The Vineyard Vines Story

Shep and Ian Murray, Photo Courtesy Vineyard Vines

Shep and Ian Murray, Photo Courtesy Vineyard Vines

Every Day Should Feel This Good 

It has for Shep and Ian Murray since the Summer of 1998. 18 years ago, these two brothers traded their business suits for bathing suits and stopped wearing ties and started selling them. 

It's the week we've all been waiting for! The @KentuckyDerby is almost here! 🐎🌹 #EDSFTG #VVDerby16

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Living The American Dream

It started with humble beginnings in the late 1990’s. Two brothers who worked in New York City after graduating from college. Shep worked on Wall Street and Ian worked in public relations. Ironically, they both quit their jobs within 10 minutes of each other, ordered some drinks and clinked their glasses to the future, and that’s how Vineyard Vines was born! 



Shep and Ian were accustomed to traveling the world as kids. Their father was a travel writer for the Robb Report, Connecticut Magazine and other publications. They accompanied him on business trips and stayed at resorts and got an up-close chance to see how hospitality operations ran. The family lived in Connecticut and summered on Martha’s Vineyard and the brothers were huge fans of the water, fishing and having fun.

Flash forward to the Summer of 1988. There was no real reason why it was Ties. Aside from T-shirts, there was nothing to tell anyone that you had been to the Vineyard. That’s where the idea came from.


Why Not Make Ties That Represent The Things That We LOVE To Do On The Vineyard

They took advantage of the casual Friday trend that was blooming and a need for a young, energetic preppy look and said  “Why not make ties that represent the things that we love to do on the Vineyard?” They went on to make cool ties that other people would wear. Icons of the good life of sailing, Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, martini’s and cigars.

Let’s Make Cool Ties For Other Guys To Wear

 They made and delivered the first 800 ties  July 3rd, 1998 to Carol Fligor of Fligor’s in Edgartown. She took the ties on consignment and they sold out in a week. They quickly reordered and the rest is history!


Today, Vineyard Vines includes a full range of shirts, jackets, caps, skirts, pants, belts, flip-flops and totes for men, women and children that are sold across the country. The vacation-themed gear  is available at over 30 Vineyard Vine stores nationwide, as well as online and at 600+ specialty boutique and department stores including Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom and Sak’s Fifth Avenue.


It all started on Martha’s Vineyard. Shep and Ian’s parents were the ones who really taught them about the Vineyard. The island is a place they love more than any other in the world. The goal of Vineyard Vines is to embody the relaxed life that so many enjoy during Vineyard summers. The initial concept was to take your relaxed state of mind with you whenever a tie is necessary. They wanted to help people dress for the way they want to live and were inspired by other grassroots companies like Nantucket Nectars, which took a simple product and made it special. 

Men’s Wear, Ladies Wear, Kids Wear

Vineyard Vines carries a full line of women’s dresses, skirts, shirts, pants, shorts, sweaters and outerwear. 

Photo Courtesy Vineyard Vines

Photo Courtesy Vineyard Vines

Best seat in the house. #EDSFTG

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 Baseball + Football + Hockey & More

Vineyard Vines has several licensing partnerships with Major League Baseball, the NFL and the NHL to produce custom ties and totes for all teams. It has agreements with the New York Giants, and the company has produced custom ties for 150 schools  for major championship events and colleges and has a licence agreement with the Kentucky Derby. Vineyard Vines is the “Official Style” of the annual event. In addition they have a Golf Collection and custom products for major championship events.

Ian and his wife Jamie all decked out in pink for Oaks Day at @churchilldowns! #EDSFTG #VVDerby16

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Feature Photos By Melissa Tyler

Except Where Noted

Instagram Photos Courtesy Vineyard Vines


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Michael Blanchard Inspirational Photography

The great thing about social media is it can introduce you to a few of your favorite things! That’s what happened to me several years ago when I came upon a  Michael Blanchard  photograph on Facebook I’ve been a fan ever since!

Michael lives and works in Maine and makes trips to Martha’s Vineyard almost every weekend. He wakes up before the crack of dawn and in the solitude and the solstice of early morning sunrise  and sunsets  makes photographs that have become to known as inspirational photographs. You see, many take a photograph, but Michael has a way of creating images that evoke something inside yourself. That’s why he  has over 43,000 people follow him on Facebook.

Polaroid Camera

Michael’s first camera was a Polaroid camera he received as a teenager. But it wasn’t until the age of 54 that he found his interest in photography.  He recalls the first successful long exposure shot of Lucy Vincent. He sat quietly for an hour after that and felt so connected. That’s when he knew photography would be an important part of his life. The camera became a means of being quiet and reflective. It got him out of the house and on the beaches and he found a lost spirituality.

