I started crafting small leather goods for one reason: so that I would own items that I care about. I started selling my handmade goods so that others might do the same. If that’s all that I’d done, I would have enjoyed the process. What I didn’t know when I started is that these small leather items offered more than mere enjoyment.
In the process of crafting and selling leather goods, I found—through both my own experience and conversations with customers—that owning small things we genuinely care about leads us to a greater care for all the materials in our lives. Thoughtful, well-chosen items can change us. They can, in a real sense, be an essential part of developing a well-crafted life.
While I’m no materialist (whatever that might mean), it’s pretty clear that I believe that materials matter, that a physical object carries meaning and significance. What it means—and how it changes us—depends on whether it’s well-crafted, whether it follows this journey, which is my goal for every Benchkraft item:
The materials are chosen and crafted with wisdom and care.
It functions well and quietly.
We grow fond of it.
It is, thus, not easily replaced.
I don’t mean to romanticize the act of making something and receiving fair value for it, but I believe in this approach: I’m selling handcrafted leather goods, but I’m also using Benchkraft as an invitation, the best means at my disposal for inviting you and others I’ve never met to share in this incredibly worthwhile journey, this experience of learning to live a well-crafted life.
I hope that you’ll join me, whether by getting in touch to ask me about the right Benchkraft goods for your lifestyle, following me on my own journey, or by ordering your first Benchkraft item. If you do order, I hope that when it arrives, you’ll touch the seam and the stitch, smell the smells, and enjoy its use. But more than that, I hope that it contributes to changing the way you think about all the materials in your life both now and for decades to come.
Everything I make is guaranteed for life. I mean that from the standpoint of workmanship (I rigorously field test every item I sell to ensure that it stands up to everyday use), but I also mean, just as importantly, that everything I make is “for life,” created to enhance life—this one shot we have at making the best of things.
Jon Baker lives in Boulder, Colorado with his wife, Polly, and two kids, Mae and Jude.