We had the good fortune of connecting with Jordon Brockman and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jordon, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
Until recently, I spent all my adult life working as a professional stage manager. In that position my job was to support those that create the art. It was an extremely satisfying job for me, and very important to that business, but there is not a lot of artistic input. As I got more and more involved in creating art of my own, in the form of my leather goods, I felt a growing desire to share that with the world, to put my art out there and see how the world reacts to it, to see if I could bring both some function and some beauty to people’s lives in some small way.
As my desire to share with the world was growing, the world was also changing around me. COVID was not good for those of us that worked in the entertainment world, my 17 years career dissolved in front of my eyes over a matter of weeks. The pandemic also showed me how exploitative our corporate work culture has become. I decided I no longer wanted to support that culture. I decided to pursue my small business full time and see if I could accomplish my goals on my own terms. I’ll never change the world, but as my business has grown and as it (hopefully) continues to grow, I am committed to actions and decisions that support the way I want the world to be. I can’t fix everything, but I can do this.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
About 5 years ago my wife and I were going to attend a costume event and I wanted to make a simple costume piece to wear. I first tried to make that item out of synthetic materials, thinking that leather was simply out of reach of my budget and my skill set. It was a disaster. I decided to give it a go using leather and the appropriate tools and techniques; once again, my wife was supportive of this endeavor. I completed that project and enjoyed it so much I had to pick another, then another. Pretty soon I was making gifts for friends and family, next thing I know those same friends and family and colleagues were asking me for stuff and offering to pay me for them. With each challenge overcome, with each little victory in the form of a sale or a beautiful gift, this craft just worked deeper into my soul.
Pretty soon I started mentioning to my wife and close friends that I was thinking about starting a business, the response was, “go for it!”, but it took a long time for me to summon the courage to just go for it. Getting over that initial fear, that voice in my head telling me “you’re not ready, this won’t work, you’ll fail,” was by far the greatest challenge. Overcoming that challenge taught me the most important thing I’ve learned in this entire endeavor: you have to believe. You have to believe that you can and will be successful, and you have to believe it bone deep. There will be setbacks, it won’t be easy, and there will be struggles, but as long as I keep coming back to that belief, I have continued to find success.
To any other aspiring artist or craftsperson, I would offer this advice: Believe not only in your success, but in your product, in your art. Express what is in your own heart and soul and people will respond to it. It’s true that I strive to sell my products and achieve some financial success, but that only comes after the craftsmanship. At the end of the day, what truly matters is that I can look at what I’ve done that day and be happy with it. Putting myself into every item I create and then letting people judge and examine it is terrifying, it’s like giving total strangers a tiny peak behind the curtain to see what really makes me tick (at least that’s how it feels to me!), but ultimately, the payback is worth it; I am truly a happier person, a better person for it.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Oh gosh, I am NOT the one to ask about the best time ever! My idea of a good time, especially when visiting with friends, is to fire up the grill and just relax in the backyard with some good food, good bourbon (either Knob Creek or Rebecca Creek if I can get it) and a good cigar. My wife and I strive to make our home a place of comfort, safety, and peace to those that visit us. Alternatively, if my friends just have to force this introvert to go out, I like a good patio and a good burger. Any place we can watch the world and the people in it go by.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would not be where I am now without the unfailing support of my wife. She works long hours at a demanding job and yet she always manages to find the time and energy to support me. When I feel like giving up, she is there telling me it’s not as bad as it seems. When I don’t seem to have the energy to go that extra mile, she is there reminding me of my goals, encouraging me to be the craftsman I strive to be. She is right there with me on her precious days off, working alongside me. I could not ask for a better companion along this journey.