Chatted with Eric Heins of Corter, yet another Bostonian and fourth in our series of Pop-Up Shop vendor features. Read up on why he likes to spend his days working with leather and what it takes to actually make one of his beautiful wallets and belts.
Q. When did you first start working with leather? Are you self-taught?
A. I started leather work a month into my junior year of college in late 2007. I wanted a Redmoon wallet, but couldn’t afford it being a student. I found a thread on the fashion forum Superfuture about someone that made their own Redmoon-style wallet, and it inspired me to do the same. I ordered some low grade leather, watched some tutorials while it was in the mail, and ended up making the first wallet while home sick for a few days in September. I posted pictures on the forum, and was in business January 1st of the next year making custom wallets.
Q. What makes your products stand apart from other leather good shops?
A. I try to make things that are functional, affordable, and accessible. I’ve always designed for myself first, because I know a lot of my customers are very much like me. I’m not sure that it sets me apart from other leather companies, all I hope for is that the things I make are needed and used.
Q. For those who may not be familiar with how to craft leather, can you explain the process you go through for making one of your wallets or belts?
A. Sure thing. First I’ll design a piece in sketches. Then I go straight to leather and prototype the piece, which can take from 2 hours to 3 days to get right. I never really use patterns except for the Folded Bifold I offer- I just commit the measurements to memory and cut them one-by-one. After the prototype is in use for a few weeks, I adjust and tweak the things that need to be changed and make a final proto. From there, I design the production process that allows me to make every one myself, make a batch, photograph it, and put it in my shop. As far as the actual production, the general process is to cut the pieces, poke holes with an awl, and stitch- all by hand. I use a saddle stitch, and finish edges with a burnish and some bee’s wax from a farm in Rhode Island.
Q. You’re still a one-man shop, handling the crafting, sales, and PR/marketing. What’s your favorite part about running your own show?
A. My favorite part has always been designing. I design everything, from the actual look of the piece to the process that allows me to make the piece in quantity all by myself. I enjoy that the most.
Q. Where do you see yourself and Corter in 2012?
A. I’d like to do another charity project like the For Japan sale this year, it’s awesome to be able to help people. Other than that I can honestly say I have no clue at all. I need to move into a bigger shop again, but otherwise I’ve never had a business plan and kind of go wherever it takes me. I don’t want to be making things people don’t need- I’ve never wanted to be white noise- so I hope to keep making things people use and enjoy.