What do you get when you pair two eager and entrepreneurial recent college grads with the epitome of Nantucket prep? A 10 year partnership!

So is the case for needlepoint accessories manufacturer Smathers & Branson and Nantucket’s own Murray’s Toggery. N Magazine recently spoke with Austin Branson and Peter Smathers Carter to hear more about their seemingly perfect-for-Nantucket brand and this long-standing relationship!

DSC00225N MAGAZINE: When you were first starting out 10 years ago, what made you decide to target Nantucket?

SMATHERS & BRANSON: Neither of us had spent too much time on the island. Peter’s father had spent each summer in Sconset in the 60s, and Austin’s now-wife had come here growing up. We knew that Murray’s was one of Nantucket’s most highly regarded retailers and we quickly learned what a natural fit the store’s personality was with the Smathers & Branson brand.

DSC00239N MAGAZINE: What do you think it is about your products that continue to resonate with Nantucket shoppers, and how have your products evolved over the 10 years?

SMATHERS & BRANSON: Smathers & Branson is always trying to create something new for Murray’s customers that is then added to the now-extensive collection of Murray’s-exclusive products. We think Nantucket shoppers love our products for a number of reasons. First, visits to Murray’s are part of their summer tradition and we have become part of the family. Second, our exclusive products for Murray’s prominently feature Nantucket, and customers love to commemorate their vacations with an item that they can wear all year, remembering their summers when doing so. This summer, for instance, we rolled out a new Nantucket beach permit belt that we think will become an iconic product for Murray’s and Smathers & Branson.

DSC00236N MAGAZINE: As you enter into your new partnership with J. Crew, can you talk a little about how important it is, and why you will continue to, maintain relationships with smaller businesses like Murray’s here on Nantucket?

SMATHERS & BRANSON: Murray’s is the perfect example of why small, top-quality stores will always be paramount to Smathers & Branson’s success. Murray’s is a true reflection of Nantucket, and the store knows and caters to its market flawlessly. For us, being invited into a store like this was and is vital to our early, present and future success. When Murray’s approved its first Smathers & Branson order 10 years ago, it was an immediate message to their customers that our products met Murray’s quality standards and sense of island style. Furthermore, Murray’s sales team understands the story behind our products, and they create excitement around them among their customers. In fact, many of our customers call our belts “Nantucket belts” or “the Murray’s belts.”

A decade-long partnershipTo celebrate this decade-long partnership between Smathers & Branson and Murray’s Toggery, N Magazine teamed up with the duo for a SPECIAL GIVEAWAY! One lucky winner will be the recipient of a trio of Nantucket-inspired, Murray’s-exclusive products (as pictured here).

To enter the raffle, click here. The winner will be announced Wednesday, July 22.

Murray’s will always hold a special place in Smathers & Branson’s history. In the summer of 2005, after only a few months in business, we hopped on ferry with a backpack full of belt samples. While we were excited about our products, we had much to learn about the industry. The buyer at that time was Gilles Bridier, and while we struggled to understand him through his thick French accent, his wonderful smile made it clear that we had found a friend. He took a chance on two twenty-three year olds, and immediately Murray’s became our best account. Murray’s team has a record of innovation and Smathers & Branson has worked to always present exciting new products designed exclusively for Murray’s. We look forward to a long future of continued collaboration with this very special partner.” — Austin Branson & Peter Smathers Carter

Over the past 10 years we have enjoyed working with Smathers & Branson, first carrying their line of belts and now being able to offer our customers their full line of products, as well as our own custom Nantucket designs. The quality and creativity that comes with each item, whether a belt or a coaster set, is unparalleled.” — John Murray

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