Linny Kenney Leather
Tell us about your business.My father had a beautiful old leather bass strap and a cool 1970's belt I always loved and I had hoped to find something similar for myself. As it turned out, my stepfather was a leather worker back in the late 60's and taught me the craft of leather work and handed down all of his old tools. I was about to go on an adventure with my horse and ride across America from L. A., CA to Bath, NH and decided to make some of my own tack and a guitar strap (using the old bass strap as a template). We rode through New Mexico in the Spring where I was inspired to create leather pieces with wildflowers on them. When my horse and I completed the ride I began to focus in more seriously on the craft and it was with these flower pieces that my business started to take off. I now make custom leather guitar straps, knife rolls, bags, cuffs, belts, journals, and more. Right now I focus mainly on custom work, which I love, but I would like to eventually develop a line of my own design as well.
What makes your business stand out?My business is unique because the pieces I create are custom and completely individualized making them very special to the client. You can't walk into a store and buy something that speaks entirely of you unless you buy custom. The leather I use is of the absolute finest quality and is eco-friendly. I didn't know about the toxic effects of leather tanning and processing until after I started working with leather. Not wanting to play a part in hurting the environment, I began searching for an eco-friendly leather that was of the highest quality. I am currently searching for a farm I can buy from directly that raises free-range cows for grass-fed beef so I know the life of the cow was the best it can be as well.
What's the best business advice you've received?The best business advice I've received is to not undersell myself. As an artist, selling is not my strong suit (and it still isn't even with this advice), but with anything you do, it's important to know it's value, know your value, and recognize what that's worth. I've learned simply believing in what you do and truly putting your heart into what you create sells the pieces better than anything else could. And so this is the motto of my work...believe in yourself, be genuine, and do everything with love.
Mark Your Calendar
NominationsJune 3–Aug. 29, 2014
Nominate yourself or other aspiring makers.
JudgingJune 23–Sept. 8, 2014
Judges will select finalists throughout this period.
Online VotingSept. 15–Oct. 13, 2014
Vote for your favorite American makers.
Winners AnnouncedOct. 17, 2014
2014 Award Winners and Audience Choice Winner announced.
American Made EventNov. 7–8, 2014
Join us for our annual event in New York City.