Words and Photos by Eric Franklin Shook
William Henry (website) is an American luxury brand, designing and creating jewelry and accessories specifically for men. The William Henry collection includes jewelry, knives, pens, key-chains, writing instruments, money clips, cuff-links, and golf tools. The brand has become popular with many Hollywood celebrities including Jared Leto (actor/director), Matt Goss (singer/songwriter), Jamie Alexander (actress/director), and Peter Facinelli (producer/actor).
William Henry’s limited-production collections are sold on its website and through a select group of authorized independent retailers in the US and abroad. The William Henry brand has received awards like the JCK Jewelers Show Choice Award, while dominating the early part of the century by winning the Blade magazine Investor/Collector Knife of the Year Award a total of ten times between 2000–2012, including the Overall Knife of the Year Award (also by Blade magazine) for three of those years.
The company and brand is helmed by Matt Conable. Matt is an American designer, entrepreneur, and owner of William Henry brand. Conable first became an apprentice for knife-maker David Boye at age 19 in Davenport, California, where he learned the fundamentals of knife design. Later he moved to Arizona with his wife, where they worked together as a craft team, designing and creating custom knives. At age 27, Conable returned to the Bay Area and in 1997 founded the brand William Henry, which is dedicated to designing for men.
Today my friend Chip Williams (of Chip Williams Racing School) and I were attending a special signing event at Fink’s Jewelers with the William Henry founder and designer, Matt Conable. The William Henry collections were on full display, with Matt personally signing each certificate of authenticity for all purchases made during the one-day events. While speaking with Matt, I learned that his appreciation and personal connection with the dealer network is key. Matt’s signing-tour does take up a healthy portion of his work schedule, but he’s happy to participate with dealer events and meet face-to-face with fans, fellow craftsmen, and customers. While on tour Matt is able to divide his time between signing events and in-store appearances with the duties of sourcing materials for his US-based factory. While traveling the country Matt can manage his procurement schedule while tackling crucial meetings with his vendors. It all sounds like the business of yore, and I like it. The William Henry story is one straight out of “American Dream” cookbook, where our protagonist, through years of development and plain hard work, has his passions become true, and he gets the girl.
To call Matt Conable’s one-of-a-kind creations merely jewelry would be a great disservice to reality; by any sane measure the William Henry collections are comprised of practical-art-pieces. Matt’s designs are tactile, functional, and produced with meticulous attention to craftsmanship. Materials are sourced, and production is done, right here in the US. The William Henry collection of products fit right in line with today’s masculine high-fashion culture, but could be easily seen as a go-to everyday carry brand for the serious knife collector.
The William Henry corporate headquarters is located in McMinnville, Oregon USA.
Find them on the web at www.williamhenry.com.