You know that group of friends that sits around a fire talking about how cool it would be to start a business and work together every day…only to go home at the end of the night and wake up the next day stuck in the same routine? That group of friends was us. Until one night in 2014 when we decided to change that.
At American Bench Craft we are a team of family and friends that, since high school, dreamt of finding a job that offered adventure, fulfillment, and passion all rolled into one. We went to college, earned degrees, and spent our 20’s running in a million different directions pursuing this ideal. We worked desk jobs, pursued film production, joined the military, joined the merchant marines and traveled the world. Despite all this, we still found ourselves searching for more.
That all changed in 2014 when we started American Bench Craft with a simple leather wallet and began building our American Dream.
In 2013, my brother Chris and I were working tiresome office jobs, and both of us wanted out. So, when Chris came up with an idea for a local web design business I was in, despite the fact that all I knew about computers was how to turn them on and off.
We both quit our jobs, and as you can imagine, our wives were “thrilled”. About a month into that venture, Chris realized I wasn’t kidding about my lack of computer skills, and we agreed we needed to find something different.
My wallet had recently fallen apart at the seams, and I came up with an idea for a seamless leather wallet that used rivets instead of thread stitching. I pitched it to Chris and he jumped at the opportunity to start a new business that I could actually contribute to.
We created a Kickstarter campaign, launched in March of 2014, sold over $20K in wallets in 30 days, and we were off and running. Next came a website, a few wholesalers, and we had an actual business…well sort of. We weren’t making any money and we were operating out of our parents’ garage, but it was ours.
Fortunately, we survived the winter of 2015 in our unheated “office space”, but our landlords (mom and dad) were growing tired of parking their cars on the street. That spring, we moved the shop to a basement office in downtown Reading, MA where we continued to grow.
In 2017, one of our best friends Eric, a Merchant Marine, was home on leave for a few months. Chris and I knew we needed help, so we put together our best pitch and it went something like this:
“Hey Eric, you should come work with us at American Bench Craft. We have a claustrophobic workshop in the basement of an office building, with dim lighting, no windows, and a town meter maid that finds every reason under the sun to give us parking tickets. We work 80 hours a week and make less than unpaid interns. What do you say?”
He was sold. He joined the company, took over sales, and picked up a few of our biggest clients in his first 3 months. By June of that year, we outgrew our dungeon office and moved the shop to a much larger space in Wilmington, MA.
Today, we continue to operate out of that space and our team and customer family continues to grow.
In the end, American Bench Craft, is a team of brothers, family and friends who have talked about owning a business together since high school. We now own a company where everyday we get to show up and be creative, solve problems, and work with our hands. We make products we need or want, and then we put them to the test with everyday use. Whether on our daily commute to the shop, a quick trip to the lake, or a trek along the southern coast of Iceland, our products get us outside living life and doing the stuff we love.
We were our first “customers.” Then we sold to family and friends. Then they told their family and friends, and slowly the word spread. Before we knew it, we had a small business built off the support and word of mouth of our loyal customers. Our products have been sold all over the world to customers ranging from urban professionals, to seasoned hunting guides, and everything in between.
We are now and have always been so thankful to every customer that joins the American Bench Craft family.
Shop American Bench Craft Products at the Summit General Store.