ALEX & DAN & CEDAR
In collaboration with Lucy & Co., Solid Manufacturing Company is introducing an exclusive collar and leash set. Each leash and collar are constructed from real leather and are naturally conditioned, all made by hand from start to finish. As one of two inaugural collaborative lines, Lucy & Solid are introducing this partnership of products in two colors, with unified attention to design and concern for quality.
What officially launched just over a year ago, has actually been growing over the course of a deepening relationship for one couple and their their Shiba Inu. Dan Cordell and Alex Worre are the dedicated craftsmen behind Solid Manufacturing Company based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Over four years ago, they began designing and building together. They started learning wood- and leatherworking in Dan’s dad’s workshop, long before their business grew into fruition. This joint venture came naturally, as Dan has a lifelong inclination toward handicrafts and Alex studied furniture design. During their time in dad’s shed, they taught themselves tricks of the trade, but they also learned how to work together “for better or for worse,” as the couple puts it.
Solid Manufacturing Company was born in May 2013 of Alex and Dan’s common passion for American manufacturing, commitment to well-made products, and inability to let their hands and creativity idle. Launching on Etsy with wood and leather goods, Solid’s success has ramped up to a reality unlike anything the couple anticipated, with each month receiving more orders than the previous and having shipped to 60 countries and counting. They humbly attribute most of their triumph to clean product designs made by hand with strong materials that are meant to last. With their expansion and growing clientele, they remain adamant that products made in the United States of quality materials can also be affordable, with the hope that their goods will outlive their customers.
Solid’s product offerings are steadily increasing in number as the company evolves and matures, yet the simplicity of materials remains the same: wood and leather, as selected as their material-of-choice in their handmade leather collars and leashes. Their commitment to leather is also somewhat American in choice, as they note it was a material that moved people across the country. Leather boots, leather saddles - leather was used because leather was going to last the journey West. Solid really believes that as time goes on, leather only gets better as it evolves from a perfect piece to your object with your personal imprint and shared experiences upon its grains. They source their materials from around the US, with most of the leather and solid brass hardware coming from Texas.
“Leather will evolve. It will change over time. The same way your animal changes. Your dog is getting older, the leather is a little bit older, it’s a bit worn, but it’s still just as strong. There is a bit of you in its history.”
“The first leather good that I ever made was a simple leather key fob. I saw it somewhere and it was so expensive – I was 15 or 16. So, I took a dog collar that belonged to my Grandma Sadie. I cut the collar into one smaller piece, wrapped it around some hardware, drilled holes in it with a drill ‘cuz I didn’t have any other tools, and I stitched it with some kitchen twine, and that was it – it was done! And people complimented me on it.”
The first leather good a teenage Dan ever made was from a dog collar that belonged to his grandma. Perhaps a visionary key project of what was to come, Cedar joined in on the fun three years ago, about a year into Dan and Alex’s relationship. Young and in college, Alex desperately wanted a dog when she stumbled upon an ad in the newspaper looking to get rid of the runt of the litter. Dan and Alex took Cedar in, not realizing how much this commitment would change their relationship. Cedar’s been along for a wild ride, having celebrated two graduations and the commencement of their business in his short (but adorable) life. Cedar has solidified his place in this Solid family, serving as Solid’s mascot and even filling in Alex’s “warm spot” in the bed when she gets up and Dan is still in need of cuddling. A distinguished dog, Cedar’s namesake is the wood, due to his beautiful coloring and his humans’ desire to pay homage to their penchant for woodworking.
“Our relationship grew with Cedar. Especially in our first year with him,” credits Alex.
“We put a lot of time – a lot of time – and a lot of effort into every single thing that we do. Everything gets inspected. Everything gets looked at a million times. Everything gets carefully packed into a box and taped. And I will un-tape it and look at it again before it goes out, because it’s that important.”
As this trio takes on bigger and different business challenges, it remains of utmost principle to them that they hold their products to a superior level of quality and that they develop real relationships with people who care about community. As they look to the future, they continue to ask the question that started it all: “what if…”
For more Solid Manufacturing Company products or to follow their work, check out their Etsy page or @solidmfgco on Instagram
Photography by the very talented Wing Ta
Shop the collection here.