Name: Greg Horvitz
Vocation: Founder of Fisher + Baker
Hometown: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Functionality, simplicity, versatility, quality – take your pick, when it comes to a Midwestern Gentleman these are often the guidelines for any purchase. From whiskey to power tools, coffee mugs to daypacks, our purchases are a reflection of who we are. There are companies that pride themselves in a single category, then there is Fisher + Baker out of Minneapolis who give you it all and more with their line of menswear to “Outfit the Everyday.”
Behind this line of clothing is Greg Horvitz who has developed a line of menswear built on functionality and modesty. A Midwestern Gentleman takes pride in his ability to transition from board meetings to bonfires with ease, and often in the same day. What Greg has been able to do with Fisher + Baker is produce clothing that closes that gap. “Made for the office, trail or den” is more than just a tagline, their line of products bring together functionality, simplicity, versatility and quality that nurture how a Midwestern Gentleman lives his life.
We took some time to talk with Greg who reflects on his work, family and the Midwest. Pour yourself a Kickapoo, settle in and let’s get to it.
MWG: Greg, how do you respond when people ask, “what do you do?”
GH: I tell them that I have a small company that is redefining the boundaries of fashion and function.
As busy as you can be running your own company, do you have any sort of morning rituals?
I wake up with my two boys and the first thing we do is pour a cup of coffee. Then we hang out for about an hour. I try to not to look at email until I leave for work so that time can be precious. I know it won’t be long before they are big, smelly teenagers who don’t want to hang out with their dad.
Do you have a favorite book, podcast or author?
I don’t like picking favorites for anything. Maybe I just don’t want to commit. I usually read novels but just finished Phil Knight’s book Shoe Dog. It was a fascinating read for where I am in my career.
When you think of the term ‘Midwestern Gentleman’ what type of person comes to mind?
I think of guys with balance. Maybe you hunt or fish, bike or rock climb but that doesn’t capture the whole picture. He has a more civilized side as well and values aesthetics and community.
What’s that perfect place you head out to and explore in the Midwest?
Like most Midwesterners, I go to the cabin. Ours in in Hayward, WI. I love it there. There are hardly any people, clear lakes, miles of single-track, and bars that haven’t changed in 50 years. What could be better?
Living in Minneapolis, what is the “unsung hero” in town our readers should check out?
Minneapolis has so much to offer for a town of its size. It seems like there is another great restaurant or brewery opening every day. Hands down the best sausages that I have ever had come from a place called Lowry Hill Meats. They have just the right amount of fat. The butchers are almost all ex-chefs who now have families and don’t want to work late at night.
What was the first thing you remember making?
I was very into Legos as a kid but I don’t think I ever read the instructions or made what was on the box. That is how I approach a lot of things in life (look at the recipe, then close the book and make something similar). Sometimes you fail and have to order take-out but other times, the results are spectacular- and you learn more along the way.
With the name Fisher + Baker, a name you’ve said led you to give ode in part to your time around the Great Lakes. What were your most formative years and how did that influence your craft?
Fishing + Baking are two hobbies that I have held onto for a long time. I’ve always been obsessed with water and tying knots so fishing was an obvious choice. Before starting Fisher + Baker, I was living in rural Maine making furniture. I was introduced to this group of guys who were really into baking bread and that became the basis for our friendship. We would all explore new techniques, trade starters, drink beer and eat bread. I’ve lost touch with them but still love waking up on a fall morning and baking a few loaves while drinking coffee and watching football.
As a small business owner, what is a typical day like in your shoes?
Like I said earlier, I wake up and hang out with my sons, then I try to bike to work most days. I find the fresh air really helps me get ready for the day. We are a small company so everyone has to wear a lot of hats so every day at work is different. I like the product design hat best but unfortunately that’s only a small piece of the puzzle. The ride home helps me decompress before spending a few more hours with the family. By the time we are done cooking, eating, bathing the kids, brushing teeth, and cleaning the kitchen, I’m pretty beat. I’ll read for a bit and then go to be early. It’s really not that glamorous.
Starting this new venture, what’s been the most satisfying part of work? How about the most challenging?
The most satisfying part is seeing your ideas come to life starting first with prototypes and getting further and further refined with each iteration. Then, after I pour so much time, enrgy and love into the products, I get to share them with our customers and see their reactions. I love seeing the look on a customer’s face when he realizes that he looks really good in one of our products. The most challenging thing is trying to make enough time for both the business and my family. That is where I feel the most torn.
We want to thank Greg for his time to chat with Midwestern Gentleman. To help you more seamlessly make that transition from boardroom to bonfire, check out Fisher + Baker for their growing line of functional menswear. You can also follow them on Instagram and like them on Facebook.
All Photos: ©2016 Fisher and Baker, LLC