Austin’s Noah Marion Quality Goods

A true renaissance man, Noah Marion has created an eponymous collection of beautiful handmade leather goods and more from his Austin, TX studio. One of the growing list of makers with their own brick and mortar shops, Noah exemplifies what most makers aim to be: a dedicated craftsman with a keen and creative eye for detail.

Sustaining a brand and a shop for the long haul is a major achievement, making Noah a perfect artist to have in my Inner Circle. I’ve always appreciated his candor; he’s a man who doesn’t waste words. If you really want to know where his mind is, just look at what he creates. With that said, let’s get to know this talented gentleman a little bit better.

How did this journey begin for you?
Well my mom says it was when she walked in to the Seventh Inn, a restaurant/cooking school in Boston, and saw my dad sacheting through the dining room and claims we were all standing right behind his head waving saying “we’re ready for you to make babies with this guy so we can come out already!” But that all seems too far-fetched for me…I just think it all started in a little rental house in Barton Hills about 1 mile from where I currently run my little atelier: shop/design studio/espresso bar/studio/everything lol!

To be fair it was actually in the garage of my mom’s house two doors down from my pre-school. It was without air conditioning, which to many may not seem like much, but in Texas that’s a serious no-go!

What led you to leathercraft?
At this point it sounds cliche but back in 2006 when I dreamed this up I was really tired of the designed for obsolescence, landfill destiny of most every product on the market. I needed a new wallet and couldn’t find what I needed and that sparked the idea: i could make my own out of leather which lasts ‘forever’ … well I really enjoyed it as it turns out. So I designed 30 products, my younger brother photographed them and I started my website and the rest is history.

Your collection is both cohesive and expansive. How do you decide on what to showcase?
I really just do whatever strikes my fancy to be frank. Usually how something comes to mind is the more interesting part but it’s always so different so it really is hard to nail down. I do a lot of watching, I know that sounds creepy, but I think all designers observe their world in a unique way so it’s not that creepy, but I see a problem or something that is so pervasive but sucks and go about fixing it or creating a new solution, my way. That in a nutshell is basically how it happens. Sometimes however, I’m just like “we need lighters” and then I go make that happen.

Since 2006 Noah Marion Quality Goods has focused on untreated, undyed natural vegetable tanned leather in order to allow the user to personally bring the design to life. Each person will interact with their wallet, bag or belt differently and therefore it will truly become yours with use. Please keep this in mind when using your goods, they will change, they will age, they will darken. This is the goal, they get better and better with age. A water spot here, a coffee stain there just adds to the character of the piece.

“Come up with something so different and so new that no one will ever think anything about you except “genius” hahah. Just make sure you create something unique and revolutionary that you’re not just changing someone else’s design so it’s ‘yours’.”

What challenges have you faced as an independent creative?
Oh my word, where do I start?! It’s so challenging. There’s really no one to help figure things out, there’s no magic pool of money waiting around to pull from, there’s just your brain and hands truly so it’s quite difficult. If i were to answer this question in a less-esoteric way: financially, spiritually, healthfully are the biggest challenges. It takes so much money to run a ship like this. It’s so taxing on the soul to give everything you have that you don’t have a lot left for other things. And I work too much and too hard so my health always suffers.

What advice would you give to makers just starting on their journey?
Come up with something so different and so new that no one will ever think anything about you except “genius” hahah. Just make sure you create something unique and revolutionary that you’re not just changing someone else’s design so it’s ‘yours’.

Sum up your personal style in 5 words.
Eclectic, streamlined, functional, sexy, qaulity.

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