The Chase / Paul Rich's Story
The ultimate outdoorsman and jack-of-all trades, Paul Rich dreamed an idea and crafted it into a beautiful reality.
In hindsight, it’s easy to see how Paul Rich turned into such a jack of all trades. When you’re one of seven siblings growing up in a military family you learn to do things on your own. What are hobbies now for him started as exercises of necessity as a kid. Your toy’s broken? Well you better learn how to fix it. You want a bicycle? A motorcycle? A car? If Paul couldn’t fix and maintain them on his own, he wasn’t going to be able to use it. For the Rich family, you had to be masters of your own interests.
Solving those problems scratched an itch for Paul that would bring family together to collaborate, share a drink or two, and at the root of it all, make time for each other. In 2013, Paul’s brothers Jim and John lived in Atlanta. John owned a little shop called Oakleaf & Acorn. Paul was living in Baltimore looking for something to occupy his time outside of his day job as an architect. Talking with his brothers, he suggested they put a few custom products in their shop and see what happens. If they didn’t sell, oh well. Bonus if they did. Either way, Paul would have a little something on the side to divert his tireless mind and time. He’d wanted to build a 20s era cafe racer style bicycle. Looking for the right frame to begin his builds, he came across a guy with a collection. He bought 20 and started building, and Brothers Rich was born.
Now, Paul and his family make a little bit of everything. Bikes, beard oil, bags, crab mallets...funny story there. Paul was eating at a crab joint one day and couldn’t hear his dining companion over the din of hammer to crab. A quieter mallet was prototyped, developed, and now sold. That’s the process it seems. Whatever item he thinks he can offer an improvement to Paul tackles in his own hand crafted and meticulous way. There’s never a day Paul isn’t leaving his day job, anxiously to get home to his backyard workshop to start working on any one of the small projects he’s developing. Brothers Rich isn’t necessary and running the business side of it isn’t exactly a joy ride, but it ignited a passion and affords him the ability to pursue something he loves: the ability to create unencumbered.
If it wasn’t obvious, Paul needs to be building. He needs to be solving. His endless pursuit of beauty in function is what lead him to architecture. By his own admission, he wasn’t exactly a star student or a standout in his hobbies and sports. He was just passionate and driven. Where some architects go cerebral, treating the end product as art-for-arts-sake, Paul sees components - taking them apart and looking at the pieces. You can combine them too and solve this intricate problem without sacrificing the art. With architecture, he had a chance to do both and the challenge excited Paul enough to make a career out of it.
Never content with a fulfilling career, side-projects, and a beautiful family to boot, Paul’s real passion, the outdoors, serves as a reprieve from the grind. Among the hobbies that stuck around from his childhood, fishing in the low country of South Carolina stands out. Life always planted him square in cities: Pittsburgh, London, Baltimore, and escaping to nature became necessary. With a boat and some open water, Paul found a new challenge – and reignited an old love.
Chasing after something you can’t quite see, looking for fins, stalking fish, trolling around, and hoping for those magic days where it all comes together. Then again, just the hunt and search can be enough. There’s a confrontation to it all that keeps it exciting. You’re looking for the unknown. For Paul, there’s poetry to the search. Whether he’s uncovering beauty or creativity or nature in his work, his life, his family, Paul’s not afraid of the unknown. He’s drawn to it.
The important thing is that he experiences these things with the people he loves. His family and his friends. Experiencing this creativity together, makes for a far richer life, and Paul refuses to let himself look back and wonder what he could have done, he’s going to do those things now.