Jeff Allen - Porter Farm
NASHVILLE SINCE 2005
Jeff Allen credits everything to the stability, love, and structure that his grandparents, who essentially raised him, gave him growing up in Texas. With Porter Farm, he’s creating a clothing brand that honors them and gives back to the community.
“I grew up super dysfunctionally – my mom’s wild, and my brother and I went through a lot,” he says. “Sweet ain’t sweet without the sour. You don’t know how good it is until you have it bad.” It was moving in with his grandparents that provided that stability – and perspective – for him. “I moved in with them, and it was the best experience I ever had in life, just unconditional love, some really good routine,” he continues. “Just a way of treating me that I hadn’t really known before.”
“I was working a job in East Texas and playing music on the weekends, and every day when I got up and came downstairs, they would be making breakfast,” he continues. “It could be eggs, pancakes, oatmeal, and my grandfather was always singing, and once we’d sit down at the table next to each other he’d slap me in the arm and say, ‘You can’t get eggs like this anywhere else but the Porter Farm.’”
The phrase stuck with Jeff, along with the impact of his grandparents. “They really just inspired me to do something,” he says. With Porter Farm, he’s taking their last name and that memory and bettering the world with it. 50% of the profit from the hats and shirts he’ll sell with the Porter Farm brand will go towards a charity of the buyer’s choice from the handful Jeff selects. “I just feel like it’s my way of giving back in some way,” he says.
Before Porter Farm, however, Jeff has been giving back to the community in another way: music. The Texan has been a touring artist for the past 15 years, including a publishing deal at Sony.
Recently, he stepped away from music as a full time career to pursue something new. “Once I started getting paid to do it, it took a lot of the muse out,” he shares. “I’ll always have music and I love music, and I’m thankful for the relationships and the friends that I’ve got in it. I love Nashville. But I think that the life that music brought to me was just a little more unhealthy than it should have been.”
Nine months ago, Jeff started barber school, which he graduates in May. “I love people, and love to love on people,” he says. “Being a barber and having people come sit down in my chair and get up feeling better than they came in, I love it. I get to see my friends, my friends come and see me to cut their hair. And I get to be home every night, and get to see my family more and my friends more, and don’t have to be gone every Thursday through Sunday.”
For Jeff, it’s newly rewarding, and a vast difference from being an artist, where things like interviews and photo shoots made him more uncomfortable than excited. “I just don’t think I was cut out for it,” he says of making a career of being an artist. “I’m thankful now that my life is changing people’s lives, one person at a time.”