Spotlight by Nick Woolley
Venice Beach in 1981 was home to the beginning of one of the West Coast's premier leather goods companies. But the story may not start how you think.
Yes, the story of Will Leather is one of ingenuity, a piece of the ‘American Dream’, and a company who lives up to it's name. Started by Bill Adler in 2004, the leather goods company quickly took off. Having designed and developed products for the likes of Levi’s and Calvin Klein, to name a few, Adler directed his experience toward producing his own vision. Now with a homestead store located in Portland's Union Way shopping center, we went to visit the burgeoning goods retailer.
Straddling the Union Way breeze-way, the unique storefront entrance is marked with an oversized, worn leather arm chair. The smells of leather and coffee linger while one browses through everything from backpacks and wallets to hats, and even beautifully stained leather soccer balls. The craftsmanship is evident, and is only outdone by the ever present desire to continue pushing the creative boundaries. Don't believe us? They even have their own coffee now...
In all seriousness though, the Adler family has not only made a commitment of producing fine leather goods, but also a commitment to give back to their community as well. In 2013 Will Leather started a Backpack Donation Initiative for children in need and has given thousands of backpacks to date. On their website, they state that they aim to give over 500,000 in total, in an effort to support underfunded elementary school students across the country.
Originating in the small town of Eugene, Oregon, Will Leather has made a national impact, both on the retail sector and on the upcoming generation. What started on a boardwalk as a dream, has become the story that keeps on giving.
1022 W Burnside St. Portland, OR. 97209