In what seems like no time at all, Ben Lancaster took Aviate from idea to the big time. Now in dozens of retailers all across the US, Aviate makes hats and shirts that lets people rep their town via its unique three-letter airport code.
We had a chance to ask Ben a few questions about the company's growth, being from the South, and where he's taking us when we visit him at the HQ in BHM.
Batch: Why hats? What's up with a ballcap that gave you your aha! moment?
Ben: Everyone likes a quality hat to wear (I stress “quality"). For me, a top notch hat is one that is deep fitting on the head so that it looks good and maintains the quality. People like to wear hats that are comfortable and fit well, and everyone is always looking for the next best hat, be it a man or woman. So picking a hat to be the first Aviate product to roll out was an easy choice.
Batch: What's the farthest place you've sent an order?
Ben: Aviate has shipped to every state except Alaska. We just made our first shipment to Hawaii back in late January! International shipping was just made available the first of February and we had an order to a United States Military person based in Germany and then we had someone from originally from France that is currently living in Great Britain place an order for LaGuardia (LGA - New York). This bodes well as we plan on releasing Heathrow (London) and Charles de Gaulle (Paris) sometime in 2016!
Batch: Is there something about the South that helps your brand thrive?
Ben: I think there is a general overwhelming sense of pride for loving to travel, being where you are from and longing to experience new places, no matter where you are from. From the South, West Coast, Midwest, East Coast or Northeast - people take pride in representing places they love. Helping people represent that love is what we do!
Batch: What's the big dream here? How big can Aviate get?
Ben: I'm not going to give all the secrets away, but we are opening a store in the Avondale area of Birmingham in a new development called Box Row. The store will be called something different other than Aviate and will carry other “nontraditional” brands that you don’t really find in the South. The feedback that Aviate has received over the last 8 months has been tremendous. People from every major city are reaching out to us wanting products every single day so we are doing out best to keep up.
Batch: Can you tell us the best or your favorite airport you've ever been to?
Ben: There are several! I'd say Birmingham (BHM) because it is my hometown and sipping on some Good People Brews before my flight is awesome; Las Vegas (LAS) for the “you never know what you are going to see” and the drinks; Atlanta (ATL) for the great places to eat and drink; Tampa (TPA) for the sunny skies and Shula’s Steakhouse; Baltimore (BWI) because I had flight canceled because of a huge snowstorm and myself and 5 friends got stranded for 36 hours and had one of the best times bar hopping until the next morning.
Batch: If we hang out in BHM, where are we going for a fun night?
Ben: We would start at The Garage off of Highlands downtown for some drinks, then head to a new place called Sky Castle in the Lakeview area for food and drinks. Next up would be The Collins bar that is a great upscale cocktail bar and then finally end the night at Marty’s which is the best late night spot in the city with the best patty melts and live music you have ever heard!
This charming spot with a scenic view of the Colorado River is known as one of the 10 hottest brunch spots in Austin. The Mother’s Day brunch buffet is the gift that keeps on giving with crab cakes, chicken and waffles, avocado toast, mac and cheese… We could go on but you’d better stop reading and call for reservations.
Our quarterly subscription box is the perfect Mother's Day gift because we do all of the work to curate our favorites from around the South, pack them up, include a hand written, gift wrap the box and ship it to the lucky lady in your life. The best part is you get all of the credit.
Our February Women's Deluxe Box
We just sent one out last week and we'll post about what was in them on our blog. You can see what we sent in the first box in February.
Our next shipment is in August and if you order a subscription for your mom, wife, or any lucky mom in your life, we'll email you a card to print or email and on Mother's Day.
We''ll email you a gift card to give to Mom when you buy her a Batch Subscription.
These curated mother's day gift ideas are delicious treats that, if you're nice (which you are because you got her a great gift), we hope she will share. We've collected goodies from Nashville, Memphis, and Austin to make mom happy...unless she's a dentist or a diabetic.
A) Trubee Honey Sticks. Local honey in a convenient carrying case. Use it to sweeten coffee, tea, life.
B) Walker Creek Sea Salt Caramels. Damn fine candy that is way too tasty so you better get a couple bags if you want some, too.
C) Bang Candy Co. Spring Marshmallows. These aren't your run-of-the-mill store-bought marshmallows you light on fire while camping or dunk in bland cocoa. These are the complex and flavorful handmade kind.
D) Olive and Sinclair Sea Salt Chocolate Bar. Here's what Olive and Sinclair Chocolate Co. says about this one, "Speckled with flaked sea salt, it begins with a clean salinity, lending itself to the occasional satisfying crunch and burst of flavor, awakening the tongue to a citrusy, deep, dark chocolate finish."
E) Shotwell Tennessee Toffee. From the Memphis confectioner comes this candy concoction with toffee, pecans, and a covering of dark chocolate. Words don't do it justice.
F) Willa's Shortbread Key Lime Almond Cookies. In time for spring comes this bright and nutty shortbread cookie from Willa's magical Madison, TN, kitchen.
G) Barton Table Chocolate Sauce. This dense, rich chocolate sauce is perfect on anything from vanilla bean ice cream to your in-house cafe mocha.
H) Momma Nik's Whiskey Caramel Sauce. Dangerously decadent with a hint of whiskey, Momma Nik's sauce is a dessert force that you must taste to believe.
I) Walker Feed Company Strawberry Rhubarb Margarita Mix. Making a strawberry rhubarb pie is neat but where's the alcohol, right? Walker Feed has bottled the flavor of a strawberry rhubarb pie and helpfully left a little room for some tequila.
