A Conversation with Mark Bollman of Ball and Buck

Hopefully you’ve noticed a new friend that has moved into the neighborhood.  Ball and Buck is an outstanding spot on the Internet that caters to guys that like to be outdoors, love the smell of gunpowder, and appreciate a heritage approach to menswear and outdoor goods.

To me, it makes me think about the vintage camping ads from the 50’s – with the guys in heavy flannel and camp mocs, cooking meat over an open campfire, with fishing and shooting gear set up for early the next morning.  I love all their stuff.  I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Ball and Buck’s founder Mark Bollman over the past year, and there couldn’t be a better guy at the helm.  He embodies the spirit of Ball and Buck.  Just check their Instagram…it’s insane.

He was nice enough to sit down with us to give us a peek inside his world:

What is the history of Ball and Buck? I founded Ball and Buck back in 2008 when I saw a gap in the market for a brand focused on delivering the highest quality products rather than the cheapest. The large majority of brands on the market were focused on outsourcing and using price point as the number one deciding factor on how to make decisions. I envisioned building a set of modern staples that were made right here in America and used the highest quality materials in the world. Now we’ve got Ball and Buck.

What inspired you to start Ball and Buck? Being from Atlanta, I’ve been sportsman and outdoorsman my entire life. Whether it was duck hunting in Michigan, quail hunting in Georgia, or camping in the Blue Ridge mountains I have a deep appreciation for the outdoors. That appreciation comes with an understanding that Mother Nature, and the conditions you will often face on a hunting or camping trip demand goods that can survive the elements and last the test of time. Fast forward to 2008, and these experiences drove me to start Ball and Buck and incorporate the function and quality that was needed for the sporting lifestyle.

“At Ball and Buck we never look at what’s “trending” in fashion when we decide what to develop, its actually quite the opposite.”
– Mark Bollman, 2016

Why is “American Made” important to you? With a company that focuses on quality above all, we must have someone from our team frequently visit our manufacturing partners to ensure the high standards set by us are met. By producing the lion share of our products within a drive of our store and office. We are able to get onto the sewing floor almost everyday to put our eyes and hands on each product before it goes to our customers. On top of that, America is a country that was built on our ability to make things. I believe that continuing to strengthen that foundation is absolutely critical to our long term success.

What kind of guy is a Ball & Buck customer? The Ball and Buck customer is someone who is only willing to accept the best when it comes to quality.

What is your favorite product you have developed? The Hunter’s Shirt (pictured above). It’s the product that this company was built on, our best seller, and really Ball and Buck’s iconic product. Incorporating double needle stitching, double reinforced elbow patches, and our signature Ball and Buck shooting shoulder.  Its quality is untouched in the market. When you combine that with the huge versatility brought by this product you end up with a product that truly speaks to the Ball and Buck mission. It’s a shirt you can wear to the office, to a round of clays at Wolf Creek, and then out to the bar for a night with the boys. All the while it looks great, makes you feel great, and doesn’t fall apart when you run it through the laundry.

How does men’s style in your home base of Boston differ from the style here in Atlanta? There are actually large similarities between style in in Atlanta and Boston, at least when the weather isn’t frigid up north. In both regions you have customers who are looking for staple items that they can buy once and wear for many years. Its the guy who wants one great waxed jacket, a couple durable pairs of chinos, and an assortment of button downs that can be paired together in many ways and look great in all of them.

What trends are you watching now? At Ball and Buck we never look at what’s “trending” in fashion when we decide what to develop, its actually quite the opposite. We often say around the office that we want to make products that are as relevant today as they should be in two hundred years. Products that are truly timeless and get better with age. So if you’re looking for something that’s “on trend” you should shop elsewhere.

What do you like to do outside of Ball and Buck? Hunt, Fly Fish, Cook (above: Ball and Buck Breakfast Sandwich.  Click here for the recipe), Photography, Travel, and when I had time back as a student at Lovett, I raced in SCCA Club racing. Hopefully one day I’ll have time again to get back on the track. My next trip is to Argentina where I’ll be getting on an adventure bike and riding through Patagonia fly fishing the great rivers of the region. After the fishing leg we head to Cordoba to hunt doves then back to the states.

Where do you fall on Deflate-gate? Admittedly, I don’t dedicate as much time to watching TV as I could, so while I am aware of the situation with the footballs, I am no expert in the matter. With that said, it’s my general belief that it takes a lot more than a ball to win a football game.

What is on your Spotify playlist? Zeppelin, Radiohead, AltJ

…now, if I could just talk him into producing those insanely cool camo New Balances again…

P.S. – Don’t forget to stop by their Sample Sale in Atlanta today through Sunday.  Details here.

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3 Comments

  1. RH
    03/31/2016 / 10:03 AM

    Somebody get Mark enrolled in a firearm safety class. From the National Shooting Sports Foundation – “Never touch the trigger on a firearm until you actually intend to shoot.”

  2. RH
    03/31/2016 / 10:05 AM

    Somebody get Mark enrolled in a firearm safety class. From the National Shooting Sports Foundation – Never touch the trigger on a firearm until you actually intend to shoot.

  3. Cory
    03/31/2016 / 6:28 PM

    I stopped by the sample sale today. Picked up a pair of pants. Great prices!

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