James over at allthewallets.com reached out to see if we would be interested in doing a Q & A for a new series on their website. We we were happy to and appreciate individuals like James who are shining some light on the hand crafted goods industry.
For anyone unfamiliar with willow Craft Goods, tell us a bit about your shop. What made you start a business in leather goods?
Wallets are one of the very few items that go just about everywhere with you so they share a special place with their owner in that aspect. Everyone has one and I was never happy with any mass produced or store-bought wallet I had.
This led to me seeking out higher end leather wallets from various makers. With that, I was still never truly satisfied with anything I bought. There are a lot of amazing higher end wallets, but none that truly spoke to me in the way I had hoped they would. Naturally, Willow Craft Goods started taking shape over the years.
You have quite the selection of quality wallets in different designs. What appeals to you the most when looking for the next new wallet to design and make?
Our wallets are meticulously crafted and designed from start to finish with form and function in mind. I strive for minimalist designs that speak for themselves; with the goal to create a product that is undeniably Willow Craft Goods. I want people to recognize our designs before seeing our logo.
One of my favorite quote's that I constantly reflect on during design sessions is "Simplicity is the Ultimate Sophistication". With that, Unique and Original are two terms I hold quite close with our brand.
What would you say is the most important thing people should look out for and consider when searching for a leather wallet to buy?
For someone looking to buy a quality non-commercial leather wallet, there are a number of factors to take in. The type and quality of leather used being an obvious one. Some brands openly display what they are using, while others do not keep that information readily available. Regardless - If you are spending a premium price...It is worth doing a bit of research on particular leathers beforehand and having an idea of the characteristics you want out of a given type of leather.
Fit and finish is a large factor. The rustic look vs a cleaner look. Edge finishing and the type of stitching (machine vs hand stitched) are two things to keep in mind. Every maker has their own style - you need to decide what's important to you.
Look at and compare a lot of photos, you'll be able to spot differences in those aspects pretty quickly and educate yourself.
Lastly keep in mind the time that goes into hand crafted goods and how that factors into a higher price overall.
What type of leather do you use in your wallets? What made you choose this type of leather?
We use full grain vegetable tanned leather from various reputable tanneries in the US and Italy at this time. Our leather is chosen for various qualities from its grain structure, finish, and firmness level. We offer quite a few types of leather with different characteristics. Some will patina more, some less, etc.
How has COVID-19 affected the leathercraft industry and specifically yourself?
Covid 19 affected the leather industry much like other industries. We happened to launch early March of 2020 and the country essentially shut down late March and April. With that, it has very much affected us this year. We had high hopes for an exciting launch but things didn't quite work out that way. Regardless we have taken that time and still worked towards building the brand and I believe 2020 will always be a year we look back on and are proud of for what we accomplished.
What’s your personal favorite wallet in your collection and what makes it special to you?
My personal favorite wallet in my collection. That's a tough one. Out of my designs - The Posh has a special place in my heart as it was one of the first designs I really stuck with and was happy with. Everything else has been inspired by design characteristics found in the Posh.
However, I'm very fond of The Opus and if I had to pick one - it would likely be an Opus variant. I love the construction of the Opus as well as how clean and smooth the design is.
What does the future hold for Willow Craft Goods? Have you any new projects in the pipeline?
I'm hoping to build Willow Craft Goods into a recognizable brand in good time.
We always have new projects and ideas in the works! Wallets are just the start and I am thrilled to see what the future holds for us.
Finally, we always like to ask this question, if you had to choose one other wallet to carry for the rest of your life (that isn’t your own) which one would it be?
That's a tough one! I'd obviously have to pick one I have tried out and have enjoyed up to this point. Moose Brand makes a stitch-less palm wallet that is both unique and versatile enough that I could see it bringing me joy for many years to come as it already has up to this point.