David Bruenner ’05 and Chris Schmidt, co-founders and co-designers of dry goods brand Jack Iron, announced Tuesday, Feb. 23 the launch of a Kickstarter campaign supporting an initial product line of handcrafted belts and functional accessories that combine rich leather with distinctive nautical snap shackles.
Bruenner and Schmidt are seeking to raise $20,000 from backers who will receive individually-numbered pieces from the first Jack Iron collection at early bird prices.
“Kickstarter is the ideal launchpad for Jack Iron,” says Bruenner. “We’re doing this because we wanted to turn an idea into action — that’s at the crux of our brand. We hope to encourage people to try something, to build, to go through that fun process of learning and bringing something to fruition.”
After graduation, Bruenner joined Bank of America, but during the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009, he realized he didn’t see himself in the banking world forever. Inspired by a book about boat builders and his own connection to the water thanks to a childhood on Long Island, Bruenner enrolled at the Landing School of Boatbuilding and Yacht Design in Maine, honed his skills at a Boston shipyard and later earned an MBA from Babson College. With Jack Iron, Bruenner is harnessing this passion, experience and the lessons he learned at the Colleges.
“I cultivated my entrepreneurial spirit during my liberal arts education at Hobart and William Smith,” he says. “My experience at Hobart helped shape my trajectory, helped me to think creatively and outside the box, and to look at problems in a lot of different ways.”
Headquartered in Boston, with its manufacturing workshop in Red Hook, Brooklyn, Jack Iron draws its creative inspiration from the hubs of America’s nautical history. Notes Schmidt, “We love our hardware and its story, which is tied to the art and science of sailing and exploration.”
The photo above features David Bruenner ’05 (right) and his business partner Chris Schmidt.