Willow Brook Leather
The Devil is in the Detail
A young Joe Henderson paid off college loans by working at an Aurora railroad on night shifts. After getting home, rather than sleeping, Joe worked pieces of leather into belts and wallets. People started buying his pieces, so Joe revved up production. After having kids, he pushed the accelerator a bit harder. He was soon making enough to raise a family without the railroad.
More than 40 years later, Joe’s leather-working studio, Willow Brook Leather, produces intricately designed, European-trend handbags, wallets, belts, briefcases, journals, and much more. Joe has traveled to Italy 10 times to purchase tanned leather, tools, and fashion magazines.
“After visiting Italy, I realized I could really, really do an incredible job,” Joe says about his first visit in the 1980s. “Italians taught me the devil is in the detail.”
When he tires of making the same old items, Joe explores creative designs. He puts strips of lizard and ostrich leather in his handbags. He builds everything to last.
“Women are more rough on their things than you would think,” he says about handbags. “And I don’t want to ever see those things again; I want them to last. You get three repairs guaranteed in a lifetime, but I don’t want to see those purses back in here.”
Joe sells his items through his website and at trade shows around the country.