Make mom happy and buy her some goodies to make up for years of eating the last cookie or leaving the ice cream container in the freezer even though it was empty. Order by May 2 to make sure these treats will arrive in time. Stop by our store in the Nashville Farmers Market anytime to get some treats for you, we mean, mom.
Mother's Day gifts from Nashville that she's sure to love.
A) linenlaid&felt Handmade Journal. Featuring a hand stitched spine and one-of-a-kind cover and end papers, this journal is a special gift.
B) Tiramisu Paperie Skinny Notepad. Get mom one of these notepads and any note you get from her will be received with joy.
C) Hand Lettered Phrases Coloring Book. Get mom one of the coloring books for grown ups and she'll be on trend.
D) Tiramisu Paperie Audrey Hepburn Quote Notecards. These classic Audrey Hepburn quotes make these note cards the little black dress of note cards.
E) Tiramisu Paperie Quote Pencils. This set of four pencils is a great way to let those mom know you know her sense of humor.
F) Hester & Cook Colored Pencil Set. This set Set of 7 different colored pencils with a notepad go great with the other paper items on this list, especially the coloring book, obvs.
G) Lockeland Table Community Kitchen and Bar. The photos are mouth watering, the recipes are waiting for you to try, and the stories will bring a tear or two to your eye.
These Mother's Day gifts are available online and in the Batch store at the Nashville Farmers Market. The last day to order online is May 2.
Mother's Day gift ideas with top picks from our handcrafted jewelry and accessories.
A) Freshie and Zero Sterling Silver Large Facet Earrings. Sure to become a favorite, these earrings are big and dramatic but light as a feather!
B) Freshie & Zero Sterling Silver Glean Earrings. Sleek and sexy, these hand-shaped and -hammered teardrop earrings from Freshie & Zero will catch eyes from across the room.
C) Consider the Wildflowers Sticks Pendant. Handmade in Nashville, this delicate necklace is a conversation starter.
D) Freshie and Zero Triple Chevron. Sterling and gold filled wire is shaped, hammered, stacked, and added to a lovely cable chain.
E) Freshie and Zero Simple Caldera Necklace. A bold duo of slightly irregular circles are stacked for a sophisticated and playful necklace.
F) Freshie and Zero Little Facet. Soft yet dramatic angles abound in this necklace, hand shaped and hammered out of sterling silver wire. This is an excellent gift for your artsy and creative mom!
G) fashionABLE Tigist Clutch. Handcrafted in Ethiopia and named for a heroic woman who works with fashionABLE, this stylish clutch makes a difference in your wardrobe and the world.
H) Turkish T Terry Lined Seashore Beach Towel. The new Seashore towel is made using luxurious Turkish cotton, designed with cabana stripes in fun colors with an absorbent shaved terry cloth backing.
All items are available online and in our Nashville Farmers Market store.
It's that time of year - the birds are chirping, flowers are blooming, and your blossoming, chirping graduate is ready to leave the nest. Whether they're heading to college or out into the "real world," they need to be stocked with fine treats and accessories as they begin this new chapter.
Be sure to send them on their way with any of these five essential Southern items:
Their new place needs to smell great. This candle freshens any room and has a 50-hour burn time.
High in protein and good for the planet, this snack is the perfect companion as they hit the road.
You're not there to wake them up every day anymore. This hearty blend of beans should do the trick.
Mason jars and used commemorative stadium cups are child's play. Help them stock their pantry right with these cups that are virtually indestructible.
If you've raised them right, they'll remember to shower. If you've raised them well, they'll do so with the best soap available.
The St. Jude Rock 'n' Roll Nashville Half-Marathon and Marathon is coming up next weekend and whether you're traveling in from far away or just trekking over to the start line from your neighborhood, you'll need to make sure you're full of carbs when the gun goes off.
If you're looking for some tasty and wonderfully Nashville spots to check out next Friday, then visit any of the following five spots to get your fill of carbs (and a bit of protein) so you can set a PR on Saturday morning.
Amerigo's - fresh pasta with savory sauces all done right in an engaging atmosphere.
Sole Mio - right in the heart of downtown, you can save your legs for the race if you grab a seat at one of Nashville's oldest Italian joints.
Mafiaoza's - pizza, pasta, and anything else you'll need to store up those carbs.
SloCo - tasty, unique sandwiches made with fresh, local ingredients. Don't underestimate the power of freshly baked bread.
Hattie B's - enjoy Nashville's signature dish with some sides like mac 'n' cheese or potato salad.
And, don't forget to celebrate when you're done by treating yourself to this Marathon Gift Batch full of local Nashville items.
Here's the perfect recipe for a margarita that's best enjoyed on a patio. Hot Damn Jelly's Mango Peach Habanero Jelly is the sweet and spicy base. Tweak the recipe and make it your own. Add more jelly for a cocktail with a kick.
Mango Peach Habanero Margarita
Ingredients (Makes 1 quart, you decide how many it serves)
But, with Derby season upon us (not to mention countless other reasons to drink in the afternoon outdoors on the weekends (what you do during the week is your call), then it's high time you perfected this staple of Southern cocktails.
Thankfully, Luke is happy to weigh in. In fact, over on the Eli Mason website, you'll find a nice stable (get it?) of recipes that take the Mint Julep to a whole new level.
Case in point: The Minted Mule.
Combine first two ingredients over ice and top with a dry ginger beer. Quick stir and garnish with fresh mint and a lime wedge.
Either way, it's time you saddle up and get your cocktail game off to the races.