Modern Gentleman Dad on the Street Tyler Browning lives out his family and business lifestyle with compassion, class, and a touch of southern Tennessee charm. Read on to learn more about his fatherhood style and his pursuit to bring men the very finest meaningful stationery with Oak and Ink Paper.
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Tyler Browning is a husband, father, and self-proclaimed DIY junkie. He has worked in healthcare marketing for over 15 years. After an endless search for creative and masculine stationery, he created Oak & Ink to give the modern gentleman a sense of style in the notes he writes. Born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee, he truly understands the value of history and tradition. Whether through Oak & Ink, his interior design projects, or just everyday DIY’s, heritage and tradition drive his design aesthetic of incorporating the old with the new.
Have you always enjoyed art/design and business?
For as long as I can remember, I have always been creating, designing, or building something. I
was definitely a good student in most subjects, but art class was where I was able to thrive the
most. And now you can usually find me watching some HGTV or a home renovation show.
What made you combine your love of design with business? How and when did you conceptualize your business?
The company actually came to be after waiting for a friend to develop masculine stationery
under her brand. After waiting a few years, another friend encouraged me to use my own design
skills and style aesthetic to start something that would be new to the market. I decided that I would give it a shot in January 2014, and we officially launched with eight of our current
designs in August of that year.
What have been your toughest and proudest moments as a business owner?
I can honestly say that I have a proud moment every time we make a sale. To know that
someone out there in the world appreciates my artwork enough to pay their hard-earned money
for it is really special.
The toughest part of owning a business is just the constant state of the comparison game for
me. I have a hard time not sizing myself up to companies across other industries.
What is your favorite thing about having your own business?
I really enjoy getting the opportunity to share with others a part of my life that is so special to
me. Since each collection is named after a significant male figure in my life, it feels like I’m
sharing their story with every customer.
Do your family, wife, and friends support you in your business and endeavors? How so?
I am beyond blessed to have a wife, family, and numerous friends who stand behind our
brand and me. As a somewhat introvert, they have always encouraged me to put myself and my artwork
out there for the world to see.
What has been your favorite product/collection you have created?
My favorite design is one that I haven’t even released to our customers, because it was so
special to our family. We struggled with getting pregnant for a short time, during which we
learned that the acorn is a symbol of fertility and growth. Shortly after that discovery, we were
blessed to get pregnant and gave our son the middle name of Oakley (because oak trees
produce acorns). I designed him his very own stationery before he was even born that included
a set of acorns and oak leaves. They’ve come in handy for a lot of teachers thank you notes!
What sort of people purchases your cards?
Oak & Ink sees all types of customers. The most common are the moms who really want their
kids to write thank-you notes, but we’ve seen a lot of very manly men snag a few of the products from time to time. I’m always interested in knowing every customer's story, so if I get the chance, then I’ll ask.
What is the most popular item from your shop/collections?
This might be the #1 question that I get all the time, and it’s so hard to nail it down to one
design. We always get the most compliments from our fly fish collection, but I would say that the
most sold design would have to be the mountains collection.
What makes your products special and stand out from the rest?
Oak & Ink was created to give men a creative product to write and share their stories with others.
I’ve yet to find another company that solely focuses on the modern gentleman who still appreciates the past things, such as a handwritten note.
What are your tips for other business owners, especially business owners who are dads?
It’s not all rainbows and sunshine like social media shows. Especially for those of us who
started from the ground up. And as cliché as it sounds, it takes a lot of work to build anything. And
I have, by no means, mastered it. I juggle running this company and working another full-time
job in marketing, but being a dad is my number one priority. You can’t get those two things
backward, or you might look back with a lot of regrets.
How do you want to grow as a business in the future?
It’s always been a dream of mine to own a storefront of some sort. With that comes a lot more
responsibility, so that would probably be on the long-term plan. But I would love for this
company to grow into a commonly-known brand that everyone goes to for the unique and
special gifts for the men in their lives.
Where can one purchase your work and follow you on social media?
You can find our products at oakandinkpaper.com and through our Instagram
@oakandinkpaper. We also have a wide variety of incredible retailers across the country that
carry our brand in their local shops. And we’re always looking for more!
Which three words best describe your style?
Casual, simple, classic
What are your favorite places to shop?
Target, H&M, and Amazon – basically anywhere that I can find a good black t-shirt
Who’s your favorite style icon?
Steve Ford from HGTV, because he seems to live his life in a basic black t-shirt or some earth
What’s your best style advice?
Dress comfortably. Life’s too short to be squeezed into some outfit that will probably be out of
style next week.
What trend did you love at the time, but now cringe when you see old photos?
Hair gel. The ungodly amount of slick-looking hair gel that I used in high school is nothing short
of a tragedy in itself.
What’s your dad superpower?
Making our son laugh. The kid is not scared of anything, so a good game of hide-and-scare
usually turns into a laughing match at some point.
Facial hair or clean-shaven?
Facial hair all day, every day. I’ve had some facial hair since college.
What’s your favorite way to spend time with your family?
Hanging out at home and watching our son’s imagination grow even bigger every day.
What’s your favorite family activity?
Making waffles on Saturday mornings
Best parenting advice:
It’s ok to walk away if you are getting frustrated or agitated. But don’t wish the little moments
away, because you don’t get those sweet moments back.
Parenting true confession:
I’m literally gagging as I type this, but we sometimes delay changing a dirty diaper because he
is usually on his best behavior before it’s changed.
What’s your go-to family dinner?
Homemade pizza or taco night
What’s your favorite family restaurant? Hands down, Chik-fil-A. It’s almost embarrassing how quickly our son can recognize the sign and associate it with chicken nuggets.
We love Tyler's unique Southern style and charm, and the way he celebrates thoughtful traditions. Even better, he makes his talents accessible to the masses through his artwork.
Be sure to check out Oak and Ink paper if you're looking for unique and thoughtful presents for the men in your life!
Be sure to read about more inspiring and interesting dads at FamilyApp Dad on the Street!