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March 16, 2017

 

International traveler, leather virtuoso, philanthropist and entrepreneurial innovator Will Adler dared to dream big. During the past two decades, the Jewish CEO and founder of Will Leather Goods has brought those dreams to fruition in Eugene and Portland, as well as in four other U.S. cities, and soon, overseas.

A one-time Shakespearean and Hollywood actor, Adler’s 30-year career in leather began serendipitously.

“My wife, Sandy, was about to give birth to our first child when there was an actor’s strike in Hollywood,” Adler says. “I needed a sudden career change. Growing up in a mixed Jewish neighborhood in Detroit, I was heir to a century of retailing. My father was a merchandising manager, and the garment industry was in my blood, so that was my first instinct.”

Adler started small, selling leather belts and wallets on the Venice Beach Boardwalk in Los Angeles. “During the next decade, we went from three people in a garage to 150 employees. Today, our global team is closer to 200, but it’s still very much a family-run business. Each family member has their own area of expertise. My daughter, Shane, for example, is our branding and marketing director.”

Being family-run keeps things personal, but Adler feels that leather itself is a very personal material. “For many people, the sensory touch or aroma of leather and oil triggers some kind of nostalgia – a grandfather’s briefcase, a polished saddle, the first genuine leather belt or wallet you ever owned – generating positive emotions. Here at Will Leather Goods, we also connect to the animal itself, never slaughtering only for hides but becoming part of a process that involves an appreciative tip-to-tail philosophy resulting in zero waste. We honor the spirit of the animal, but also the spirit of the artisans who get creative with it, fabricating products of inspired beauty.”

Extending that concept to many global points of origin is also part of the process. Early on, Adler’s interest in meditation took him to India for studies with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, overlapping with a similar journey taken by Beatles John, Paul, George and Ringo. There he became enamored of traditional Kantha quilts, made from fabric scraps brought home by workers at sari factories that were then stitched into bedding. More recently, he returned to India and brought back about 200 vintage Kantha quilts in order to repurpose them into reversible tote bags reinforced with eco-friendly, vegetable-tanned leather to ensure that the end product is durable.

“Durability is not just a slogan,” Adler says. “We guarantee all of our bags for life, no questions asked. It’s a belief in the reliability of our products that other manufacturers seem to have misplaced.”

In several locations worldwide, skilled local artisans are employed directly by Adler with no go-between corporations diluting the compensation paid to these workers. “In Africa, for instance, we source deep blue indigo cloth that has had symbolic and monetary meaning for generations. In Oaxaca, Mexico, we connected with Teotitlán weavers to produce Oaxacan wool rugs dyed with berries, moss, tree bark and larvae to achieve vibrant, varied colors. Fashioning the rugs into other uses, we maintain steadfast construction standards by adding leather panels to bolster stress points, just as in our canvas with leather collections.”

The Will Leather Goods catalogue has gone miles beyond the first belts, wallets, bags and backpacks that started the enterprise. They even produce a novelty collection of Golden Age leather-craft sporting memorabilia, including historically inspired basketball, football and soccer ball replicas that are hand-stained and hand-burnished to create an antique patina.

It’s in the realm of tzedakah projects, however, that Adler‘s company truly chooses a unique path. “I know that traditional Jewish charitable giving is typically seen as a moral obligation,” Adler says, “but we want to take it a step further toward tikkun olam, healing the world by direct action.”

To that end, at the start of every school year, Will Leather Goods sponsors the “Back-to-School Get & Give Will” social initiative, offering a “buy one, give one” program designed to support students in underfunded schools across America. For each backpack or messenger bag purchased, the company donates one high-quality backpack filled with essential school supplies to an American child in need. Their ultimate goal is to donate a half-million backpacks nationwide by 2025. To date, they’ve donated more than 8,500 backpacks to schools in Oregon, California and Michigan.

Adler, who attended public schools and Hebrew school in Detroit, says the backpacks are distributed at special assemblies that either he or other top staffers or family members attend. “The best part is that each colorful bag has a designated space on it for the child to write his or her future aspirations. That’s why we call them ‘a bag to carry your dreams.’ The idea is to encourage kids who have limited resources to consider real goals, gain confidence and then carry that inspiration with them every day.”

In short, a new generation of students who can dare to dream big.

willleathergoods.com



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Join the Family

Join the Family

Our lifetime guarantee is a warranty against defects in materials (leather and hardware such as snaps, zippers, buckles, rivets, etc.) and workmanship. Our leather, as with all natural materials, will occasionally have unique characteristics such as: small scars, creases and variations in the colors and are not considered defects. Validated warranty repairs are repaired or replaced at no charge.

Due to the nature of leather and vintage materials our warranty does not cover natural wear and tear from daily love. Worn edges or corners, natural fading and softening of materials is an expected occurrence.  We guarantee the foundation of our product will hold your belongings safely. We find that patches and natural wear are a part of the story that unfolds as your product grows with you. One of a kind, Vintage and Found product may need to be patched or stitch due to the nature of vintage material. We charge between $35 and $75 depending on natural wear and tear or can recommend a local cobbler to expedite repair.

Exclusions and Limitations include shoes, hats, furniture, watches, jewelry, clothing, home goods, vintage product and FINAL SALE merchandise.

