Lucy Bryant speaks to Matthew Geraghty about the ‘odd psychology’ behind spending tuppence on the items you use everyday.
Kit and Kaboodle, a one stop shop for gentlemen accessories, was born from editors at The Chap Magazine, Gustav Temple and Matthew Geraghty. The Lewes-based magazine has always been against ‘fast-fashion’ and the disposable culture it encourages, instead promoting purchasing items that last ‘over the arc of time’.
In Matthew’s time writing for the magazine, he’s ‘come into contact with a lot of really exceptional individual artisans’ and the pair realised ‘it made sense to do something that followed their ethos’ on another level.
Kit and Kaboodle acts as a platform which brings together British craftsmen, all with the combined opinion that we should ‘be more considered in the way we consume’.
“Unfortunately for most people, you buy things that have no shelf life whatsoever,” says Matthew.
“We think that you should get things which almost stand outside fashion.”
Describing fast-fashion as a ‘destructive force’, Matthew laments how it doesn’t allow ‘peace, because we’re constantly being told we’re wearing the wrong things’.
The online retail emporium began at the end of 2016 and focuses specifically on men’s accessories, but ‘will be expanding as we go along’, confirms Matthew.
“In the same way that women might speak about a ‘little black dress’ being a timeless item, we want to adopt that mentality for your whole wardrobe,” exclaims Matthew.
“We should invest in items which last the test of time.”
Matthew also describes the beauty of having items which ‘age with grace and quality, making them a cherished item’.
“Those items mark your life,” smiles Matthew.
“The knocks and blemishes on them reflect the life you’ve lived”.
Something which has always struck him as the most bizarre thing to do is to ‘spend a lot of money on something you never use’.
Matthew believes in the reverse wedding suit approach, where rather than spend money to wear something once, we should invest in the luxury of everyday.
“People buy really cheap, scratchy pens, only to throw them away and buy a new one,” says Matthew.
“If you’re going to buy a writing instrument, just buy one and make it last.”
At Kit and Kaboodle, they supply solid silver pens made in the jewellery quarter of Birmingham by Yard-O-led.
They have a small team of eight people and for the same price as a ‘plastic Mont Blanc’ you’ll get a product ‘that’ll last your whole life and a few other lives on top of that’.
The belief that you should take joy from the things you use all the time covers all manner of gentlemen’s accessories.
“People spend nothing on socks and yet you’re on your feet all the time,” questions Matthew.
“We shouldn’t buy things to gather dust or to create a museum for expensive items.”
In similar luxury goods markets, products are seen as heirloom objects.
By adopting this mentality, Matthew believes you prevent yourself from using it because you’re hung up on the idea of having to pass it on.
Matthew continues to explain how they deal with two amazing pocket knife makers in Sheffield, which was the centre of the cutlery industry in Britain.
“The pen knives they make are just fantastic, exquisite items,” reveals Matthew.
“Men of all ages have a pocket knife of some sort, but when people do buy them, the marketing budgets of big companies drown everything else out.”
“People now would probably go to Victorinox for a Swiss Army Knife, but they’re all mass produced.”
Matthew describes the process of coming into contact with all these different makers as an absolute pleasure.
“It’s exciting because you hear about the death of British industry, but there’s lots of people doing interesting stuff, be that artisan bakers or pen-knife makers,” he says.
“It doesn’t have to be contained to fashion”.
Kit and Kaboodle looks to increase what it offers and deal with more specific craftsmen as well as at some point doing pop-up stores to see how things progress from there.
Continuing with the idea of a target audience that’s ‘less an age but more a frame of mind’, the company will provide for their ‘captive audience in terms of those who’ve followed The Chap over the years’ as well as anyone who wants to be more considered in the way they consume.
“It’s not contained by age, at whatever age you still have feet so you want to buy nice socks,” he smiles.
Matthew hopes that by beginning at Kit and Kaboodle, people will address their approach to how they consume everything else.
“If you can address one thing, you then begin to think, well if that makes sense and is rational and sensible, then we have to do it across the board,” he says.
To join in the Kit and Kaboodle revolution, visit kit-kaboodle.uk
Pictures: Xavier Buendia
This is featured in the April edition of etc Magazine, pick up your copy now.