Hunting Apparel. What did your mind just picture when you read that? I think of a very practical, multi-pocketed, water-resistant, camouflage jacket that, frankly, I wouldn’t wear. Why? I’m more of a drinking coffee in an all black outfit while writing horror stories kind of guy. However, when I walked into Ball and Buck’s Pop-Up Shop at Cherry Creek, I couldn’t get past how stylish the clothes were. Voted #1 in Menswear, the Boston-based store is finding a perfect niche in Denver, a city known for its outdoor recreation. Kyle Ziegler of Ball and Buck spoke to us about the all-American brand that is functional for both exploring Colorado’s terrain and looking stylish.
303: How did the name Ball and Buck come about?
Kyle Ziegler: Ball and Buck started in Boston, a very patriotic city, and our owner, Mark Bollman, wanted a patriotic name that paid homage to both George Washington and the sporting aspect of our company. It comes from a George Washington quote when he was telling his troops to load their muskets “with the buck and ball method,” it involves loading buckshot behind the musket ball which creates a greater impact on your target. Mark changed it around to Ball and Buck to make it sound nicer for branding.
303: What made a Boston-based store choose Denver for a Pop-up Shop?
KZ: We’ve become a household name in New England and we have a strong customer base online in the Southeast, as our owner is from Atlanta, but we need to do more marketing and brand exposure out west. So I landed on Denver because I love to fly fish, and a lot of our items are great for fly fishing. They’re great for Denver because all of our pieces are multi-functional, you can wear them around town and also take them to the mountains. One of the first things I’ve noticed during my stay is all the traffic leaving town on the weekend and everyone going to the mountains to do stuff. I think we fit in because our brand walks the line between urban and a rugged, outdoor lifestyle. Our Cherry Creek location has been perfect because of the shopping mall, the foot traffic, and the hotel next door. So we get both locals and travelers, just yesterday we sold a lot of product to people from Oklahoma.
303: What style does Ball and Buck specialize in?
KZ: We’re an everyday men’s lifestyle brand. Casual menswear that’s rooted in sporting. Every fall we release pieces that are more technical that someone might wear more while bird hunting, and every spring we’ve got pieces that you’d wear for fly fishing. We do three styles of shirts: the Scout shirt, a plain button-down with no branding. We have the Hunter’s shirt, with the logo, a shooting shoulder, and some have a pocket instead of the logo. The third is the Angler, the sleeves roll up and button up so that they stay up, and we make a shearling fly patch that you can attach to it so you can wear it while fishing.
303: Does Ball and Buck have a signature piece?
KZ: As far as patterns and fabrics, we have a signature camo and a signature plaid. All of our pieces that are meant to be worn out in the field are lined with camo. Any piece that’s more urban is lined with the plaid. We use the camo on a hat as well, and some accents to our pieces. We also have a signature shooting shoulder on a lot of our shirts and jackets. My favorite pieces are probably the outerwear. All of our outerwear’s made with wax cotton so it’s water-resistant. Our blazers are made with Scottish wool from a mill that produces our fabric and allows us to be able to make them just a few miles from our store.
303: I noticed the Pop-Up involves Danner boots. What was the decision behind that?
KZ: We have a very good relationship with Danner. They partnered with us for the pop-up and they sent us a select line of their boots they make at their original factory in Portland. These are fully functional field boots that are great for walking around Denver, especially for slushing around in the Winter. If you saw the movie Wild (2014) with Reese Witherspoon, you’ll notice she’s wearing a pair of these hiking boots. Another special thing about Danner is that they were the first footwear company to incorporate Gore-Tex into shoes, which is now one of the first things people look for when shopping for waterproof boots.
303: What experience do you hope people will take from Ball and Buck?
KZ: I hope they take away my first experience with Ball and Buck. Before I even worked for the company, I remember seeing the products in person and feeling the quality when I touched one of the garments. It feels sturdy, it looks great, and we fit a variety of people. Everything is manufactured in the United States. Some people might see the logo with the shooter, and it’s a classic silhouette of a guy (named Roger) who’s target shooting, but even if you’re not into hunting or fishing you can still wear Ball and Buck. Our primary focus is quality menswear that can get you from the city to the mountains.
Ball and Buck’s Pop-Up Shop runs throughout August and will be available for your shopping pleasure until it’s last day in Denver on Labor Day, September 5. It’s located across from the Crate & Barrel at 110 Clayton Lane Denver, CO. 80206 by the Cherry Creek Shopping Center.
All photography by Austin Cope.