CLAYTON & CRUME
Clayton & Crume was built on a simple principle, to make long-lasting, quality goods. Their team of artisans craft everything by hand and in Louisville to ensure that each product is made the right way. They do this through sourcing the highest quality, full-grain leather, and using time-honored techniques to create beautiful pieces. These products are designed to be passed down for generations, with gorgeous details, and craftsmanship that are built to be heirlooms. The Clayton & Crume promise is that their products are built to last a lifetime.SHOP CLAYTON & CRUME
THE CLAYTON & CRUME STORY
What began as an idea in a dorm room at Western Kentucky University has grown into a multi-million dollar business. Co-Founder Clay Simpson used the sewing lessons his mom gave him in high school to create a tailgating belt by seam-ripping a dog collar and stitching it onto some leather.
As demand grew, so did the team, and their small operation has grown into a large team of artisans, creatives, and makers. Their mission however, has remained the same, to create quality, stylish, American-made goods that could last a lifetime.
The process for doing so is built on a foundation of using time-tested techniques and superior materials. It begins by sourcing the highest quality leather from the most trusted tanneries in the country.
“We only use full grain leather here at Clayton & Crume,” said Production Manager Jessi Dietrich. “Full grain leather is the highest quality leather you can find in the market. It's when the top of the hide has been maintained. It hasn't been buffed out, hasn't been altered in any way.”
Full-grain leather is not to be confused with genuine leather, which is made from scraps and is actually the second lowest grade leather that can be sourced. Oftentimes, people assume that because “genuine” is a word with generally positive connotations that it must be quality leather, but that is not the case.
“In full grain, you leave characteristics on the hides because that shows that it's real, anything that's too polished is too good to be true. And that's something that we embrace with our product,” said Jeff Arnesault, Director of Marketing.
Once the leather has been sourced, it is brought to their warehouse where a team of dedicated artisans and craftspeople stitch every thread and dye every edge by hand. This meticulous and detail-oriented process takes years to learn, but is something the team has mastered. The tools and techniques used by the team haven’t changed for hundreds of years, and the results speak for themselves.
The idea of outsourcing the work, while it would make production easier, felt disingenuous to the team. The pieces created here are created through a labor of love, and each piece has been made through stylistic choice unique to the person who made it. So much so that their employees can go into Keeneland Mercantile and see who made each product.
In today’s age, many products become obsolete and are discarded not long after purchase. There’s always a new phone, car, or product, and this has caused Americans to forget what it was like to own a product for a lifetime, to appreciate the longevity of a quality piece. This is something that Clayton & Crume aims to bring back. Their products are built to be heirlooms, to be durable enough to be passed on for generations. Not only that, they’re also meant to tell a story. By monogramming products, it assigns a connection to the person who’s purchased it. Overtime, the leather will patina, telling the story of the journey it’s been on with the person who owns it.
The Clayton & Crume promise is simple, their products are built to last. And if they don’t, they vow to make it right. It is this type of honest craftsmanship and genuine appreciation for their customers that brings the Clayton & Crume team to work each day, and it is a gift they hope to share with everyone.