At only 17 years old, self-taught leather maker Garrett Wayne has started to make a name for himself in the world of accessories. A student at McKeel Academy and a graduate of the University of YouTube, Garrett continues to perfect his craft and produce wallets, belts, dog tags and other leather products at a higher standard. And he is our 2022 Lakelander MADE Apprentice.
Garrett’s designs are made by hand with a careful and creative intentionality behind them. Through wallets, belts, laptop pads and other leather accessories, Garrett provides his clientele with strong, well-designed products that don’t just look great, but last. And with a strong focus on continuing to expand his brand beyond just leather, Garrett continues to push boundaries of what he can create for customers with his own two hands.
You can find our Q&A with Garrett below.
JR: Why leather goods? What got you started and what has kept you going?
GW: I had seen some stuff online. I thought it was interesting, but I didn’t pick it up. Later, I was looking to make a business of my own. I found a leather dog leash, I told my dad, “I think I could make this, and make it cheaper too.” So, I did! I have kept going (even though I am sold out of leashes for now, maybe again in the future) because I have created a vision of how I can build this brand beyond leather.
JR: Where do you find/take inspiration from for your products?
GW: I have taught myself through trial and error, but also learned a lot from YouTube. The mix of styles from the community on YouTube, and from what I see some from my favorite brands has inspired me. Lots of my design is from my head, just what I have envisioned. I also find inspiration in other people’s products
JR: How much care and intentionality goes into creating each individual wallet or belt?
GW: Lots! I make all my products completely by hand. I scrap lots of products for mistakes that I make, and maybe it just doesn’t look right. I’d feel terrible to sell a product that isn’t made with my quality. There is a process, I try to repeat every in the same why so that I can maintain that quality.
JR: What’s next? Any new products or designs you’d like to play with in the future?
GW: I really have a great design for a new wallet in my head, I haven’t drawn it out yet, but I’m so excited to get started in designing! It should be slim, yet cash friendly, something people don’t see everyday.