Maintain your favorite leather pieces regularly to ensure soft and supple leather. Leather can be cleaned and restored with a regimen of leather care products designed to clean, condition and protect. Leather Care can help maintain your product longer. Please see our Leather Care page for more information. We recommend conditioning your leather at a minimum of every 6 months. Learn more about how to care for your leather.

If you are in a dryer (hot or cold) climate please condition your product as soon as it feels less supple, dull or faded. Vegetable tanned leather when conditioned should feel slightly oiled and look rich. Similar to the nature of skin it needs to be moisturized as soon as it feels dry. We charge $25 + shipping for conditioning or head to a store for onsite conditioning for Free and the full Will Leather Goods experience.

Please Contact Us to receive a quote for non-warranty repairs.

Warranty Exclusions and Limitations
Any warranty claims associated with the below list are not considered manufacture defects and are not covered within our Lifetime Guarantee policy. At the discretion of Will Leather Goods, a fee may be incurred for repair.

Any warranty claims associated with the below list of merchandise categories do not fall within our Lifetime Guarantee policy.

1 Year Limited Warranty Exemptions

The following have a limited 1 year warranty that is valid from the date of purchase. At the discretion of Will Leather Goods, a fee may be incurred to the user to repair the merchandise if the warranty claims does not fall within the 1 year timeframe.

All Warranty Repair requests must be processed and validated by our Warranty Team.

FAQS

Have your receipt?
Please include it in your email request for return or bring it with you to any of our stores. This way we can reimburse your original purchase price to either your original method of payment or as a merchandise credit, or use it to help exchange your item.

No receipt?
Please let us know as much information as you can about your purchase so that we can locate a record of it. If we can't, we'll reimburse you with a Will Leather Goods gift card for the current selling price of the item or replace your item. To help ensure fairness to all customers, we do require a receipt in certain situations. Please see our Special Conditions for details

Special Conditions
If you purchased Will Leather Goods merchandise from one of our Valued Retailers, please contact them directly to facilitate a return or exchange.

To help protect our customers and make sure every return or exchange is dealt with fairly, we reserve the right to not refund the following,
-Will Leather Goods is not responsible for any missing packages or COD
-Customer is responsible for shipping cost
-We reserve the right to refuse delivery of packages received without a Return Authorization 
-All return and exchange requests must be received within 30 days of purchase either online or from our Will Leather Goods retail locations.
-Proof of purchase is required to validate a return or exchange
-If you purchased an item from our sale page, these items are eligible for exchange or store credit only, unless marked FINAL SALE online. SAMPLE SALE product is FINAL SALE
-All returned merchandise must be in new, unworn, and original condition
-We have the right to charge a restocking fee of 15%, if product is not returned in original condition.
-Monogrammed merchandise is not eligible for a refund or exchange. All sales are final.
-Items that were not purchased directly from Will Leather Goods (such as items purchased at thrift stores, online sellers or garage sales)
-Items with a missing label or an item that has been defaced
-On rare occasions, based on the nature of prior transactions
-Without a receipt and a valid ID in our stores
-Items that have been soiled or contaminated, until they have been cleaned
-Items lost or damaged due to fire, flood or natural disaster


Product Care Information

We highly recommend using leather care treatment to maintain and preserve your leather products: Product Care

Our wax coated canvas is coated with paraffin which makes this water-resistant, but not waterproof. If your canvas product gets wet, we recommend you let it air dry thoroughly in a warm dry place. If at any time your canvas has scratches or marks, these can typically be reduced by using a hair dryer on medium heat to help the wax soften and absorb back into the canvas.

By purchasing products from Will Leather Goods you agree to the terms in our Lifetime Warranty. Will Leather Goods reserves to right to alter, edit or cancel our Lifetime Warranty without notice.

The general rule of thumb for our belts is to go up two sizes from your pants size. So if you are buying a belt for a man who wears a size 32 pant, he will need a size 34 belt. Looking to try it out beforehand? Come into a Will store near you for "custom fitting"!
Pant Size Belt Size
30 32
32 34
34 36
36 38
38 40
40 42
42 44
The general rule of thumb for our belts is to go up two sizes from your pants size. So if you are buying a belt for a woman who wears a size 6 pant, she will need a size small belt. Looking to try it out beforehand? Come into a Will store near you for "custom fitting"!
Pant Size Belt Size
0 - 2 XS
4 - 6 S
8 - 10 M
12 - 14 L
16 - 18 XL
The sizes are determined by buckling the collar and measuring the inside circumference.
Small Medium
11" (1st Hole) 15.5" (1st Hole)
9.75" (3rd Hole) 14" (3rd Hole)
8" (5th Hole) 12.5" (5th Hole)
Large X-Large
20" (1st Hole) 23.75" (1st Hole)
18.25" (3rd Hole) 22" (3rd Hole)
17" (5th Hole) 19.75" (5th Hole)
Make It Your Own

The monogram has existed since 350 B.C., but came into popularity as steam ships started to cross the Atlantic to help identify the trunks and luggage of the travelers. Today, the monogram remains a functional identifier, while also lending personal style to your leather goods.

Personalize your product or gift with monogramming in either our small serif font (1/4") or our large sans-serif font (1/2") shown above. We use traditional heat stamping to emboss into our vegetable tanned leather.