A Look Back at the Beginnings of 1767
Three years ago, in February of 2014, 1767 was born in the form of a coffee table built on the balcony of a third-floor apartment in Franklin, Tennessee. Since we just celebrated three years in business this past week, we thought that now would be a great time to look back and share a little bit about the beginnings of our company.
1767 owner Patrick Hayes moved to Nashville to be with his now-wife Jenny in early 2014. He spent that first month looking for jobs in the music industry (with little luck), feeling frustrated and a bit lost in the way that recent cross-country transplants — and college graduates — do. Since the couple was also furnishing their apartment on a small budget, when Patrick noticed that a neighbor had a large pile of wood in his yard, he did what any out-of-work, slightly bored 20-something would do: he asked if he could have some.
Armed with a small pile of lath that the neighbor laughingly deemed "garbage wood", a hand saw, and a few DIY websites, Patrick made a coffee table. In between applying for jobs online, he created a simple Southwestern pattern and added some hairpin legs. He finished it off with a layer of pages from an old astronomy book on the underside, hand drawings of constellations that were a sentimental nod to an art piece he had made for his wife a few years earlier.
After a few friends saw the coffee table and encouraged him to sell similar pieces at the Nashville Flea Market, Patrick spent the next month with a new kind of drive. He created four more similar coffee tables on that same tiny apartment balcony, sawing wood by hand in the snow, occasionally dripping wood glue or dropping nails on the neighbor's balcony below. A friend's parents offered to lend Patrick use of their barn, so he began dividing his time between the two workspaces, working until 1 or 2 in the afternoon before taking shifts at a nearby restaurant at night.
Jenny and Patrick decided that the new, potential company needed a name, and she suggested the idea of calculating the number of miles between Patrick's childhood home in California and the couple's new apartment in Nashville. They arrived at 1767, and the name stuck.
In April of 2014, Patrick brought those first four 1767 tables to the Nashville Flea Market and sold three of the four in that first day. The very first person to buy one of the tables asked if she could remove the legs in order to use it as an art piece, and Patrick began looking at his work in a whole new light. From then on, reclaimed wood wall art became 1767's focus.
After that first flea market, Patrick would visit houses that were in the process of being torn down whenever and wherever he could find them. He would take the wood from just one single wall by himself, transporting it back to that same Franklin apartment in the backseat of his Volkswagen Passat.
While it wasn't much wood, it was enough to make wall art to bring to craft shows and barn sales around Nashville and Franklin. Patrick knew it was important to meet people and get the new company's name out there, and that's what he did for the next year, still working out of borrowed spaces, his own apartment, and even occasionally outside.
Patrick was still waiting tables at night to make ends meet, and when he went back to California that summer to finish a college class for his degree, he came back to find himself out of a job. This was what you might call that "leap of faith" moment, and Patrick did just that; he didn't get a new job, instead deciding to focus on 1767 full time.
Despite the lack of a real home base, building wall art was all he wanted to do.
In 2015, Patrick and his wife Jenny moved into a house in Nashville's Wedgewood-Houston neighborhood. The house had a two-car garage and, more importantly, a landlord cool enough to allow him free rein of the space. Patrick began experimenting with new designs, producing a lot more work, and even bringing on fellow artists and off tour musicians to help bring the new pieces to life.
From that point until this point, with the company's three-year anniversary in the rearview, we've met a ton of amazing, supportive people and fellow businesses that changed everything for us. From our small team of musicians and creatives who moonlight as makers for 1767, to places like Urban Cowboy B&B and the Thompson Hotel, it was those relationships that made this all happen. Ours is truly a Nashville story in that we rely almost entirely on the Nashville community to make it work, and one of the things we're proudest of is that that very first coffee table has since been passed between the houses of our friends.