of the exclusive makers in the collection, we share Brad’s insight in a few questions below.
Talk about the Cotton Necktie and the Woven Thai Necktie Mill City Fineries has in this year's Maker’s Collection. What is special about them?
Each tie collection we produce is special for various reasons, first and foremost being the fabrics selected, and this collection for the ARC is no different! The green cotton used necktie was chosen as a complementary color to the overall design aesthetic of the Makers Collection. The woven Thai necktie is particularly special as it is a hand-woven fabric from Thailand, exclusive to the ARC for this project, and the proceeds from the sale of these ties directly impacts the communities from which the fabric originated.
The "Woven Thai Necktie" for The Maker's Collection
What do you find unique about the range of makers in this collection?
From menswear and womenswear, to jewelry, glassware, coffee, and home goods… The Maker’s Collection truly features something for everyone! Combine that with the handcrafted artisan nature of each piece and the benevolence of the mission that the Collection supports, and it really is a unique shopping opportunity. Beyond that, pairing the unique nature of the Makers Collection with the timing of the holiday season, when so often people are looking to give back to their communities and to noble causes, and shopping the Makers Collection is even more appealing.
What does the process of making look like from start to finish at Mill City Fineries?
Whether it be a retail collection, or a custom order for a wedding or a group such as the ARC, our process for developing a collection begins with the fabric. Whether we’re personally traveling the globe searching for the most unique, interesting fabrics (we recently acquired a wool/cashmere/silver mink blend—yes, silver mink) or working with our various partners to find antique, vintage fabrics (we’ve worked with fabrics as old as the 1920’s), our core brand offering is centered on our ability to produce small batch, limited run accessories right here in Minneapolis from fabrics that have a story.
Every piece is then numbered so the end user knows that indeed each piece is of a limited-edition nature.
How does the Maker’s Collection inspire you? Do you feel like selling through this collection allows you to contribute to something bigger than yourself?
The Maker’s Collection is inspiring because it offers an opportunity to join together with local artisans and provide a real, tangible, and substantial benefit to those in need.