TOURS // Noah Marion Quality Goods

Weathered hammers and chisels. Raw cotton bolls. A glowing neon sign. A slightly rusted tin first aid kit. The shop floor near the entrance of Noah Marion Quality Goods is decorated with thoughtfully composed vintage relics. Working your way from the entrance to the back of the space, Noah Marion’s store becomes a working studio. Decorative nods to an earlier era are replaced by functional (albeit old-fashioned) leatherworking implements. Noah Marion’s process is a traditional one, with the tools to match.

Noah Marion began working with leather in 2006, after inheriting a sewing machine from his father. In the years following, he experimented with different products, raw materials, and even modes of commerce. (For a while, wallets and bags were priced on a ‘pay what you will’ basis). Since those first adventures with the inherited sewing machine and flexible pricing, Marion has refined his craft, built a brand, and grown a business. Noah launched his website in 2011, and this year opened his first brick and mortar store.

All of Marion’s wares are hand made in this South Lamar studio, using mostly undyed natural vegetable tanned leather. The finished products? Timeless, high quality leather goods to last you a lifetime.

“It’s important to stick to your principles,” says Marion of building a brand, adding that it’s crucial to be “honest, open, and genuine about what you’re doing.” By all indications, Marion’s brand reflects his principles, particularly a reverence for simplicity and craft. Even the name—Noah Marion Quality Goods—reflects this passion.

Noble intentions aside though, it’s not as if the work is easy. “It’s really fucking hard work to be a leatherworker,” says Marion. Indeed the day-to-day labor of his business is not insignificant, particularly given the focus on traditional craft. I was surprised to learn that the amount of hand strength required precludes some would-be assistants from being hired. (It’s doubtful I’d make the cut- I struggle with opening pickle jars.) The physical demands of the job even put a limit on how long Marion himself can do the work. Already, issues with hand pain suggest an expiration date on his tenure as a bench craftsman.

Luckily for Marion, he’s already thinking ahead, knowing that his brain will certainly outlast his hands. He’s aiming to create not just fine leather pieces, but a lifestyle brand, even multiple shops someday. And it would appear that he’s right on track—his current location, part of the newly opened Work collective, draws in new customers and old fans alike.
Marion himself was the driving force behind Work, completely remodeling the space that now houses a women’s mercantile, a digital agency, and the leather shop. The name was chosen to “reacclimate people to the concept of work as a positive thing, not negative.”

The spacious, bright space is the perfect place for Marion to pursue his passion: creating quality goods from great materials to be cherished. When I asked him what his favorite part of being a maker was, he gestured to the studio. “There are thousands of dollars worth of merchandise in those rolls of leather. Making those into finished, usable products is the best part."

You can visit Noah Marion Quality Leather goods at 2053 S. Lamar Blvd., Austin, TX 78704, or shop online.

No comments:

Post a Comment