When did you open the business and what prompted you to want to open a leather business?
We started out, in our basement, in 2014. The idea of Holtz Leather was about having a purposeful business. We wanted to create a business where family was in the forefront and in more than one way. We wanted to have not only the ability to control the quality of the product we make from start to finish but also working together with our kids to teach the values of hard work and doing our best in everything we do.
Did you start out with online sales only or a retail storefront?
We started out exclusively online. We opened our first retail store in 2017 because we moved into a building with a perfect space for retail. Our production facility was upstairs. Originally, we just hoped retail would cover the rent for the building, but it blew us away how well it did. We currently have two retail locations, and our first store in Huntsville has expanded to take all the space where production once was. It became our candle bar and home store. Our production facility is still in Huntsville, off of Dug Hill Road.
You’re more than just a leather business. Tell us about your candle bar and pottery experience.
Our candle bar is an extension of our experiential retail and is a great excuse to get out and do something together. We started crafting our own candles several years ago to add a fun edge to our retail and online store. As we started the production process, we realized how enjoyable and fun it was to make candles. The idea of allowing our customers to experience this took root and soon we launched out our candle bar. It was an immediate success.
My Dad also started a line of wood products. When he retired he started turning pens in his garage and we sold them on the website. That expanded into our Millworks collection of gifts and home accents.
Are you Huntsville natives? If not, tell us why Huntsville.
Coleen and I are from Huntsville. We met as kids, but my Dad was a Marine so I moved around alot before settling back in Huntsville where Coleen and I fell in love and got married We got married at 14. Just kidding! We were young though. My bride was 17 and I was 18. With $1,000 in our pockets, a borrowed car, and hearts full of dreams we started our lives together! We had several people say we wouldn’t make it, but 26 years later it is still the best decision I ever made!
Tell us about your Whole Lotta Holtz podcast. Why did you start a podcast?
We actually got requests from customers who followed our emails and wanted to know more about how we started Holtz Leather, more about our family and adoption, and more about how we live on the farm … we live very differently! The response has been great. In fact, we just sent out an email asking for topics people want us to cover in our next season.