“I make stuff for people like me.”
I didn’t know quite what to expect as I made my way to the home of Eric Heins, the 23 year old wunderkind behind Corter Leather. I knew he was young, that he worked out of his bedroom, and that he had, over the latter half of the past year, established himself as the menswear blogeratti leathersmith of choice. And that was pretty much it. Upon entering his apartment, an airy duplex in a shoddy Victorian three-flat, I was greeted by one of his two hairless cats. “My roommate said there was no way she’d ever let a cat in the apartment, unless it was hairless. She didn’t know I was friends with a breeder,” he tells me with a smile. The cat pressed itself into my leg. I’d arrived.
“I make stuff for people like me. Literally,” says Hines as he hands me the first wallet he ever made: a crudely stitched, 3/4″ thick buttoned number, with a perfectly burnished patina. “I was in college and I wanted a wallet, but I couldn’t afford any of the stuff I was seeing on SuperFuture, so I made one myself.” The then undergrad (a design major, in case you’re curious), picked up most of the basics from a few online tutorials, and taught himself the rest. “I think it turned out pretty good,” he says while looking the wallet over. I agree with him.
Almost immediately after completing his first project, Heins found himself inundated with requests for similar items, both from friends, and from his fellow SuperFuture community members. Apparently, he wasn’t the only one on the hunt for an affordable, well-designed and sturdily crafted billfold. “It was all custom orders at first. One after another. I graduated college and just immediately started doing this.” And then, the blogs found him. “I never tried to sell myself. Never sought press. But suddenly I started getting all this attention. My wait time went from 3 to 4 weeks to a couple of months. I had to change from custom to stock items. It’s been great. Although, making 30 card holders in 30 days can be a bit repetitive.”
These days, Heins can barely find enough time to keep up with the demand. However, despite the increased notoriety, he remains committed to letting Corter develop organically. “I have to want to buy what I’m making, and I have to be able to afford it.” The longer I talk with him, the more apparent it becomes that, though young, and relatively inexperienced, he’s as adept with a needle, thread and hide, as he is with a small business. “I don’t want to bring in someone else. Yet.” He surveys his workspace / bedroom. “I like where I’m at now.” I look around the room. Once again, I agree with him.
To view the full Corter collection, visit Corter Leather.