Thanks for joining us for the debut of our "Luna & Friends" series - where we'll be putting the spotlight on some of our favorite artists, makers and businesses and getting to know a little bit more about them. Today, we're excited to kick things off by introducing our good friend Josh Ritter, who crafts exceptional leather goods over at Grove Supply Co.
Hey Josh! It’s a pleasure to have you. Can you begin by telling us a bit about yourself and how you got started?
Hey, guys! Thanks for having me! My name is Josh as you just said (lol). I own and operate Grove Supply Co. with the help of my beautiful wife Tiya! I got started in leather craft in 2018 right on our kitchen counter. We were living in a small one bedroom apartment and it was the biggest space we had at the time!
What initially drew you to crafting leather products? What was the first product you made?
I got started crafting leather goods kind of out of necessity. I had a leather keychain I had been using for years and it was finally giving up the ghost so instead of buying a new one, I bought the materials to make one! That was the first thing I ever made. I posted about making one on Instagram and friends started asking me if I would sell them one! The rest is history as they say.
Where does your inspiration come from?
I get a lot of inspiration in weird ways.. sometimes designs come to me randomly and I’m racing home to sketch it out, but other times I could be inspired to make something that just makes my life easier. If I wish the wallet I’m carrying had a different layout or better functionality, I usually get to my bench and try to make it better!
We notice you're a big fan of Smith's Leather Balm and also showcase a lot of your favorite tools and materials on your Instagram page. Could you tell us some more about your favorite materials and tools, and how they affect your craft?
YES I LOVE SMITH’S LEATHER BALM! I yelled it just so you all would know for sure! The thing I love about Smith’s is the simple recipe. 3 all-natural ingredients that can revive your leather goods, but not only do their products rock, Shane Smith is one of the most genuine and authentic dudes out there. He’s been very encouraging to me on my leather journey.
As far as materials, we mostly use leather from Wickett & Craig of America and we totally love it, but we also carry a ton of random types of leather for custom orders! You never know what someone is going to ask for so we try to stock as much as we can!
Third and final answer to this question.. tools are so important. I have invested a lot buying some of the highest quality tools in leather craft. I think it’s important to do everything I can to make the best and highest quality product as possible.
Tell us about some of the products you make and the intentionality behind them.
We make many wallets in various styles, keychains, notebook covers, watch straps, and totes! We try to be very intentional about functionality. It’s important to us that every item is as enjoyable to use as it is to look at it. It’s so easy and normally less expensive to go to some big box store and purchase a wallet that might last you a couple years.. our goal is that you buy a wallet from us and hand it down to your children or grandchildren one day. It’s an investment and we do what we can to make sure your wallet will stand the test of time.
What's your best seller or most popular item?
I would say that our best seller is the Bexley 3 Pocket wallet! It’s a minimal wallet that fits perfectly in your front pocket. I carry it often!
Tell us about your workshop.
Our workshop is actually in the back area of the apartment we currently live in. It’s kind of a joint area with where we have our washer and dryer! It’s a humble workshop, but I have dreams to have an actual shop and store where people can come and watch me work and buy our goods in person. It’ll happen one day!
Describe your process.
The process of making one of our items starts with carefully selecting a clean area of the hide to cut out the necessary parts for the wallet, keychain, etc. After that, there are so many little, meticulous details that happen. That could range from sanding the edges to be even, beveling, shining up the edges, glueing, putting everything together, creating the stitching holes, stitching, more s