Awl Made Here was born on a whim and a “why not”…twenty + years ago. At its start, Awl Made Here was a small shop next to Skinny Legs Bar & Grill on the tiny island of St. John in the US Virgin Islands. In the very beginning, it resembled a food wagon more than it did a storefront. It was actually a quick add-on to the side of a building (thanks Doug & Moe!) – long and narrow with a small door on the side and a big lift-up shutter along the front wall (see pics below). Hard to believe, but I opened with only a single belt and a few bracelets to sell. My first customers were gracious & encouraging though. I remember one of them ordering what would be my first custom made wallet. Upon completion, so gently did the customer tell me that the dollars didn’t fit in! Believe it or not, he insisted on keeping it as it was, telling me “just make the next wallets longer, that’s all.” Thank you, kind sir, from so long ago.
Back then, it was mostly “how to” pamphlets & books and figuring things out as I went along...these were the pre-world wide web days so there was no looking up info online (can you imagine?!). Gradually, as I worked with my growing number of tools, and played with different hides, I learned how to make things “the right way” and gained respect for leather in general.
Eventually I acquired an old Singer sewing machine; one of my most cherished belongings still. Needless to say, it changed my leather working world! Amazing that in our current state of computer everything, I can still depend on a machine made in 1924. I must admit, I have Singer-LOVE!
Once the shop closed (in 2011), Awl Made Here moved forward in life... There was a much needed website created, a "store on wheels" for a short time, a relocation to North Carolina, and now: outdoor markets & festivals, wholesaling & consigning in stores, online orders, custom orders, and as of March 2020 I have a small store inside another store in Southport, NC...The Painted Mermaid!
CHEERS to everyone that have helped to keep Awl Made Here alive!
AWL MADE HERE AT IT'S START, St John USVI: 1994