Rachael Becker is surrounded by leather. Her business Heavy Leather specializes in stylish guitar and camera straps. I recently had a chance to sit down and chat with Rachael during her busy work day to talk leather, fashion and her love of Greenpoint.
Greenpointers: Tell me about “Heavy Leather.” What makes your guitar straps so special?
Rachael: Well, they’ve got a little bit of attitude. There are other guitar strap makers out there that feel cheesy or are going for that hairy ’80s metal thing. Mine has a good balance of style and attitude that isn’t cheesy or your typical western look. Plus it’s good quality and handmade.
Greenpointers: How did you get started doing leather and how long have you had your business for?
Rachael:I’ve had Heavy Leather for four years now. Originally, I went to school for fashion and I worked briefly in the fashion industry, but I was not into it. I really love men’s wear and working with leather, so after I was laid off from my old job, I found a posting on Craigslist for a leather smith’s assistant so I immediately contacted him and that got me on my way.
Greenpointers: How did you come to start building guitar straps? Walk me through the evolution…
Rachael:When I started out, I was doing custom work for leather accessories. At the time, I had a friend who asked me to make him a guitar strap so I ended up building a small custom collection of guitar straps, I posted them on eBay and they sold right away. After that, it was one-plus-one-equals-two. Another friend of mine, who was a photographer, he was requesting a camera strap so with the leftover leather from the guitar straps I started making camera straps. Now B&H and Adorama carries them. The only thing I don’t do is anything too sexy (laughs). Continue reading →
We live in Brooklyn, the land of small railroad apartments. Most of us are constantly searching for more ways to store things while ideally not filling up the place with ugly plastic containers. Even if you are one of the lucky few to live in a beautifully sized apartment, the bathroom can always be a small, awkward or tricky spot to have the storage we need while keeping the tiny room looking good.
A while back someone gave me this vintage store display rack and it has become the perfect storage addition to the bathroom, although it could really work in any room. It is simple, hangs on the wall, and has the capability of holding a lot of stuff or looking great empty. They are somewhat easy to find on ebay and not too pricy.
Midtown sucks, we all agree. I try to be in and out, but when I have to wait around I seek a haven; a quiet place or I go to therapy, shopping therapy. It’s slim pickins’ but when I need a snack and reading time I head to Fika, a swedish espresso bar, with great coffee and pastries, including chocolate balls, great macaroons and my favorite sandwich, avocado with arugula, red onion and cream cheese on raisin bread.
And when I need to get a brain fix I head to Argosy, a 3-story fetish shop for used books and old prints. On the bottom level you can find prints from $3, like that sweet flamingo (bottom right). I also picked up that Brooklyn Amusement Park poster (top left) from the late 80s for $10. The other two, a graphic novel with a dude chain sawing a tree (top right) and a weird Russian canned food print (bottom left) were $20 each. Pretty cheap for awesome artwork!
After a ride back home on the G train, which made me wonder they leave one door half open in each car when you wait at Court Square, I realized maybe it’s to keep the A/C inside. The MTA being energy conscious?
The plan was to go to Vintage Modern for the We See Stars trunk sale, but since the train ride was supersonic fast, I mosied around The One Well and chat with Kerry. I wanted to buy a gift for my friend’s girl who is visiting from Japan. The problem with shopping for someone else is you always find things for yourself.
“That is totally normal!” Kerry assured me, so I bought these pearly pink old lady earrings ($28), which weren’t clip-ons, hallelujah! And for the lady friend I bought this adorable flower bowl ($12). Then I headed over to the trunk sale and scored those arrow earrings ($18) and ate a gallon of potato chips. See that spread! Erica, the jewelry designer, also sells at the Dekalb Market on weekends. Jon met me down the block for dinner at EAT after he ate a hot dog. Lucky! Our salad had the most delicious honey vinaigrette. Seth told us how to make it: just whisk together honey, oil and apple cider vinegar with a little salt. Magic.
While there I started unraveling all my wares from my shopping spree.
“Well I had a lot of time to kill!” I reasoned.
“So you shopped. You are such a good American,” Jon said.
“Look how adorable, right? She is going to love it!” I said proudly showing him the flowery bowl. Then I turned it over.
“MADE IN CHINA! I can’t give this to her!” Every year, my parent’s friends, the Watanabe’s send us Christmas presents from Japan. As a kid (and as an adult) I beg to open all the origami wrapped gifts. When we turn them over we find the “Made in China” sticker and laugh, even though the gifts are always gorgeous. Meanwhile, we probably send them gifts made in China, too. Or worse, Canada!
Without thinking too hard about the history of far eastern diplomatic affairs or mass consumerism, I bought her the slate colored handmade bowl from Eat instead ($7), which is Made in Brooklyn and I happily kept the cute little Chinese bowl for myself.
Oh the blunders and plunders of gift exchange with the Japanese! Now hide my wallet and hope today is payday!
Tucked away off of Manhattan on Meserole is the most adorable mid century modern vintage furniture and home store called Vintage Modern. I’ve found so many great pieces there. I want to move in and live in the storefront.
Tonight, 3/3/12 from 6-9pm, designer Erica Savard is having a trunk show of her jewelry collection called We See Stars. Refreshments, 20% off jewelry & 15% off everything else in the store.
I want these vintage arrow studs! Only $18. See you later!