In 2013 Justin Godfrey and Ariel Tustin packed up their bags to trade proper Tex-Mex fare for salmon and coffee. They made the move from Austin, Texas to Seattle and recently opened Whiskey and Honey in Georgetown. The second floor shop in the Arts and Cultural Center feels a little like a speakeasy: If you ring the doorbell you will be led up the stairs and around the corner into their charismatic shoebox space.
What song or album is playing on your store’s sound system right now?
Ariel Tustin: We can’t get enough of Leon Bridges. Also, we’ve made our own playlist with everything from Chet Baker, Francoise Hardy, the Left Banke and the Velvet Underground to Astrid Gilberto, Smog, and Peter and the Wolf. At this very moment it’s “A Nervous Tic Motion of the Head to the Left” by Andrew Bird.
What was your first job? What did you love or hate about it and how does it compare to what you do now?
Justin Godfrey: I mowed lawns. My only entrepreneurial drive was to make enough money to buy comic books at the end of each week. Comics instilled a lasting fascination with art and the human form, which led to the beginnings of understanding design. To this day, I read comics and get misty eyed at the theater seeing my childhood heroes come to life. Our youngest is a diehard Spidey fan, and our oldest is currently reading the new Thor.
AT: My first job was at a drive in burger joint in Texas about a block from my high school. I was stuck in a sweaty room behind the ice machine, filling cups with cherry limeade and scooping flies out of the ice. I still resent not getting to breezily skate around from car to car and flirt with cute boys over curly fries.
What’s your favorite item in the store right now? Why?
JG: That’s an easy one: the Chore Coat. It’s an oiled canvas cloth that’s lightweight, weather resistant, and meant for year-round wear. Since the moment I came to understand my own sense of identity, I’ve made heroes of designers and artisans. The Chore Coat is the first thing I’ve taken from conception to production. It’s been a long, gut-wrenching, fantastic journey and I couldn’t be happier with the result.
AT: I of course absolutely adore our own pieces, the Chore Coat and the Catch All Sac are to die for. But I have such an affinity for vintage. Did you ever see the movie Fight Club? Remember she has that old, dirty, mangled pink dress that she wears? I don’t know why exactly but that image has stuck with me for years. I love how delicate it was and how the tattered, distressed, yet ultimately sweet state spoke volumes about her character. I love flaws. They instantly transport me to a place where I find myself full of curiosity and wonder and vision into the life of the item itself. This is where our little saying comes from, “Play a part in the life of things.” It’s been a dream of mine to be surrounded by history in this sort of soulful, imaginative way.
What’s the weirdest thing that’s ever happened in your store?
JG: While it didn’t happen during our time here, our building has an interesting history. It was built alongside dirt roads in 1904 as Airport Way Hotel and Palace Tavern. At some point after the 1960s, the Hells Angels took up residency. You can see sectioned paneling on our doorways that replaced the original wood where the DEA kicked in the doors. A couple of doors still boast another motorcycle club's logo that moved in after.