Detroit Couple Break into City’s Leather Goods Scene

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Two Detroiters are breaking into the leather goods market — offering limited, exclusive items — with the upcoming launch of Douglas & Co. Detroit.

“We allow our inspiration to lead us to behind the scenes of each product, which is really more than a product — it’s a process,” says Shane Douglas, a leatherworker who founded the company with his wife, Melissa. “Since we work in small production, we are constantly creating with intent.” The couple plans to limit production of each item to 20 or less.

The couple will unveil their handcrafted products during a preview party Nov. 22 at Nora Modern, 4240 Cass Ave. in Detroit, as well as online at douglasandcodetroit.com. Priced from $45 to $150, the lineup includes bags, card-holders, and clutches, each paired with a certificate of authenticity signifying its series number and quantity in that run.

The company will also sell small gift items, including keychain holders and coasters.

“Our goal is to partner with other businesses, where we will create a limited series and sell it exclusive to (a given) store,” says Melissa, who also owns Melissa Douglas Art Studio in Detroit. “We don’t want to sell the same products in stores that we sell on our website. We want to encourage our customers to shop locally rather than just buying it through us.”

The couple currently rents studio space in a residential area within Milwaukee Junction, where Shane handles everything from cutting and stitching to packaging. Each product is made from varying colors of cowhide that have already gone through the tanning process.

As far as the business’ audience, Melissa says each product is designed to be used by both men and women. “My husband carries the bag, and gets compliments on it all of the time,” she says.

In time, they hope to add more employees. “We’d like to teach people how to sew and work with leather as we grow the company. But it all depends on the demand,” Melissa says.

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