Travis Weaver, the founder of the buzzy Houston-based apothecary goods brand Manready Mercantile, Since November last year, when he set up a table at an artisan fair downtown to introduce Manready to the Houston public, Weaver has been busy. Really busy. His goods – think woodsy and fresh-smelling lotions, candles, skin care and soap, plus one-offs such as cutting board and leather treatment, all unisex but marketed toward men – are now available in 15 independent retailers in Texas, Oklahoma and Florida. A few weeks ago the line was picked up regionally by seven Whole Foods stores. It’s no wonder his place looks like it does: Weaver makes or packages the majority of his growing collection by hand, from scenting bath salts to washing and filling glass bottles and attaching labels, in the roughly 1,000 square feet of space that he shares with his Weimaraner, Dylilah.
The guy’s-guy needed an great idea, one with mass market appeal. He considered the beauty industry. Citing products such as bubble bath, which Manready now calls “Tub Elixir” and packages in a whiskey bottle, Weaver explains his thought process at the time: “What products would I use that my girlfriend uses but that I wouldn’t want anyone knowing about?”
Weaver set about growing his business, he says, by messing up a lot, and with a lot of elbow grease. He took a candlemaking class. Set off his fire alarm multiple times. Got drunk on whiskey with his graphic designer next door neighbor Roby Fitzhenry, and convinced him to partner up on the venture and to create Manready’s clever industrial-heritage-savvy branding. He tested products, such as the sandalwood-graced Beard Treatment, on himself and on his buddies. He also made connections, including with the goat farmer in southwest Houston who makes his lemony Manready soap, and with customers at market events around town.
Where to buy:
Manready Mercantile products, $13-$38, are available at Houston shops including Kuhl-Linscomb, the Tinderbox and Settlement Goods, among others. For a full list of purveyors, visit manready.com.