Local Retailer Robert Mason Featured in BBC Partnership
It’s not everyday that a local business reaches international fame, achieving heights that would bring more recognition to our city.
Vintage-inspired Robert Mason Company garnered attention from BBC First when the RM website first launched on Black Friday last year.
“They were perusing through our vintage journals and they felt like we would be a good match for some prop design,” Robert Grimmett, founder and president of the Robert Mason Company, said. “They weren’t telling us exactly all the details, but they were giving us cast photos of the actors, like Howard Charles, Tom Burke, Santiago Cabrera, and costume pictures.”
The BBC global brand, BBC First, was officially introduced on Aug. 3 in Australia, featuring RM’s custom leather journals in one of the BBC dramas, The Musketeers.
“When you get an inquiry like that, especially one from Australia, you know it’s a long shot,” Grimmett said. “We kept in close contact with them and then, they said they had chosen our Venture Journal.”
The Venture Journal is a notebook with cream-colored pages, bound by plain black leather with a stud closure. The notebook continues to be sold out on the website and RM struggles to keep the product in stock due to its high demand.
Besides being used as props for The Musketeers, BBC First had other plans in mind for the journals.
“As soon as we nailed the prototypes, we were going to town,” Grimmett said. “And then, they (BBC) decided, why not give these as press gifts also? So, after we made the first one for them to use on the TV show, they became press gifts. There were 300 of those given away to the press the day of the release.”
According to Grimmett, it is a huge step for a company from the U.S. to be selected from the pool of Australian businesses.
“We were shipping back and forth, and I had to learn very quickly how hard it is to ship to Australia because of the three airplanes that it must ride,” Grimmett explained. “It was very, very expensive to ship and BBC knew that. Knowing how much it is to ship, they actually chose us over everybody else, and for that reason, they also wanted us to publish at the back of the journal that it was made in America and made by the Robert Mason Company.”
Once a prominent Gay Street establishment until its pop-up store suffered irreversible damages from a fire on April 15, the company has been conducting most of its business online, but this international opportunity with BBC was completed in March, right before the incident.
“We’re very fortunate to get them done before the fire,” Grimmett said. “They shipped out to the BBC before the fire happened, and the versions that we kept to ourselves for our archives were actually in the fire but they did not burn. We’re very lucky- we still have them, all six versions of them.”
The Robert Mason Company is currently working out of its offices near Columbus Commons and launching a brand new website with more functionality and customer interaction in the coming weeks. A new store is also set to open at the end of the year with no definite news of location yet.
For more information, visit www.robertmasoncompany.com.
Photos provided by Robert Mason.