As a jewelry designer, the opportunity to meet and collaborate with like-minded designers is one of the most exciting aspects of working in a creative field. Paul, from Paul Landry Co., reached out to us back in late 2019 to introduce himself and his brand. We immediately bonded over our tie to the ocean and shared New England sensibility. Over the past year Paul Landry Co. and Sailormade have turned into 'summer friends' and it is about time we formally introduce you. Read on to learn about life as a yacht captain by day and clothing design by night, the best spots to dine in Miami, and what's next for PLCO.
Enjoy this Chowder Chat!
Hi, Paul! I'm so excited to introduce you to the Sailormade Boat Club! I'm sure a number of our Mermaids and Seadogs are familiar with Paul Landry Co. but for those that are not let's start with the basics; tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hi! I am Paul Landry, twenty-three year old, self proclaimed ~expert juggler~ of business, work, play and travel. I grew up all over the United States as my Dad opened restaurants. I now live in Miami, FL. Beyond running Paul Landry out of a small three person studio, I am also a full time yacht captain. I went to college at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute as an Aerospace Engineering student, where I started PLCO in my fraternity living room.
Aerospace engineering student turned clothing designer, huh? Well, that is certainly a twist! Tell us a little more about this switch and the origin of PLCO.
PLCO started out of necessity when I visited friends in Vermont for a day of hiking. As I was getting ready to leave in my typical pastel-themed ensemble, I stopped and immediately thought, "man, I should change into something I can get dirty in". It was then I realized how silly it is to wear clothes you're too afraid to ruin. When I got back to NY from Vermont, I took the train down to NYC to source fabric and products that would better fit my lifestyle. After five months of sourcing and designing, I launched Paul Landry Co. in April of 2017.
If you had to describe the PLCO aesthetic in one sentence, what would you say?
I always say Paul Landry Co. is what you would get if Ralph Lauren and L.L. Bean had a baby, and that baby likes to sail.
I love that answer and it describes PLCO exactly! I like to think that Sailormade has parallels to that description too. And hey, you're a Sailormade fan so it must, right? How did you first find Sailormade?
I found Sailormade wayyyyy back when I first started PLCO. I was a complete novice when it came to instagram and growth. One thing I did know was that a good way to start was to find brands that had the look and feel I wanted to imitate. Sailormade was one of those accounts. I told myself once I got to 3,000 followers I would be 'big enough' to reach out, and that is exactly what I did. Funny enough, it wasn't until I met Bridget (fearless leader and designer extraordinaire) that I learned my first interaction with Sailormade was in Essex, CT where I had bought a bracelet before a sailing trip across the Atlantic to Bermuda.
What's your favorite Sailormade piece?
My favorite piece is easy, its the Journey Double Wrap Rope with brass brummels... I have 4! It doesn't make sense to most, but the way the double wrap looks, it reminds me of my early yachting career working on gaff-rigged schooners in Maine. All the brass hardware and miles of lines (rope) laying around are a staple of the schooner look, and I think Bridget captured it all perfectly in a bracelet. My number two pick is easily the Fid Cuff in Antique Brass. The weight is what I like best about it. It is solid brass and has been my favorite pairing with my watch (who am I kidding, I never take it off lol). My one claim to fame for Sailormade ~maybe~ is that I have sailed almost 10,000 miles with one of their bracelets on the whole time. They don't fade or wear down in the salty environment if you were wondering.
Paul, you have always been an incredibly collaborative person to work with and I thank you SO much for that. You recently included Sailormade in an photoshoot collaboration with Brooks Brothers. I want the details! What was it like to partner with Brooks Brothers? Was it an absolute dream come true?
Brooks Brothers is quite literally the golden goose (or should I say fleece?) of the prep world. For over 200 years they have been a style icon to any and all seeking to upgrade their look. For myself, they have always been a major inspiration to my own business. Over the last five years, they have been shedding their older styling heritage and embracing a younger "vibe" to their brand. The launch of Red Fleece, a pretty yet functional frontman of the company has been an instant success and what brought them to my to my doorstep. I connected with them out of the blue via Instagram, and was able to easily coordinate a shoot over the next few days. They of course gave me some products that they really wanted to showcase, but also gave me creative free range to put together an outfit or two.
The shoot itself was sooooo much fun. I brought my 1972 MGB British sports car out, as well as used the 55' Moody sailboat I was captaining at the time for locations, and hired my close friend as the photographer. We bopped all over St. Augustine, FL scouting cool brick streets, and historic houses to shoot. It was a fantastic day, and when Brooks Brothers received the pictures, they were ecstatic. So much so, that we have already been in talks for another shoot for the Summer. Definitely a dream come true.
