An Interview with
Today we’re talking to Wyatt a budding leathercraft professional based in Ohio. Wyatt runs Dreadnought Leather a small, yet premium brand that creates distinctive and unique wallets from scratch. Wyatt comes across as humble in his work and his ambitions for Dreadnought leather remain a hobby that allows him to pursue a passion without having monetary incentives get in the way. He simply is a man who enjoys what he does and that really shows within the brand and the way he operates his business.
Dreadnought Leather also has a fantastic video below that showcases the intricate process of handcrafting one of their alligator wallets. It’s a fascinating video, and clearly shows the amazing skills and care that goes into each and every one of Dreadnought leather wallets. These skills and unique materials are something we really wanted to ask Wyatt about.
About Dreadnought Leather
”All of my products are hand-made, from the initial drawings, cutting of the leather, the hand-stitching, all the way down to polishing the edges. I do all of it myself, with my own two hands. The pieces for sale here are more than just everyday items. This is my creative outlet, so I strive to make things that are not only useful from a functional standpoint, but beautiful as well”.
For anyone unfamiliar with Dreadnought Leather, tell us a bit about your shop. When & why did you decide to get involved in leathercraft?
My name is Wyatt Moadus, I’m the owner and maker of Dreadnought Leather here in Youngstown, Ohio.
For a long time I had been interested in leather as a material but always had too many other things going on to really pursue it on a hobby basis. In 2016 while moving into our first home together, my wife was shopping for some home decor and came across leather wall organizers for sale and we both thought they were cool. I wasn’t terribly impressed with their appearance and thought I could do better for less, and that’s what spurred my initial investment in tools and leather. Things just grew from there!
At the time of writing this, I have been working with leather and selling goods for five years.
You have quite the selection of quality wallets in different designs. What appeals to you the most when looking for the next new wallet to design and make?
I am always looking for new and visually interesting designs so I am usually seeking a new way to make something appealing from an aesthetic standpoint first and foremost. From there I take that concept and try to adapt it into a product or a set of products that will serve a certain need for potential buyers. Kind of backwards I admit, but for me, the kick is the expression of creativity and not just the end result of that process. The fact that I am able to make something useful and desirable while also scratching an obsessive creative itch is very convenient!
What’s your personal favorite wallet in your collection and what makes it special to you?
I have so many that it’s hard to pick one, but I guess one stands out that I’ve carried longer than any other. This whiskey Buttero mid wallet was the first project I made after spending a summer remodeling my porch into a dedicated workshop, and it’s ended up becoming a popular design for my customers. Aside from sentimental attachment, the design itself works extremely well for the things I need to carry on a daily basis and it’s very comfortable with back pocket carry which is my preferred method.
I have a drawer full of early projects or disasters that serve as good reminders of things I’ve learned in the course of doing this that keep me humbled.
Finally, we always like to ask this question, if you had to choose one other wallet to carry for the rest of your life (that isn’t your own) which one would it be?
I really love the look of Loyal Stricklin’s Johnny Wallet. It’s such a clever design that it makes my jaw drop every time I see one, especially one that has that perfect amount of wear and patina.
I saw you had some contact with some online communities such as the leathercraft discord and Reddit. Is there a certain type of person you're looking to get your product out to or way you want your product to be perceived?
I have been blessed to be part of the administration team for both the Reddit leathercraft subreddit and, far closer to my heart, the leathercraft Discord. It is absolutely the place to be if you want to further your understanding of the craft, and the friends I’ve made there have pushed me further forward than I ever would have been able to go on my own. It is the best part of this whole endeavor. As far as who I want to view and purchase my goods, anyone who values a good handmade product is welcome.
What inspired me to work with the exotic alligator leather? What does advantages does alligator leather provide compared to more typical leather types?
I actually didn’t have much interest in alligator at first. The appearance didn’t appeal to me but a friend sent me a small piece to experiment with, which I then realized was the first time I’d ever seen or handled real alligator. This completely changed my opinion of it. Much of what is for sale on the market is cheap-looking imitation alligator and it negatively skewed my feelings about it until I realized what it’s supposed to be like.
I find the texture and finish of alligator in particular very interesting from a creative aspect. They afford you the chance to mix, match and combine different leathers to create something very unique and stunning that you cannot achieve with more traditional leathers. From a business perspective working with exotic has been a very important step for me because not everyone can actually do it; it takes a certain skill set and investment of time and equipment to effectively work with an alligator on a regular basis, so I feel like my emphasis on it is something that helps set me apart from other makers on the same scale as me.
What would you say is the most important thing people should look out for and consider when searching for a leather wallet to buy?
Think very carefully about what you carry, and what you truly need to carry. Most people tend to stuff their wallets with things they don’t really need and will base their wallet buying decision around excessive carrying requirements that are simply unrealistic. Do you really need to carry all of those rewards cards? What do you truly need on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis? Focus your search on products that work for that, and you’ll find that you suddenly have a lot more options available to you that you may not have thought would work.
There is no such thing as a perfect wallet. There is only a perfect wallet for each individual, and that individual’s needs may change throughout the course of just a single day. Explore everything and buy the best wallet for you that you can afford.
What does the future hold for Dreadnought leather? Have you any new projects in the pipeline, do you ever plan on going full-time with the brand?
2020 was, against all odds, a very good year for me and 2021 is starting off in a similar way. At this point, I almost always have at least one or more commissions floating over me, which is a great place to be. Right now I’m in a very comfortable place with a good balance between pressure and enjoyment and I can just focus on building my brand without worrying too much. If it grows enough to let me take it full time, well, I’d be a fool not to, right?