Thalia Interview: Scott Goodman from Headlands Handmade
Posted on 02 July 2013
Enter Headlands Handmade. A new leather goods company based just south of our shop in Dana Point, CA.
TS - Tell us some background about Headlands Handmade, story behind the name, logo, leather?
SG - Headlands Handmade is currently a one-man-operation in Dana Point, California. When I named the brand it was important that it reference where the goods are made, as that, to me is one of the most important elements of any product. The main logo is of the point (or headlands) projecting into the ocean. However, the stamp that shows up on the products is a direct ode to the history of the area. Back in the ranching days of South Orange County, ranchers and traders would heave hides off the seaside cliffs to ships below for transport off to New England Craftsmen. In 1992, the sculptor F. Benedict Coleman made a beautiful bronze statue (the Hide Drogher) representing a sailor executing a perfect hide toss. The statue still stands tall atop the cliff at the end of Violet Lantern Street. The leather I use comes from two great American cities, Chicago and St.Louis. Horween tannery in Chicago has been using the same arduous process since 1905 and the leather they produce is among the finest in the world. Hermann Oak in St.Louis has been at it since 1880 and their commitment to quality is apparent in every hide they produce.
TS - What made you interested in leather goods?
SG - I like things that take time and things that last. It’s kind of like a crock pot… Have you ever woke up early and stuffed a bunch of goodies into a crock pot? Sure, the sun might set before it’s done, but you know when it finally is it will be the best meal you have all week. You also know that you will savor the shit out of every last bite to make it last. Leather goods take time to make, and when made well and with the best materials, they last.
TS - Are there any inspirations behind the brand? What about personal inspiration, where do you look when you need a creativity boost?
SG - There are so many brands I admire right now. The Russian River Brewing company in Northern California comes to mind at the moment. They developed a recipe for an extremely delicious IPA. People go nutty for this beer. The demand is unbelievably high, yet they still continue to stay true to the small batch nature of how they got their start. This allows them, I assume, to still continue to enjoy the process and to closely monitor quality. I love to paddle out at my local spot and just listen to the lineup of friends, neighbors and randoms’ holler and shout with joy when the waves are pumping. I like to fly down the line as fast as I can too. Just getting outside in some way always seems to help fill up the creativity tank.
TS - Music or no music when you're working? What are some tunes you've been getting into lately?
SG - I ditched my TV about 6 months ago and now I rely completely on a collection of old CD’s. From an almost-complete anthology of Tom Waits albums to various blues, punk and some Wu; my collection has its highs and lows. Recently I was turned onto this group called Project Trio and they kind of blew me away. They are a mix of classical and beat box. Yeah, one of the dudes makes crazy unique sounds with the flute while the other two are jamming away on the cello and double bass. It’s good to make stuff to.
TS - When you're not hand crafting wallets and carry items, what else takes up your time?
SG - I work full time for EPT Design, a Landscape Architecture firm in Irvine. I am surrounded by creative people and am lucky enough to discuss and consider spatial design on a daily basis. I enjoy the balance of the two crafts. The landscape projects I work on are awesome and take a good bit of time to complete, the leather offers a faster (though by no accounts speedy) way to see a finished product. I am also a little obsessed with keeping the moss on bonsai trees from dying, so I spend a fair amount of time tending to those needy little fellas.
SG - I honestly don’t know. I am sure there is some sort of sociological and economic explanation for why the Made in USA mentality is beginning to thrive. To me the success of it depends on community at every level. Quite a few months ago I met a fellow maker in Portland, a competitor really. This guy had been at it for a few years. I hesitantly started asking him questions about the business side of things and he opened right up to me. He looked beyond the potential competition and just wanted to help me out with some advice. For me, that was just a beautiful demonstration of a thriving community. When the community is scratching each other’s back and looking out then good things happen. Additionally, I just think people are more conscious of where their goods and food are coming from these days. I am hopeful that collective consciousness is only evolving deeper and therefore becoming a standard.