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Life & Work with Julie Roberts

Today we’d like to introduce you to Julie Roberts. 

Hi Julie, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
River Raisin Wares was established in 2021 as a result of my lifelong affinity for beautiful leather. My love of fine leather began in my youth while raising and showing horses. I admired elegant saddles and boots. In my high school years, I was able to continue my partiality for beautiful leather by selling fine shoes and handbags for Jacobson’s Department Store. I also dabbled in leatherworking and basket making as hobbies in my youth. 

My adult life became consumed with completing college degrees, working, and raising a family. Hobbies from my earlier days were tucked away. 

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
My learning curve has been steep. Having never been a small business owner the challenge of learning the aspects of being a business owner has kept me busy. Also keeping up with the social media side of the business can be very time-consuming. The next hurdle is setting up a website. 

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
After retiring in 2021, from a blessed 30+ year career as a high school educator, I began to revisit things that I enjoyed and had not had time for in my busy day-to-day life. Hence, the inception of River Raisin Wares, handcrafted leather goods. I revisited the artisan craft of leatherworking taking a couple of classes at the Michigan Folk School. Needless to say, I was captivated and have been crafting ever since. 

The name of my business is a tribute to my parent’s farm from which a tributary of the River Raisin flows. My years on the farm brought me great Joy and Happiness. The Artisan experience of leather crafting nourishes my soul and propels my creativity. I have a studio in my home providing me with space to hone my leather crafting. 

Is there a quality that you most attribute to your success?
Craftsmanship is the most important characteristic of my leatherwork. The quality of my wares is a direct reflection of me. If there is a lack of quality then I am not living up to the standards of my brand. 

I am a long way from being a master leather crafter, but the challenge to become one is fascinating and gratifying. Samples of my work can be seen on my Facebook page: River Raisin Wares. 

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