419
7 min 4 sec

Lifestyle Change Leads Two Brothers to Open Leather Shop

When health issues end a construction career for one of them, two Canadian brothers start an online leather shop selling high-quality goods.
Arts & Crafts Family International Product

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What It's About

Two brothers find side hustle success in a leather shop.

Business Model
Product
Skills Required
Leather Working & Sales
Complexity
Medium
Profit Potential
Medium

Words of Wisdom

Sometimes side hustles serve a deeper purpose than just making money. In this case, it allows Luke to work in a peaceful setting with his brother, who he says is his best friend, and it gives Jake a chance to work with his hands at his own pace and energy level. Luke uses his artistic side and Jake uses his construction skills. Maybe it’s also a reminder that if you experience a challenge, ask yourself is there an opportunity here as well? That’s what the Goodridge brothers found in their small town in Ontario, Canada.

Fun Fact

One challenge in selling grain is competing against people selling cheap leather belts. Some $10 belts say “genuine leather,” which is actually a low grade of leather. Old Country Leather is full grain leather, which is much stronger and lasts much longer. They expect their belts last for 20 years, whereas the cheap belts crack and peel and last a year if that. Luke and Jake start right from the cowhides and cut and dye themselves, so their products are much higher quality. Educating people about “genuine leather” and how people are being misled is an uphill battle.

Notes from Chris

Episode 419

Today’s story comes from Luke and Jake Goodridge in Ontario, Canada. Luke works in retail, a job that comes with inconsistent hours. For a number of years his older brother Jake had a small construction business, but due to health problems, he had to stop. Jake didn’t want to stop working with his hands… but also wasn’t sure what he could do.

It was Luke who had the idea to start a leather shop making custom leather dog collars, personalized camera straps, and belts. They also sell dog leashes, knife sheaths, keychains, book covers, and guitar straps (basically “all things leather accessory-wise”).

They called it Old Country Leather, and opening it up allowed Jake to work at his own pace and energy levels, still using his hands, but without having to do any heavy lifting.

Luke and Jake had both noticed that the items they’d seen in stores were low quality, and options were limited, so they already had an idea of what they wanted to do differently.

Old Country Leather started by selling to friends and families, which was a good way to get honest feedback and iterate. Then they sold at a local market, which was promising—they made $1,000 in a weekend. However, the Goodridge brothers live in a rural area, so that market is only open once a year. They knew they’d have to rely on online sales if they wanted to have any chance at making a sustainable profit.

And they’re on track for that, currently averaging around $1,500/month. So far, they’re investing much of that money in equipment that will help them produce more quickly without cutting corners on quality.



MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

  • Old Country Leather: If customized leather accessories are your bag, check out Luke and Jakes' website!
SEE ALSO:

Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,

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Resources

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Quote of the Day
"We enjoy the fact that we make our items from scratch. We could order things premade and then just put a twist on it or make a tag up for it, but you have to have some pride in your work and feel good about what you do even if you don’t make as much money as you could."
—Luke Goodridge #SideHustleSchool

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To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau