Shep and Ian Murray’s connection to Martha’s Vineyard is the cornerstone of their highly successful lifestyle clothing brand. But as I learned during a chat with the brothers and Vineyard Vines co-founders earlier this summer, their connection to this quintessentially quaint New England island runs way deeper than retail.
“I think places in life don’t go out of style,” replies Shep when I ask him what’s so special about living on the Vineyard. “And, as much as things change all around us, our core values, and the things we love remain the same. For us, the Vineyard is all about bringing multi-generational families and friends together to do the simple things they love. In fact that’s where our company motto—‘Every day should feel this good’ comes from. It’s all about the simple pleasures of life at the beach.
“And it’s about being a part of the community too,” Shep continues. “It’s a year-long thing, but I think September and October are the best months. That’s when the crowds are gone, the water’s nice, and the fishing is great. But it’s also a time when everyone comes together and rallies in the community and celebrates the great season they just had and another one to look forward to.”
“The Vineyard is also made up of a bunch of different communities,” Ian adds. “We live in Edgartown, but whenever we venture out, we always find something new. And the fun part of the Vineyard is that it can be much bigger than it seems.”
But it wasn’t until they started describing their island homes that I began to understand where they were coming from (and why their company is so successful).
“If you were to visit our homes on the Vineyard,” Shep explains via phone while they drive an old Ford Excursion up from a founders conference in NYC they’d just attended, “I think you’d be completely underwhelmed.” That’s partly because Shep’s learned from the likes of Warren Buffett that extravagance gets old pretty quickly, and mostly because his Patrick Ahearn-renovated home, like and their clothing brand, reflects their shared old school values of understated quality.
“I think the difference between the Vineyard and a lot of other places that there’s not so much glitz. Our houses look like they’ve been around for a couple hundred years, he says. “But they have modern amenities.”
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