WHO IS B. HENLEY? *
*Portions of B. Henley's background may have been embellished, or even created wholecloth, by a team of romantic designers in San Francisco who have likely spent too much time product testing Henley barware.
Our namesake, the congenial Midwesterner, B. Henley, left the US to attend Oxford on a rowing scholarship in early fall of 1939 – a month before Germany invaded Poland, initiating World War II in Europe. Having flown crop dusters as a youth on his father’s Indiana farm, Henley postponed university to volunteer for the war effort, and was immediately thrust into the cockpit of a Spitfire battling the Luftwaffe over the English Channel.
Following his distinguished military career, first with the RAF and later with the US Air Force, Henley completed his Geology education while working part time in a haberdashery on Lower Bond Street in London. It was there that he honed the attention to detail and the practicality found today in our goods. Upon his return to the States, Henley teamed with other talented archeologists and geologists who pioneered and patented methods of core sampling – seeking to unlock variations of climate, species and sedimentary composition during geologic history.
These days, Mr. Henley occupies himself with exploration, excursions and education. A typical day finds him rowing on Lake Titicaca, tasting exotic teas in Ceylon, lecturing gifted Geology doctoral students, and guiding our product design and development process. His uniquely American background and keen eye for detail help to guide our decisions at every step of design and manufacturing.
Mr. Henley's imprimatur can be found in all of our items – from our hand-selected American cowhides, to the sheen of our waxed cotton, to the real brass and wood construction we use.
His guiding vision is to first make each Henley item uniquely functional and ingenious, and only afterwards make sure that it is strikingly handsome. Rather than searching the globe for the cheap or trendy products, Henley painstakingly designs and builds items which can become family heirlooms. That's the goal of our product design and manufacturing. We want you to find Henley items that you can enjoy today, and your grandchildren will be fascinated by in decades to come.
The Henley backstory was inspired by relatives and mentors of our founder, including an oft-missed Tennessee grandfather, who was WWI veteran and farmer, an uncle who fought as a tank commander at Iwo Jima during WWII, and a long-time City Treasurer whose high integrity was matched only by his wisdom. Just as with B. Henley, these men would allow no distractions or shortcuts to interfere with greatness and honor. Their lives continue to inspire us and our products every day.
Our customers frequently tell us similar stories; of having had the good fortune to know and interact with individuals like B. Henley from time to time. It brings our team great satisfaction to celebrate these larger-than-life heroes and to share in their life stories. A remarkable thing that we see over and over again is that each of us can tap into a vast well of possibility to bring forth the Henley (sometimes hiding) in us all. Our, namesake, our brand, and our products are built to honor and recognize those very moments. We 're thrilled to have you along for this journey that we feel is well worth the effort.