Welcome to Gecko Leather Works! Please read on to learn more about me, how I got started and the passion I have to create my handcrafted, unique, and quality products.
Let’s start at the beginning…
At one point, if you were to ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would have said, I wanted to make guitars and attend school to be a luthier. But as it goes, life happened, and that wasn’t in the cards. Despite that, I spent 32 years as a part-time musician, a bass player, and to this day, remain a self-admitted ‘guitar geek’. My full-time job of 28 years, was that of a woodworker, making custom wood garage doors for a company named Eckert Door. I enjoyed doing both.
In 2012, I took a much-needed break from music, and stumbled across a magazine with some pretty cool looking leather guitar straps and thought, I want to learn to recreate that. So, I experimented and found out, not only could I recreate what I saw, but I could create custom and unique straps providing superior quality and comfort – something that the local music stores couldn’t offer. Thus, the first iteration of my business was born – it was a hobby business and it was only part-time, but it was an outlet that allowed me to be creative. Every business needs a name, and I found inspiration in one of my favorite bass guitars; the model name was ‘The Gecko’ – and Gecko Guitar Straps was born. I continued making guitar straps for the next three years and made / sold over 250 straps.
In 2014, Eckert Door closed its doors and I went to work for another company. During this time, I still created guitar straps, but began to experiment again and ended up expanding the products I made.
I’ll be honest, I didn’t love this new job, and couldn’t wait to get home each day to get back to my leather work. In early 2018, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to quit that job and take this hobby, part-time business and make it my full-time job. I opened my first small shop and have since moved to our larger and current location in January of 2019, located in the same city where I live with my wife, and raised my two kids, South Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Because our product offerings now surpassed just guitar straps, our name needed to change to reflect that, and we became Gecko Leather Works. I still love making guitar straps and continue to do so. It’s what started all of this and I won’t ever forget that.
That being said, I’m proud of the expansion of our products.
Each of our items is handcrafted, with only the care, creativity and passion an artisan can provide. I’m excited for you to check out what we have to offer and appreciate your support – your support in shopping local, your support of a small business, your support of a dream I didn’t know I had, until it became a reality!