Why Martha’s Vineyard

It was a sailboat trip to MV  that would change Michael’s life! Once there he had the immediate, explainable desire to stay.  A few years later, he married a woman who had a home on the island. That is what we like to call Serendipity!  Michael has openly discussed in an open forum his ongoing recovery from the disease of alcoholism and the pain of his subsequent divorce from his wife. The island of Martha’s Vineyard and the art of photography helped to heal him.

3 Favorite Places

Lucy Vincent Beach, Moshup Beach and Menemsha are his three favorite places on the island. Being a big Jaws fan, he can see Hooper, Quint and Chief Brody heading out to sea to get the shark every time he sees the little fishing shacks in Menemsha.

Sunrise or Sunset

Sunset is the time he loves best to photograph. The colors are different than at sunrise. He finds more interesting shots as evening approaches. But, he does admit some of his best photographs have been taken at sunrise.

Fighting For My Life

Fighting For My Life Finding Hope and Serenity on Martha’s Vineyard, is the book that has helped Michael with his demons. He found while displaying his photographs on Facebook for the world to see, people responded to his words from healing from addiction, as much as the photos themselves. The two went hand-in-hand.  With a talent to take photographs that people liked and a want and need to share the life changing events. The book served the purpose as a cathartic  ” spilling out” of what he went through as a further means of how helping to heal. The book was designed and constructed to help raise money for addiction treatment, and most importantly, to help reduce the  shame alcoholics and addicts feel about their disease.  He wanted people to see the real and torturous existence of an alcoholic so they could better understand the disease and then use this information to help others who are struggling. He wants those who are struggling to know ” there is no shame as long as you take responsibility for your recovery”.

The Calendar

In May 2016 Michael will release a brand new calendar to help raise money for the Martha’s Vineyard  New Path’s Addiction Treatment Program and to increase awareness that additional resources are needed to fight the disease of addiction. Some of his stories and poetry and words of wisdom will be included to help those who need a boost of “hope”.  Thousands of his Facebook fans helped vote to choose the photos that will be in the calendar. It will be available through his website, several other websites as well as stores all over Martha’s Vineyard. The proceeds after costs will go to the New Paths Program.


Ansel Adams inspires Michael more  for what he said “photographs are made not taken” .  Adams would work in the darkroom for hours working to get the contrast right on a print.I In Michael’s case, editing photos is his creative escape.  Adams is his hero for “allowing” him to edit and experience the joy of creating something that is “him” and beautiful from the raw material generated by the camera.

3 Things You Should Know

  1. The Camera is his means of connecting to whatever spirituality or divine energy that exists in the world. It is important in keeping him grounded and in the moment.
  2. The editing of photos is a means of creative expression he never had and allows him to channel feelings and emotions that would otherwise stay bottled up inside.
  3.  Photography is the window to the soul. He plans on using imagery  and cameras to help teenagers heal from addictions to drugs and alcohol. People can literally express themselves in the photos they choose to take.

Michael Blanchard Inspirational Photography

To view his collection or order a book or calendar visit Michael Blanchard’s website and  follow him on  Facebook

On Island, you can find his work at Kennedy Studios in Vineyard Haven and Kelly House Gallery in Edgartown. This Summer his art will be displayed at a number of Black Dog stores throughout New England.

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MIDNIGHT FARM Vineyard Haven

We have visited Midnight Farm several times over the years and loved the atmosphere and mood of the store. This year we found out they moved to a space across the street from where they had previously been.

Midnight Farm  is a HOME store that represents Tamara Weiss’s passion for all things beautiful, textural, organic, reclaimed, hand made or unique. Tamara travels the world and gains inspiration from the artists, musicians and friends she meets along the way, including her friend and business partner, Carly Simon. Tamara and Carly have been lifelong friends. The store was named by Carly Simon who also penned a poem which led to a children’s book called “Midnight Farm”. 

The shop is big on comfort and style. Tamara Weiss carefully curates the unusual selection of goods:  furniture, bedding, art as well as clothing, jewelry and shoes for women, men, and children. 

The store pays homage to Vintage textiles from Morocco, India and Turkey sit side by side with luxurious silk bedding, candles, perfumes, books and treasures for the HOME, BODY and SPIRIT.

Specialty foods like local honey, sea salt, spicy kale, organic small batch granola, bacon jam, chocolates, and the ever-present mango lime salsa are some of the delectable foods one might find. 

Potluck Cookbook Midndight Farm

You’ll also find copies of Tamara Weiss’s book  “Potluck at Midnight Farm”. Released in 2002, the cookbook style guide gives over 100 recipes  from potluck dinners hosted or attended by the author. 

Photos By Melissa Tyler

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