Made in Virginia 2015: Fern & Roby, Richmond

Fern & Roby

It’s not just their products that have us excited about Fern & Roby—it’s the way partners Christopher Hildebrand, Hinmaton Hisler and Sara Moriarty approach their work. “The vernacular is designed mostly by what we would like to live with,” says Hildebrand. “It’s simplicity in form and function.”

Fern & Roby’s designs, including furniture, hard wares and audio components are purposeful and functional, but not stark or cold. Products like its new cast iron turntable, beam tower speakers and credenza are instead sculptural, thoughtful and organic.

“We’re not trying to make the materials look like something else. And we want them to stand up to time and love, to age gracefully,” says Hildebrand, 40. And though Fern & Roby may be a buzzy new brand, debuting its turntable on the retail market just last summer, there is nothing ephemeral about their line.

Forty-three-inch-high beam tower speakers are encased in a heart pine timber cabinet. The handsome turntable is comprised of a 70-pound cast-iron plinth and 35-pound bronze platter. Along with an integrated amplifier, the system produces sound that has earned Fern & Roby—an outgrowth of Tektonics Design Group, the industrial manufacturing company Hildebrand and Hisler started in 2003—plaudits from audiophiles. Perched atop the credenza with its reclaimed hard wood and hand-finished iron legs, the tableau is perfect in its proportions. There are no frivolous details, no choosing between good looks and performance. It just works.

Hildebrand says the firm plans to develop lighting, more case goods and furniture hardware as well as expand its audio offerings.

And that may be the best part about Fern & Roby: This is just the beginning. Turntable, $4,500. Beam Tower Speakers, $4,500. Credenza, $4,850.

See all the Made in Virginia 2015 Winners!

Overall Winner

Fern and Roby, Richmond


Monolith Studios, Charlottesville (category winner)

Huger Embroidery, Richmond

Duvall Designs, Millwood

Owen Suter’s Fine Furniture, Richmond


Shockoe Atelier, Richmond (category winner)

Rockbridge Guitar Company, Charlottesville

Melissa Lew Jewelry, South Riding

North End Bag Co., Virginia Beach


Belle Isle Craft Spirits, Richmond (category winner)

Early Mountain Vineyards, Madison

Texas Beach, Richmond

LUMI Juice, Charlottesville


Brown Dog Handcrafted Premium Ice Cream, Cape Charles (category winner)

S. Wallace Edwards & Sons, Surry

Swover Creek Farms, Edinburg

Pennacook Peppers, Virginia Beach

Click here to see 2014 winners.

Click here to see 2013 winners.

Click here to see 2012 winners.

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