Have you always been passionate about design?
A different form of design actually, yes! Data structures & clean lines of codes. Computer science background, cannot draw a proper stick figure, but finding the serenity in slow and steady process of handcrafting goods.
When/Why did you start working in this particular craft/field?
This is going to be a long one and Renegade Craft Fair is the reason why… so here goes!
Early spring or summer of 2014, my girlfriend drags me to a Renegade Craft Fair here in Los Angeles, held in Chinatown. At this moment, I knew nothing about leather, locally crafted goods, let alone running a business. At this fair, my girlfriend buys me a leather iPhone/cardholder from one of the vendors (I’ll tell you the vendor if you’d like, I just didn’t want it to seem rude). Now, this $70.00 leather wallet started to fall apart after 2 months, the stitching and the poor quality of leather started to show. I remember sitting at my desk, frustrated at this line of code that I can’t seem to finish and looking at this wallet that’s falling apart already! So… like any sane person would do to a $70.00 wallet, I took a pair of scissors and cut it in half. This wisely poor decision revealed that the brand used two really thin pieces of leather, stuck a thin piece of cardboard in the middle to sandwich, to make the leather seem sturdier and thicker than it really was.
We wanted to support small businesses and local craftsmen & women, but it felt like we were suckered. The stubborn side of me came out, my goal from that moment was to learn about leather. For weeks, I would just spend most nights reading, watching videos, and chatting with a family-owned leather supplier downtown. Made some very basic items like wallets & keychains, then applied to Renegade Craft Fair and got accepted!! November of 2014, just a few months after buying that crappy wallet, we were in San Francisco in a shared booth… just one aisle over from that same brand that sold it to us.
As furious as I am with that brand, I’m more than thankful to them because they introduced me to this whole new world of craftsmanship. Anvil Handcrafted won’t ever make me a gazillion dollars, but for an initial investment of $100.00 on basic tools and scrap leather from Amazon, this brand has taken us everywhere and introduced us to such amazing new friends.
Thanks for reading that rant, I’ve always wanted to e-mail RCF this story!
What do you think sets your designs apart from others?
Nothing. It sounds weird, I know, but really, nothing. We are just regular people with office jobs, weekend warriors, maybe a little more adventurous and stubborn than others, for sure. We live in such a very creative world, that most things are just a slight rendition of another. But with that said, our designs may not be that much different, it’s more of who we are that sets us apart.
Have you had any major failures? If so, what were some important insights gained?
Yes, accepting a 140-apron order for an LA coffee chain and realizing that one of the materials needed will take 1 month to get delivered. Still working on this project actually : )
Have you sacrificed anything to create your business? If so, what was it, and do you have any regrets?
Yes, weeknights, weekends, space in a one bedroom West-Hollywood apartment. I still wouldn’t call it a sacrifice though, nor a regret. It was doing something I enjoyed with a good friend and an amazing girlfriend who both helped and supported every step, even if that means 2AM Chinese food deliveries.
What has been your proudest/favorite moment since creating your business?
Being accepted to Renegade Craft Fair for November 2014 in San Francisco. It was a long shot, since we were a brand for just a few months. Thank you : )
How does the city you live in influence your work?
The opportunities are endless, just depends on how much you want them. Everyone is very supportive if you’re honest and not greedy!
What valuable experience/knowledge did you have before starting your business?
Working for a large retail company that is all made in the United States, been working here for a little over 8 years. Perfect insight for manufacturing, American sourcing, retail, logistics, and anything in between!
What made you take this leap into being your own boss?
It was unintentional, and I’m still learning!
What are some inspirations for your work?
The outdoors. Everything we make has a form of story or connection behind it.
What are some tips or suggestions you’d like to offer to fellow makers?
Take criticism with a shot of whiskey and be a little unorthodox, it’s more fun that way.