Wood, Sweat & Chairs
A young couple with an old-school work ethic crafts furniture for the long haul
“We once tried to start a T-shirt business, an ice-cream business and a meat-pie business, but at the end of the day, woodworking seemed to stick,” says Jon Ketchum, explaining Denver’s New Collar Goods, the furniture business he founded with his wife, Deana.
Newly married, the two are unapologetic throwbacks. Growing up in a small town in the Adirondack foothills, the couple developed a deep appreciation for community and respect for a job well done. “We both started working at the age of 14,” Deana explains. “We found mentors that taught us how to be focused, determined and efficient.”
Low and loungey, with a mid-century vibe: the White Sling Chair, in wood, metal and canvas, $1,495.
Over time, they became intrigued by the idea of starting their own company. Packing up and heading to Colorado sparked just the right creative inspiration. “When we moved to Denver, we didn’t have any furniture and couldn’t afford the pieces that we liked,” Deana recalls. Undaunted and industrious as ever, the two simply rolled up their sleeves and began designing and making their own furniture, eventually leaving their jobs—Jon in graphic design, and Deana in home décor—to launch New Collar Goods.
The pair’s small-town sensibility is hewn into every chair and table. “Our goal in making our own goods has always been to honor the blue-collar tradition,” Jon explains. “That said, we’re using new design techniques and tools. We feel that we’re in a new era of blue-collar craft, thus the name, ‘New Collar Goods.’
“We’re not classically trained designers or woodworkers, and we often feel that this is our greatest strength,” Deana says. Adds Jon, “A great piece in our opinion is one that highlights precise joinery, beautiful line-forms and balanced proportions. We want to create furniture that pulls you into the details and makes you want to run your hands over it.”