Jesse Ducommun's Profile

About

http://www.guardedgoods.com to shop at Guarded Goods!

Guarded Goods was born out of a desire to learn and master a craft that would allow me to use my hands and creativity instead of spending my free time on the computer. My friends often talked about their hobbies (rock climbing, woodworking) and attempting to talk about "how cool gaming or graphic design were" paled in comparison. I wanted a tangible skill that I could learn and share the final product with other people. Making handmade goods is a significant time investment. Each item is hand cut, hand stitched, and finished with precise detail. My hands are my sewing machine. Each hole meticulously punched with a sharp awl and stitched with two needles and waxed thread. All edges are sanded and burnished by hand with natural beeswax. All patterns are designed in house on the computer and transferred to acrylic or cardboard. We have many…

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  • Male
  • Born on January 31
  • Joined May 2, 2013

Favorite materials

Leather, Raw Denim, Waxed Thread

About

http://www.guardedgoods.com to shop at Guarded Goods!

Guarded Goods was born out of a desire to learn and master a craft that would allow me to use my hands and creativity instead of spending my free time on the computer. My friends often talked about their hobbies (rock climbing, woodworking) and attempting to talk about "how cool gaming or graphic design were" paled in comparison. I wanted a tangible skill that I could learn and share the final product with other people. Making handmade goods is a significant time investment. Each item is hand cut, hand stitched, and finished with precise detail. My hands are my sewing machine. Each hole meticulously punched with a sharp awl and stitched with two needles and waxed thread. All edges are sanded and burnished by hand with natural beeswax. All patterns are designed in house on the computer and transferred to acrylic or cardboard. We have many designs finished but not enough space or funds to bring them to fruition. Many products could fill a huge gap for consumers.

My wife and I just moved into a new house. At the beginning of the leather journey, we were working out of single bedroom apartments taking up the entire family room with rolls of leather and hardware. Since moving to our new house, there is an official leather room dedicated to the craft. Though it is nice to have a dedicated room, it still isn't an ideal space. The room is currently packed with rolls of leather (about 50+), boxes of hardware, and boxes of designs and patterns. Most of the time is spent sitting at a cheap IKEA table covered in cutting mats. This is where a majority of the work is done cutting, stitching, and finishing each wallet, clutch, lanyard or watch strap. Though it isn't ideal, we make it work and are grateful for what we have. There are significant improvements we would like to make in terms of desks and storage.

Some people find their inspiration in ideals or things; I find my inspiration from the people in my life. My mother is crazy - I don't mean that in a bad way. Ever since I was little, my mother has been a "crafter". Not a hobby crafter but a "true" crafter. Her weekends were spent at craft shows and craft fairs. They're the people with the little white tents outside in the pouring rain hoping to get that last sale. When friends would ask me, "what does your mom do?", I would tell them, "she does craft shows". Their reaction was always either a laugh or a smile. I could tell they thought it was "cute" she did that. But they didn't understand. This woman would spend 16 hours a day in the basement of our home (all while being an amazing mother) making clothes (1990s), painting glass (2000s), and now making wedding jewelry. You don't do something for 16 hours a day if you're not passionate and dedicated. She is my inspiration.

My business is unique in that I do everything fully by hand. Many leatherworkers out there have cutting dies made to speed up the process. While these benefit in some areas, it hurts in others. These can cut out all the designs, curves and holes, but is also potentially reduces the longevity of the product. My aim is to create a product that will last for generations. I want a soon-to-be father to purchase one of my wallets and be able to pass it down to his son in forty years. Hand stitched products last a long time for a reason. There is an art to it. I pride myself in sourcing the best materials around and offering them at affordable prices to consumers. I love to interact with customers and get their feedback and ideas for future products. Custom projects are also a fun part of my job. It is fun to have a customer come to you with a rough sketch on a piece of paper and be able to deliver an end product that they're truly happy with.

There is more to "American Made" than just producing something in America (though that is significant and not to be taken lightly). To me, American Made is not only producing but sourcing as well. What good is a product if you're sourcing the leather from China? Why not FULLY support your local businesses? I pride myself in using leather from American Tanneries who have been around for 100+ years (Horween and Wickett & Craig). They are masters of their craft and deserve to have their products (leather) showcased around the world. In an era of buying cheap and buying often, I am a proponent of spending a little bit more but buying local or American made. All too often people become consumers of coupons and deals. What they don't realize is they're buying something that won't last. Invest in something that will last generations and costs double the price. I don't care if it isn't purchased from me, but support any business that is local or American made.

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