US Brand Spotlight: J.Stark
1- What was the inspiration for starting J.Stark, one of our favorite brands ?
It was a combination of wanting to transition from the digital world to the analog and needing a wallet. So I thought I would give it a try. The first version of the wallet was terrible, but eventually realized that I needed better tools and better leather. Having good ingredients makes for the best end product. That learning remains true to this day.
2- As you know, at LOUIE we love “Made in USA” Can you tell us what that means to you?
We have a long tradition of making things, it was steadily declining since the 80s but I think after the recession of 2008 a lot of people felt a calling to make things with their hands. What I like about buying Made in the USA is you have a greater chance of seeing and feeling how your money impacts the surrounding community.
3-You are in one of the Worlds Greatest Cities, near and dear to our hearts. How does living in and running J.Stark in Charleston affect your aesthetic and creative approach to design?
Our retail shop has been a great incubator for ideas and designs. So many people travel to our city and they have just been using a bag or luggage to get here. They will stop in the shop and tell us what's good or bad about it and then we can design from all the input we receive. It starts with function for us.
4-Your products are so well made and your “pride of authorship” clearly shows that, what is the one thing you’d like someone who buys a J.Stark bag or product to come away with?
When you buy from us you're getting something made by human hands and because of our size, if anything goes wrong you can reach out to us and get a human being on the phone. We're striving to improve our designs and craftsmanship every day. We and our staff take money we earn and spend a great deal of it on other US Made goods and small businesses.
5- Like us, you’re a true family business, what are the challenges/benefits of working together with your partner?
The greatest benefit of working with family is the incredible amount of trust you can have in them, which is important for a partner. The biggest challenge is making sure to incorporate staff into ideas and conversations that happen easily and naturally between family/partners.