For this week’s blogpost, we would like to highlight a wonderful local business: Feather Leather Designs! Feather Leather Designs creates beautiful jewelry made of leather and cork that have been carefully sourced from USA suppliers. The company also offers an “Upcycled Leather” jewelry collection, called RE:PURPOSE, which utilizes leather remnants from another Cleveland-based company (and fellow Drink Local. Drink Tap. supporter!) FOUNT. Feather Leather Designs generously donates 20% of RE:PURPOSE sales to Drink Local. Drink Tap. to support our important work in Cleveland and Uganda!
The following interview was with Mary Beth Holdford, co-founder and partner of Feather Leather
Designs. Mary Beth, along with her sister, Kelly Gaydosh, and their mom, Carol Herb, launched
Feather Leather Designs in November 2018, creating lightweight, stylish, and affordable leather
and cork earrings for everyday women and everyday life.
DLDT: What inspired you to start Feather Leather Designs?
MBH: I always had an entrepreneurial spirit and created more business plans than I can count. A
successful, 20-year career in corporate communications kept me busy, but I just couldn’t ignore
the desire to do my own thing someday. In 2018, I purchased a pair of leather earrings while
shopping with my mom, Carol, and my sister, Kelly. All three of us loved the concept of wearing
large statement earrings that didn’t pull on our already split lobes. However, both my mom and
sister passed on the purchase due to the high price point. This troubled me, and I felt strongly
that every woman should be able to say yes to purchasing something that is life changing. I took
it from there – researching, making prototypes and developing a business plan, which I
presented to my mom and sister. Feather Leather Designs (FLD) launched on Kelly’s birthday,
November 30, 2018. FLD’s brand promise is to create lightweight, stylish, and affordable
earrings that deliver both comfort and impact for life’s biggest moments and everyday life.
DLDT: How did you get involved with Drink Local. Drink Tap.?
MBH: We loved the idea of repurposing leather scraps from local companies and reached out to
FOUNT’s co-founder, Jackie Wachter, who is related to one of our friends and loyal customers.
We offered to purchase discounted scrap leather in exchange for a portion of our product sales
to benefit a nonprofit partner of FOUNT’s choice. Jackie didn’t blink and was immediately
supportive of the idea, asking that we partner with Drink Local. Drink Tap. Since 2019, we have
donated 20% of all RE:PURPOSE collection sales to DLDT. It’s been a great partnership, and
we are so proud to support the important work of Erin and the DLDT team!
DLDT: What inspired your RE:PURPOSE line, and why was it important to you to use upcycled
MBH: I was cleaning out things I had accumulated during some home projects and came across
swatches of leather that a store had given to me. I hated to toss such beautiful remnants, so we
used the scraps to create earrings. That sparked the idea of expanding our supply chain from
USA-based suppliers of leather and cork sheets, to include local companies that work with
leather, like FOUNT, and might have remnants available for purchase. Thus, the RE:PURPOSE
collection was born. We are very proud of our efforts to recycle material into new life and reduce
waste, while supporting and promoting other incredible businesses and giving back to important
DLDT: Where can people find your jewelry for sale?
MBH: All of our earrings are available for purchase at the Feather Leather Designs website. You can also
follow Feather Leather Designs on Facebook and Instagram. Pre-COVID, FLD was very active
in the local maker community, and events were a huge part of our growth strategy. However, we
put those events on hold until further notice. We cannot wait to get back into our local
communities to showcase our products, see our customers, and meet new friends!
DLDT: Is there anything else you would like to share?
MBH: COVID has impacted so many individuals, families, businesses, and programs. Because of the
love and support from our customers – who still loved wearing and gifting our earrings during a
pandemic! – we are still here, and perhaps stronger than before. We encourage Clevelanders to
shop small and local when able. We are also expanding our product offerings to include some
new items that will appeal to an even broader audience. Stay tuned!