Our Story

My love for leather began when I held my first baseball glove. I didn't know much about leather as a kid, but it felt expensive. It was quality. I still remember how it felt in my hand, how it creaked when I bent it around the ball. It was stiff and difficult to manage at first, but my dad showed me how to break it in and protect it with leather conditioner. He said that if I took care of it properly, it would last forever. While I may have had the best-cared-for glove on the team, it didn't seem to help me hit better, run bases faster or even catch the ball. I ended up being that kid picking weeds in left field. My enjoyment of baseball ended fairly quickly, but my passion for leather didn't.

About ten years ago, a friend gave me some worn, black leather boots. They didn't fit me, but I was in need of a new wallet, and the leather on those boots still had a story to tell. I cut up those old boots, bought a cheap sewing machine and made a wallet. It was my first experience building with leather. 

It took me a lot of years to discover what I was made to do. Left with a parched soul, due to too many years in corporate sales, I quit my job. At that time, a good friend and I ran an online business which afforded me some time to work with my hands. I started carving tobacco pipes out of briar wood as a hobby. Along with pipes, I crafted some pipe bags, wallets and tobacco pouches out of leather. I loved working with leather, but I didn't have time to focus on it while running my business and being an artisan pipemaker. Unexpectedly, the FDA changed some rules, and I could no longer sell my pipes. I have four daughters, and this affected our family financially. Not being able to create with my hands also impacted my soul in a way I wasn't expecting. It left a huge void.

Months later, a buddy of mine asked if l had any of the leather tobacco pouches that I had made a couple of years back. I didn't, so I made him one. When he got it, he said, "You know, you really should make more of these, and sell them." My creative gears started turning. My wife, Kelli, and I decided to explore this idea further. I contacted a friend who had worked with leather and asked if he could share a few tips to get me started in the right direction. Two weeks later, he pulled into my driveway with boxes and bags full of leather and leather tools. His new focus was woodworking, and he wanted to pass his leather gear on to me. I was fairly speechless and very grateful. We bought a used table and some other necessities and turned our guest bedroom into a leather workshop. We spent countless hours researching, learning, designing and developing. In time, Growley Leather Co. went from being an idea to a reality.

Leather captivates me - the feel and smell of it, the movement it has when I work with it, the uniqueness of each piece. I love rolling out a new hide and envisioning what I can make with it. As a leathersmith, I design timeless and useful things from this rugged material. It's a privilege to transform it into durable and functional products for you to put your life-mark on and pass down.

We are all artists of some sort. I see my skills as God-given, so I strive to hone them and use them to the best of my ability. I want to keep developing as a craftsman, keep creating new and beautiful designs, and keep making great products for you to enjoy.

Life is a story. Thanks for letting Growley Leather be a part of yours!


Brian G. Rowley - Founder & Head Leathersmith at Growley Leather Co.

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