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As the owner of a handmade leather goods business in Stewartville, MN, Josiah Hanson is about as local as they come. Hanson Leather Co. produces small goods, such as wallets, journals, coasters, and keychains. He also makes bags, however, everything is hand-stitched so this is a slow process. His leatherworking journey began in college when his friend and employee at The Leather Guy challenged him to make a belt.

“In the beginning I learned the craft mostly by trial and error. I made a lot of crap at the beginning! But things began to make sense after a while and then the discovery of the leather craft world in Instagram and YouTube was a game changer. We still use YouTube to learn new techniques.”

Hanson Leather Co. keeps his designs clean and simple even with his most intricate pieces. Vegetable tanned leather is a company favorite with natural veg being a staple. Josiah’s favorite tool is his Palosanto edge beveler.


“We have always thought the red fox was a beautiful animal. In fact for a while I wanted one as a pet. Since we are a family of redheads it felt like “Chester” (our favorite fox) only seemed right. - As far as his outfit goes, the both of us are what you might call old souls. I’ve always had a fascination with all things retro. So Chester ended up with a classic outfit with a flare of modern in his glasses.” -Josiah

“I’m told that we have a style or vibe but I have yet to put my finger on what it is. I guess we just design and make what we really like with the hope that others enjoy or appreciate what we create.”

Josiah recently made this custom rucksack for a customer. Even though it took countless hours to hand cut and stitch, it is now his favorite piece to date.

The Hanson Leather Co. workshop is currently located in the basement of his family’s home. Endless hours have been spent there cutting, hand-stitching and burnishing usually while listening to a podcast. This winter he will be working to expand their home workshop exactly how they want it. He and his wife Brianna also welcomed a baby boy to the family this year. Needless to say, Josiah has been keeping busy in 2020

Random facts

- Do work with any other mediums/art forms?
Photography is one of my hobbies.

- Do you have any pets?
Not a single pet :-( I’d love a dog someday however.

- Describe your perfect weekend/vacation/day off
A trip up north to relax and gain inspiration. Of course, with a coffee in hand.

- Favorite book/movie/quote/podcast…
I love the classics, especially Frankenstein. For movies, I’d have to go with The Secret Life of Walter Mitty because of its unique sense of humor, and its storyline centered around photography and travel. Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History is my favorite podcast by far. He brings out details in history that can captivate you for an entire three hour episode.

- Random fact about yourself
I lived on a farm for the first sixteen years of my life.

- Are there any other small businesses you want to acknowledge or shout out?
Hemlock and Hyde is an inspiring business because of the creativity of their designs. Also, 1924 us for their unique style of product photography and artistic abilities.

If you would like to see more visit his website Hanson Leather Co and Instagram @hansonleatherco