Howdy, my name is Phillip. I'm your average ballroom dancing, competitive fencing, gun shooting, knife collecting, nap loving kinda guy with a passion for handcrafting fine leather goods. If you have the time, I'd like to briefly share with you how I got into leatherwork, my ideas, inspirations, and a bit of the philosophy behind the things that I do.
My Road to Leather
Without coming from any type of formal leatherworking background, I became interested in leather goods like shoes, boots, and belts in 2012 while attending college. From then on, I've been fascinated with learning everything about leather and researching high quality goods that I could only dream about affording. Because of my low college student budget, I ended up buying lower quality leather goods to try and stretch what little money I had, only to be sorely disappointed with the incredibly poor craftsmanship and quality that I found. Spurred on by my frustrations, I decided to make my own leather goods. Eventually, the people close to me began to notice the items I made; suddenly, I had a way to support my hobby and grow my passion into what it is today.
As today's modern culture is continually expanding its thirst for "cheaper, faster, and disposable," I feel that there is now a small, but growing group of people who are actively seeking, and even demanding, quality and craftsmanship. Quality and craftsmanship can come in many different forms, from the ultra-luxury automobiles that are produced to exacting tolerances and extreme performance, to the single individual who spends the extra time to do the job right, no matter what that job may be.
I, myself, have gone through several different stages in my own journey of quality and craftsmanship. I was raised in a family where, out of necessity, what was frivolous was not bought. Mom and Dad were always, and still are, careful with their money, and would always be willing to buy quality versions of the things they needed. At that time I was very young, and didn't understand that my parents were trying to start a business, and I was too young to appreciate the hard work and effort that went into buying the nice things that we did have. It wasn't until my first year in college that I began to see the value of quality over quantity.
The first thing that changed me was when I started traditional wet shaving. It brought me back to a time where everything was done with meaning and purpose. Wetting the brush, creating a lather, and passing the razor over my face all took time and effort. I had to be conscious of the entire process, and the time it took allowed me to reflect on the day ahead of me in a way that I never experienced before. It's no exaggeration when I say that wet shaving was absolutely life changing for me. It was the catalyst I needed to realize that what I needed in my life was not the newest, fastest, and cheapest, but to slow down and live with meaning and purpose.
With meaning and purpose in mind, I needed an outlet to focus my efforts. I was burnt out with school because I felt that all my hard work was going into thin air. It was when I saw a YouTube video of a guy making a leather cellphone case that I knew I had to give leatherworking a try. It didn't look very hard at all, and it seemed like it only took him a few minutes to make. Turns out that making that cellphone case was extremely difficult, and took me many trials before I made one that came out looking decent. Even so, I was completely hooked. I had made something tangible, that I could hold in my hands and proudly show others. I had never felt this sense of accomplishment before, and it was exhilarating. That one project had a deeply profound impact on me, and I haven't looked back since!
My Ideas and Inspirations
Now that I have a solid understanding of who I am, and who I want to continue to become, I like to draw my inspiration from my everyday life. I like to ask myself questions such as, "Is there a way to simplify this situation?" or "Is there something that would solve this problem?" The very first problem that I tackled was my issue of burning through department store belts. Every year it seemed like I was spending another $30 to replace a belt I had just bought. Through that irritation, I designed my Everyday Leather Belt. With every product that I make, I try and solve a problem that I've personally experienced, and in doing so, I feel that I create a superior end result.
Nowadays, this constant brainstorming of different ways to do things also extends to thoughts such as "Is there a way to make this more beautiful without sacrificing functionality?" or "How can I make this detail more interesting?" and the like. Elevating my designs beyond pure functionality is a real struggle, but I love the challenge, and the results can even be amazing from time to time.
If all this sounds familiar to you, or resonates with your own ideals and philosophies, then I welcome you to explore the items that I have created. From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank you for taking the time to read and understand a little bit of myself and my story, and I hope that I can earn your business in the future.