The Rucksack

Ever since I first blogged about Michael Stricklin and his developing line of cool, rugged leather goods, handmade in Alabama, I've been an avid fan. It's always very rewarding to see the success of emerging artists who care so deeply about their craft. And the hard work is paying off. This leather rucksack, in my opinion, is his best work yet. 

Each Loyal Stricklin rucksack is made to order and has a lifetime guarantee. Made of the highest quality 4 ounce leather, each bag is 12" wide x 5" deep x 19" tall when rolled up. When unrolled, the bag extends to 25" in height. It's an investment piece that will stand the test of time, getting better with time- just like Michael's handiwork. To see all his wares, which include wallets, belts and his popular aviator mug, click here.  

 

Images: loyalstricklin.com    Content: Sweet Peach 

 

Slightly Alabama

Dana Glaeser's roots are in the deep south where he was born and raised...until his life journey took him to NYC to work as a Marketing Executive. Left a tad unsatisfied in the corporate world, Dana decided to jump ship and work for himself- crafting something with his own two hands that stirred his soul. Like this crazy good Sheffield Bag, made with Horween leather and antique brass hardware.

Today, Dana's line, Slightly Alabama, has expanded to include all manner of bags, pouches and leather accessories. (I can't help but love this leather wine tote) With little interest in following trends, Dana concentrates on producing products that are durable and made of the highest quality. Then he lets the work speak for itself...

 

Images: Slightly Alabama   Content: Sweet Peach


The Franklin Bag

Love. That's the only word I can think of when I look at this bag. You can just tell what this gorgeous Horween leather feels like, the smoothness and sturdiness of it. Then, there's the hand stitching and rivets...

Erik Holmberg of J Stark in Charleston, South Carolina is the self taught craftsman behind the Franklin bag. With sheer determination, he's honed his skills and created an online shop that now includes wallets, pocket squares, watch straps, bags and iPad sleeves. 

But it's the Franklin Bag that has stolen my heart. It's beautifully made with such an original feel and design. Love. 

 

Photos: Erik Holmberg     Content: Sweet Peach

 

Makr

My friend Stephen recently sent me a suggestion for Manly Monday that I knew was a perfect fit the moment I opened the link. The company is Makr and they craft exceptional leather and canvas goods for men. I especially like their iPad Attache available in three yummy, rich colors.  

Makr was founded by designer and artisan, Jason Gregory in Winter Park, Florida. His love of design drove him to craft a smart selection of accessories and bags that fit well with any man's lifestyle- from the corporate executive to the surfers or chefs who just want nice, useful items that are built to last. Jason shared in a recent interview, "I appreciate products created with thoughtfulness and care." It shows...

It's safe to say that all of Makr's products easily enhance a man's style quotient. Like this eyewear sleeve, hand sewn with an antique brass button. 

Jason took his time creating man bags that play well dressed up or down. He achieves a modern look with a classic feel with these two beauties. Find the cross body Farm Messenger at this link and the Utility bag here. 

Cards and cash are easily accessible with Makr's hand stitched angled wallet. 

Jason cares about a quality product so therefore cares deeply about sourcing quality materials. Horween, out of Chicago, which is often referred to as one of the finest tanneries in the world, provides the leather for Jason and his team. Makr continues to raise eyebrows for their thoughtfully made goods that feel as good as they look. Goods, that as Jason says, "are as beautiful as they are functional." 

 

Photos: Makr   Content: Sweet Peach


Americana Dry Goods

There's a lot to admire about Shaun Garcia. Not only is he the Executive Chef at Soby's in Greenville, South Carolina, he's also the guy behind these gorgeous leather pieces. As he told me at his house the other day in Spartanburg, "Everything I've made, I've taught myself how to do. It's trial and error and I work at it till I get it right."

When I asked Shaun what inspires him, he said, "The loss of the American worker." Shaun grew up in Startex, South Carolina where his dad, great grandfather and uncles worked in the cotton mills. Shaun adds, "Every area of the South had its own cotton mill. We were the epicenter of cotton and textiles for many years." Shaun not only watched his dad lose his job at the mill, he also saw the mills closed and torn down, as if they never existed.  

Shaun is inspired by the American workers of years past and is motivated by their efforts to use his own hands in labor- sewing, crafting, cooking, creating...and always with the highest level of skill and respect for the job at hand. His wallets (average price $30) differ in design and can be customized to the needs of the client. 

Shaun taught himself how to sew and his perfectionist side keeps him tweaking and trying until he gets each piece exactly as he wants. He loves the challenge of a new idea and I especially liked his leather portfolio, above. The gorgeous Carolina Brown leather, which he purchases from the Horween Leather Company in Chicago, (which in itself takes a month to produce) is so rich in color, smooth and soft. When you purchase one of Shaun's pieces, you are holding something that has been built to last..to care for and pass down to your kids. 

These belts are expertly made with a simple yet handsome design. Shaun utilizes the Conway Buckle, which allows the wearer to adjust the belt from the inside. The belts come with two buckles; stainless steel and solid brass. 

You may remember Shaun's gorgeously made mailbag from last week's post. John Rich of Oakleaf and Acorn picked it as one of his Top Six Men's Gifts for this holiday season. It's what led me to Shaun and I was happy to see he has been inspired to build upon his success. First the mailbag... then wallets, portfolios, aprons, key chains...and now he has dreams of making his own pair of jeans. If anybody can figure it out, it's Shaun. 

I like how Shaun told me that as a chef, which is his full time job, most of his culinary colleagues like to go out after work and drink. Him? He wants to get home and sew. Gotta love that in a man...

The quality of his goods is immediately apparent in the details- from the shiny brass tack to the perfectly placed rivet. 

You can often find Shaun on his front porch with his bag of tools, adeptly utilizing an old railroad tie as an anvil. Good craftsmen are resourceful...

Shaun revealed his greatest satisfaction, "When I make something and it makes my customer happy." All of his work, via his Americana Dry Goods shop, has an ironclad guarantee. As he says, "I will always stand behind my craftsmanship." I like what Shaun is doing. I like that he cares about making things with his hands; about high quality, care, respect and hospitality. He's the modern day American worker and it feels good to know the legacy of his family continues on...and inspires the rest of us. 

**To request your own leather item from Shaun, just send him an email, he'd be more than happy to hear from you. 

 

Photos and Content: Sweet Peach