Leatherpunk.com is turning 20 years old this year (2022). So how did I get started in this business and what's kept me here so long? Grab a chair and I'll give you the condensed version.
In the late 1990s I was a local magician. Yes, I pulled rabbits out of hats (actually, doves from sleeves). But by 2002 I pulled the plug on the show and was looking for something new. On the way home from a trip to Missouri, the Leatherpunk idea was conceived and by December, 2002 the website was live and ready for business...sorta.
Having a place to operate even a small leather business was a problem in the beginning. The work was done in the bedroom of my apartment, but that made me a very noisy neighbor. I briefly used a buddy's garage, then my parent's garage, but these proved unsuitable for leather work due to lack of heating/air conditioning, not to mention very dusty. Despite the fact that the website was doing super well, I was in a tough place with this business homelessness. It was during this period I contemplated quitting.
By the Summer of 2004 the uncertainty had waned. I moved things into a small but climate controlled 10'x10' unit which I occupied until purchasing my first property in 2012. The new property afforded Leatherpunk seemingly endless square footage compared to the original 10x10. This in turn allowed me to expand both my work area and grow my abilities as a leather craftsman. It's only in these last few years that I now consider myself a true professional leather person. Perhaps it could've been accomplished sooner, but I grew it all organically, starting with one leather hide and a handful of tools...and one declined bank loan application. That was twenty years ago.
Here's three photos(the oldest I could find as it relates to LP), taken with actual 35mm film. Starting from the top: The building and birthplace of Leatherpunk, where I leased a 10'x10' unit, photographed in 2004. Middle photo and lower photo were taken from inside the shop, also in 2004.
The real reason I've stayed in this business all these years is because of my remarkable customers. I want to thank all of them first and foremost, and I also want to thank my friends and family for their support. There's so much more I could talk about, but I'll stop here. I hope to be working in this business for at least another 20 years!