IN MY OWN WORDS
For me, this journey has always been about learning new skills. It all started by learning how to build furniture without using power tools using traditional tools and techniques.
I gradually found my way into leatherwork and started developing the skills to produce leather wallets and handbags. I honed my skills through practice, not formal education. I learned by doing, trying, and more often than not, figuring out 100 ways how not to do that thing. Some call this an autodidact,
Before 2016, I had spent nearly a decade in the automotive insurance industry, writing Terms & Conditions for extended car warranties. During my time in the auto industry, I recognized I needed my life to revolve around creating something tangible.
The opportunity presented itself to help run The Unplugged Woodshop, Canada's first-hand tool-only woodworking school. We focused on teaching people to build fine furniture without using power tools, learning to slow down in this fast-paced society, and enjoying the process. It was an opportunity of a lifetime and something I knew I could not miss. Seeing student after student leave with a level of accomplishment was incredible.
By 2019 it was time to move on to the next adventure.
There is a personal one-on-one approach to each piece. We work directly with our clients on everything from style, leather and thread choice. There are no corners cut when it comes to the quality of materials or craftsmanship.
The approach to this craft is rooted in a time when people connected with the objects in their life. Heirloom pieces passed down through generations were the norm, and artisans were known for the things they created. These objects were intended to last a lifetime, and if they didn't, they would have them repaired. This perspective has been lost in modern society, and it's time for a resurgence.
Justin is an independent designer and artisan, crafting modern, timeless leather goods from a private studio in downtown Toronto, Canada.