Posted on October 15 2018
This blog correlates with our current sale, and you know what that means don’t you? Yep, another history blog!! Aren’t y’all just some lucky little ducks getting to read all of my history term papers!
This time, I didn’t have to dig very far, and frankly none of my history books even mention Leather & Cotton FOR SOME REASON. (Lookin’ at you Scholastic) While we might not be in the books…yet… We are super excited to celebrate our 5th anniversary. Wow, time sure flies doesn’t it? It feels like just yesterday our company was just a little online shop, and now we’re a fully functional Corporation? How did this happen? I think this might be the closest any of us working at L&C will come to watching our child grow up in front of our eyes. Honestly I’m getting weepy just thinking about it. Anyway, back to the history.
Happy Birthday Leather and Cotton!
In a year long long ago (2013) our fearless leader, Jeremy Lipzinski, was but a humble college student who made his money by working at a summer camp in West Michigan. Now I don’t know if y’all know much about working for a camp, but let me tell you, it’s the best job you’ll ever have for the lowest amount you’ll ever be paid. ( I was there though, so obviously the experience was truly priceless). So, there he was, half way through his second year of college starting to run low on funds. Selling plasma twice a week just to make some money for beer wasn’t cutting it anymore. What’s a guy to do? Most college students would probably hunt down a part time job, but Jeremy, being the entrepreneur he is, simply created his own part time job.
Jeremy has always prided himself on his good looks and sense of style, so he thought why not share that style with the world? He wanted to be able to sell top quality bold men’s fashion. And thus Leather and Cotton was born! From there he spent all of his free time on the website, curating products, and interviewing vendors in China. Since there’s a 12 hour time difference between Central Michigan University and China Jeremy would often be up until 3 or 4 am talking with the business owners in China to develop the partnerships we have now. He would then stay up even later (or earlier I guess since usually the sun was out by the time he finished) working on homework.
After almost a year of sleepless nights, and having yet to make any kind of profit, Jeremy decided to take the biggest leap of faith of his life. He left school to pursue this business full time. In October 2013 Leather & Cotton was an official business with all of our hopes and dreams riding on it’s back.
In typical entrepreneur spirit Jeremy then left his life long home state and headed out to California to learn from the best and brightest. He spent all of his time as he could learning from the experiences of other business owners to avoid any mis-steps in growing the business. He soaked up knowledge like it was the west coast sunshine that was all around him.
Don’t get me wrong, it sounds all fine and dandy and effortless, but it was work, hard work. But Jeremy was willing to risk it all for his business. There were quite a few issues at first. With figuring out the most efficient way to communicate with suppliers to finding the best shipping routes. For the first two years, due to sales laws, we were unable to send anything to the entire state of Washington. Our suppliers would run out of inventory and forget to tell us, resulting in a large number of unfillable orders and refunds.
Some hurdles seemed impossible to overcome and the anxiety was insurmountable. Jeremy kept pushing though. He refused to give up, and is grateful for the customers that didn’t give up on the company.
In a discussion I recently had with Jeremy he said “ I can’t express how grateful I am to the first few customers that took a chance on us, they were the motivation and foundation of what we have today.”
With in the last 5 years our team has grown and we’ve all spent countless hours solving as many problems as possible while also creating a brand that connects with people. Now, we get to serve a number of customers none of us ever thought was possible. We’ve had the chance to create jobs for people in our community. People, like us, that value quality, arts, and connecting with the world at large.
Before I sign off I want to leave you with one final message from Jeremy.
“I am often so humbled that a company I started to help pay for groceries is able to have such an influence. I am incredibly grateful to all of the people who have helped along the way, and for all opportunities to come.”
There it is folks, the incomplete history of Leather and Cotton. From where we started to where we are and where we are going, we have no one else to thank but you. YOU are what makes us great. Thanks for living the wild side of life with us.
See you in the concrete jungle.