In the last decade, dozens of homegrown leather brands have sprung up across the States. Whether it’s a garage project or a kickstarter venture, we’re swimming in handcrafted leather goods—and that’s not a bad thing.
But one of those brands that earned its stripes and emerged as one of the leading artisan leather good brands in the states is Corter Leather & Cloth. Based in a solar-powered studio in Cape Cod, Corter has been in the game for over a decade now and shows no sign of slowing down.
With leather goods being a pillar of the kind of quality product we champion here at Heddels, we’re taking a moment to unpack Corter Leather and how they gained their foot in the leather goods industry.
Corter’s History & Philosophy
Corter Leather & Cloth started in founder Eric Heins’dorm room in 2007. Eric couldn’t afford to proxy a quality made wallet from influential Japanese leather brand Red Moon, so he decided to make one himself. Enrolled in College at the time, Eric posted his handcrafted wallet on the Internet forum Superfuture (the name Corter coming from Eric’s handle on Superfuture) and there began the demand for his handiwork, the Japanese-inspired style of which few others in the States were producing at the time.
Since 2007, the brand’s growth has afforded the addition of a new team member to Corter, Kayleena. Corter’s philosophy lies in the making of good-looking, affordable, and functional goods that last a long time. Corter’s products being made with longevity in mind, they’ve taken design inspiration from Japanese leathercraft brands like Red Moon but added their own personal touches that set them apart. The result is mostly neutral in appearance, without too many visible logos, which let the leather and construction do the talking. But you can find the brand’s signature crossed fish-hook logo on many of Corter’s leather goods that are detailed with metal hardware.
Everything outside of their cast metal offerings is made by hand, all leather goods are hand-sewn, never utilizing sewing machines. The brand predominantly utilizes leathers from Wicket & Craig and Hermann Oak.
Outside of their line of leather and metal goods, Corter has a popular YouTube channel, with over 400,000 subscribers at the time of this writing. Prior to the launch of their video platform, Corter was offering leather patterns for those interested in the craft. Sharing knowledge and making leathercraft more accessible has been a mainstay of the brand, the content they provide sheds insight into design and crafting techniques that didn’t exist, or was extremely uncommon, in video format a decade ago.
Corter’s two-person brand currently operates out of a solar-powered studio in Cape Cod, Massachusettes. Corter has pivoted course multiple times over their lifespan, with the addition of cast metal goods and the creation of their YouTube channel, but their integrity, aesthetic, and overall product line hasn’t changed much in 13 years.
Corter has begun production on leatherworking tools, like a cast metal hammer made for hammering down stitches on leather goods, as well as some Corter-branded awls, and a brass Exacto blade holder. Offering these tools in tandem with their educational videos, and their own leather goods, Corter’s future may be cemented as the premiere North American leather craft authority.
Corter’s Iconic Products
One of Corter’s most popular products is their patented Bottlehook, a bottle-opening key hook that can be worn on a belt loop, paired with a leather lanyard, or attached to a set of keys. The Bottlehook helped Corter stand out from other smaller leather brands because of it’s uniqueness, in part because it’s outside their usual offerings that are crafted from leather. It was a glimpse into the future of Corter’s design potential, being in line with the brand’s functional aesthetic, the Bottlehook was a creative step forward.
Currently Sold Out at Corter
The Corter Snap Wallet was Eric’s original creation and the product that started his journey into leathercraft when he originally promoted it on Superfuture in 2007. There’s a debt to Japanese style ‘short’ snap wallets here, with the use of a cast metal concho button, plenty of pockets for cards, and oversized bills (like Japanese yen), all sewn by hand.
Available at Corter for $125