It's not a mystery to understand why we've been carrying leather goods from Loyal Stricklin in the shop since our doors first opened. They've got all the qualities we look for in a brand: a commitment to the careful selection of their materials, a steadfast attention to detail and thoughtfully designed products that are both authentic and stylish.
Michael from Loyal Stricklin is a true american craftsman and artist. He says it best with one of our favorite excerpts from his site: "The maker movement is just so real, so tangible. You're not just buying a wallet, or a candle, or a mug; you're buying into someone's passions, their dream, their livelihood. It's as if you get a glimpse into a part of their day--through their eyes--where they spent hours looking over and shaping the same piece that you now hold in your hands. That same care and attention will rest loyally in your hands, in your pocket, and in use for years to come. There's a beauty and a warmth to it that just isn't possible with your normal big box store purchase. Even if you decide not to purchase from us, we hope that you will purchase with a purpose from makers, from artists, and from average Joe's just chasing their dreams and living life by their own terms."
What is home to you?
Michael: Home used to be a certain place for me, but these days it’s wherever my wife and dog are. If I have those two, then I have most everything I need.
How does your environment impact your craft?
Michael: It rains a lot in Alabama, but mostly in heavy spurts that last 20 or 30 minutes at a time. We use a lot of water resistant materials because of this, from thick leathers to waxed canvas. No one likes having their stuff get soaked inside their bag, so it’s important to us that our gear provides some protection from the elements.
How did you get your start? Who are your mentors?
Michael: I got started toward the end of college, making wallets out of my bedroom. I have Bachelors of Architecture and a Master’s in Integrated Design and Construction from Auburn University, and both of those degrees helped hone my design skills. I grew it from there, expanding as I could afford to. I wouldn’t really say I have any mentors, but I do have some great friends that are small business owners as well. Jake over at Great Bear Wax Co. is one of my goods friends, and he’s always great to talk with about business and life when it’s time to get some new perspective.
How would you describe your personal style?
Michael: I’m pretty simple when it comes to style. I rotate a couple pairs of jeans, go back and forth between my red wings and desert boots, and can usually be found in a t-shirt or henley. I love a good jacket, so if it’s cold enough to wear one, you can bet I’ll have one on.
House is burning down, what’s the one item do you grab?
Michael: My Moss Rucksack. It keeps my journal, computer, camera, and some good pens. We have tornado threats a couple times a year here, and I always grab that bag when we have to hunker down.
If we were in your hometown for one day, how should we spend it?
Michael: I’d start the day at Sidetrack Coffee, head over to our storefront, then make my way to Chewable State park for some hiking by the waterfall. After that, I’d head out about 25 minutes into the countryside and get some ribs and BBQ from Turn Baby Turn, a package store and hole-in-the-wall BBQ joint with sauce as vibrant as the owners. From then on, I’d go kayaking at Lake Martin for the afternoon, and finish the day off with a steak at the restaurant Acre in downtown Auburn, where they grow their own vegetables in the garden right in the parking lot. After that, I’d head over to John Emerald Distillery next to our workshop, where they just started making the first legal Alabama Whiskey since prohibition.
Where is Loyal Stricklin headed next? What new projects/products can we look for to?
Michael: I’m slowly moving off production myself, so as I have time to create more new stuff, you can bet you’ll be seeing a lot of new things from us. Production really robs my creative energy, so it’s time to hand over some of the reigns and start making rounding out the details of our lineup and brand.