"Buy good things, own them a long time." This napkin wisdom is borrowed from the internets, but it's message is sound and is the basis of my philosophy. Today's "buy it cheap then throw it away" consumer environment is unsustainable and largely irresponsible. Do your research, find something that suits your needs and is well made, pay a fair price for it and be rewarded by years of happy use. Support your local independent craftsman over a big box retailer and search out unique and well made items.
While I believe that “the best things in life aren’t things,” the things that you do need should be pleasurable to use and pleasurable to look at: simple, functional, durable and beautiful. I have an obsessive attention to detail and desire for perfection. I put a high value on items that are designed elegantly and simply and executed to the highest standards.
For example, my wristwatch. Damasko is a small watch company in Germany that makes beautiful mechanical wristwatches from bombproof materials with a functional, clear aesthetic and a crazy desire for perfection. The dial is a masterclass in elegant, functional simplicity and is simply a joy to look at. As with any well-made product, it costs a bit more than your average wristwatch, but you surely get what you pay for. I saved my pennies for months and months to be able to afford this high quality timepiece and now I have owned my Damasko DA36 for more than 7 years. To this day, each glance at my wrist results in a wave of giddy appreciation of the beauty of the dial and the time-defying condition of the case - hardly a scratch.
Simple, functional, durable and beautiful. These are the benchmarks I use not just for the things I buy but these are also the ideals for all the products I make.
Durability is especially important for a “carry good” because as it ages the object grows in value and develops a story of its own. It travels with us and bears witness to the passage of time and to our unique experiences. Consider your childhood stuffed animal, now worn and discolored, or your grandfather’s weathered pocket watch. Time and use have transformed what was once a simple item into an heirloom, steeped in profound memories and tales of adventure. In my eyes, these things are priceless and irreplaceable. A well made product will survive to a storied old age, whereas so much of the disposable goods that populate our lives are soon and easily forgotten.
I put a high value on craftsmanship. For an example, consider Peter Limmer, Jr. Pete makes custom fit leather hiking boots in the White Mountains of New Hampshire using the same methods that his grandfather developed a lifetime ago as a shoemaker in Europe. His father patented the first leather ski boot in the U.S., and Pete's boots are known around the globe. Postcards from happy customers plaster the walls of the shop, some dating as far back as the early 1900s. Pete, himself, hand stretches each piece of leather over the last and executes every step in the boot making process. His boots routinely last 20 years or more.
I have great respect for people still investing this sort of time and expertise into their craft, and I strive to do the same. Sure, you'll pay a little more for a handmade, high-quality product than you would for something that is mass produced by a machine or an under paid laborer--but in return you receive a unique one-of-a-kind item made by someone else's hands, their years of accumulated experience and a boatload of elbow grease. To me this is priceless, and why I take pride in personally handcrafting my products.
There is no substitute for superior quality raw materials. My leathers are supplied by two U.S. tanneries: Horween, tanning superior leather since 1905 in Chicago and Hermann Oak, tanning in St. Louis since 1881. I use top quality thread made in Maine. Whenever possible I source materials from within the United States. I don’t use a sewing machine because traditional hand stitching is superior in strength and durability (not to mention more elegant and beautiful). I make my products with love and by hand and I believe that makes my products special.
The One Star team includes myself, my wife and three of our friends. We work out of our garage in Los Angeles and ship leather goods all over the world. I was born in Madison and raised in Boston, I attended Middlebury College in Vermont and moved to Los Angeles to make movies. Between making wallets I still write and direct: see some of that here.