I can't wait to see the next photoshoot. I'm so excited to start sharing these pictures. Personally, I am in much need of a mental Spring break. Take us on a virtual vacation to Florida. What are your Top 5 places or things to do in Miami?
Coming from a Foodie family, (my Father being a striving restaurateur, and both my parents running a wildly successful restaurant for a short time) I have a craving for expanding my palate, and short of NYC, there is no place better than Miami.
Versailles - True Cuban flavor and great atmosphere.
Bodega - South Beach staple, super yummy tacos and tapas. Best part... in the back of the restaurant is a porta-potty door. Knock on it three times and you can get access to an amazing speakeasy club on the weekends.
Larios on the Beach - Authentic high-end Cuban food in an art deco building right on the beach. Hard to get a reservation but the food is to die for.
South Beach "the strip" - 1920s Art Deco buildings decked out in neon lights make for a truly iconic Miami night. Live music around ever corner. An area fantastic for the day, and even better at night.
Wynwood - A neighborhood known as the capitol of real graffiti art. Artists from all over the world come to be featured on full building art installations. Plenty of galleries and boutique shops. There are always plenty of events going on, and if you love modern art... this is the spot.
I can't wait for the day when travel is back on my calendar. As a Yacht Captain that is actively working you must be ready for a new adventure at any given moment.
Couldn't be more ready for an adventure actually. Because of the nature of my job, I keep a duffle bag (PLCO Weekender Bag to be specific) packed with a week of clothes, my camera, and sailing gear at all times. Trips and opportunities come at the spur of a moment and I don't want to be stressed with getting my gear together. I can typically be on the way to an airport or yacht within an hour.
Can you tell us a little more about life as a Yacht Captain by day and a clothing designer by night.
It is exactly what it sounds like, haha. I always feel bad for my employees, as besides one or two days a week, I am only in the studio from 6:00-9:00 am or late at night. Most of the meat of my day is spent captaining a 78' Sunseeker Yacht and managing a crew and plethora of water toys. Beyond daily maintenance and small trips, I have been tasked with creating mini-adventures for the family I work for. Currently we have the Bahamas, Turks & Caicos, St. Barts and potentially Cuba as week long trips planned on our itinerary. It is exhaustive work but well worth it in the end. I am lucky enough to be in the private yachting industry where I work with an extremely kind and generous family as opposed to the something chaotic charter life (think Below Deck... if you weren't already thinking that!).
At the end of the day (or week long trip), what is the most important quality to maintain in life?
Happiness. I don't work to create a huge profit, and I am not concerned with quarter to quarter sales. If I am on a creative idea roll, new products will hit the market. If the stress of yachting or family life is too much, we scale back a little bit. If I want to take a break, I can do it. The company will always be there, and we have enough success to be turning a profit without theoretically burning the candle at both ends.
That totally makes sense and that being said, it must be challenging to run a business while working a full time job. What has been your biggest challenge in starting and scaling PLCO?
Finances and moving for sure. The apparel industry is expensive to get into, and even more so when you have to move your studio every year. Our unique look and design comes from the fact that many of our products are made in-house. It was easier to buy the equipment and train myself and the staff to make products ourselves than to outsource the work. The silver lining on this is our ability to emerge as a small batch private label and design house.
What's your favorite piece that you have designed?
My favorite piece I've designed is our Seafarer Crewneck. We took classic flags of New England and turned them into chenille patches. We added them to our ultra soft crewnecks for a truly New England centric look. It has been a best seller for us, and my first big jump outside of my original lineup.
I have your Lobstah Crewneck, I absolutely love it! I will have to snag a Seafarer when they are back in stock.
Ok, one final question. What's next for Paul Landry Co.?
Private label and small batch releases. We love how mini-releases have slowly taken the place of your stereotypical Spring, Fall, Winter releases. We can release one or two new products a week and only offer a small run. The exclusivity of owning a product that was only available for a short time or in a limited run is what I think many people are drawn to.
Our mission is statement is "Become an American staple" and in that, is bringing as much of our product line into the 'Made in America' field as possible. As we grow, we can bring on more employees and equipment to allow us to reach that goal.
Paul, thank you SO much for chatting with me today. We can't wait to see what you have in store for Paul Landry Co. and are very much looking forward to collaborating in the future!
Thank you to @Katierose_photos for the beautiful pictures!