by: Scott Bakken
Bradley Mountain is a San Diego based leather making company. Through Socality and our events, we aim to feature local crafts and artists who are creating in their own communities. In Moniker Warehouse you will find Tyler Axtell and his team constructing the finest leather goods around, bringing style and functionality through their structured and high quality bags. Bradley Mountain also designed an exclusive bag for our event that is now available online and at the event. We chatted with Tyler about Bradley Mountain, his inspiration of the company and the lessons he is learning along the way.
When did you start Bradley Mountain?
I started Bradley Mountain in my garage in 2012 in Ocean Beach, SD hand making every piece by myself.
What was the inspiration behind this brand?
I create the bags exactly how I would want them for myself. All of our goods are designed that way, instead of looking at what else is on the market for inspiration. I do draw some influence from old Swedish and some Scandinavian designs.
How did you get into leather making and crafting these products?
The passion started when I learned about veg-tanned leather and how it ages from a almost white color, to a deep dark brown if loved and used well. I love that you have to use it in order to change the colors. If you just leave it on your shelf it won’t change. This is the foundation for why we chose leather as a medium. It is the perfect way to absorb your story into a memento.
What story do you want to tell through Bradley Mountain?
We desire to inspire and empower people to Live Adventurously. What that really means to us is not just camping and hiking, but in every way, living life to the fullest and seizing opportunities to try new things and be pushed. We believe by making high quality fashionable bags we can assist people’s pursuit of this adventurously life!
What has been the biggest challenge of this last year?
The biggest challenge is that I have no experience in business, and so nearly every new endeavor is a learning curve for me. It has been awesome though, because it forces me to be humble, admit I don’t know how to do something, and learn. We are taking a bold step into a larger market and it has been very rewarding but comes with great challenges.
What advice would you give to one who wants to start a company?
Make what you want to make. Don’t look around and compete with others designs or get discouraged when someone else does something you thought of. I think the best ideas (although perhaps inspired by previous designs) come from the soul and the personal desire to create. Make things authentically and learn from other people who are doing it better than you are. It’s a tough balance: to stay original but learn from other’s craft. You’ll learn to walk that line well if you work hard, keep your eyes open, and your heart humble.
What unique qualities about San Diego can people look forward to when they come to Socality Live?
San Diego has a fashion of natural beauty (ocean, rivers, cliffs, mountains) and also an incredible growing craft culture. I think the main quality of San Diego (at least from my experience) is that there are so many forward thinking successful entrepreneurs here but they are all so friendly and supportive as well. The creative path becomes easier when you can lock arms with others.
Tyler and his team will be hosting a workshop at Socality San Diego July 29- August 1, teaching more about this craft. They will also be involving people in their own leather making experience and you will walk away with your own piece of Bradley Mountain. You can register here and find more details on www.socalitylive.org.