From College Thesis to Entrepreneurial Dream
Brookes & Hyde began as my senior thesis in college. I went to the University of Cincinnati and studied Industrial Design in the DAAP program, which stands for Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning. My senior year of school, I took an internship in Chicago at a company that ultimately owns the market on men’s accessory design, working for big named brands, such as Dockers, Levi’s and Columbia. I fell in love with the job, as it challenged me creatively in an industry I had no experience in. During my final year of school, I returned for a second internship and started to develop my senior thesis: a small batch brand focused on sourcing the highest quality leather and materials to create a product line of premium goods, made in house, that gave the consumer a product worth their money. It was during the time on my second internship, that I had the opportunity to work with the company’s sample maker. With over 20 years of experience in handcrafted leather goods, she taught me everything from sewing to skiving to treating each product with the upmost attention to detail. She trained me on the entire process of taking a full hide of leather and turning it into quality made products full of character and meaning.
While in Chicago, I had the opportunity to tour Horween Tannery. Horween Tannery is one of the oldest and most well known leather tanneries not just just in America, but in the world. They are highly renowned for having some of the world’s best leather. After touring the tannery and seeing how much history it has and the process they go through to create the leathers they offer, I was sold on sourcing all of my material from them. My final semester of college rolled around in the spring of 2015. I was receiving such great feedback from my peers and professors on both the quality and professionalism of the final products I made and having already fell in love with the art and craft of handmade goods, I decided to ditch the corporate world and sought the entrepreneurial route of seeing the brand through.
Brookes & Hyde was launched and still operates out of our family garage, but we are slowly growing and expanding our operations, constantly designing and innovating new products for our customers. The brand takes an unparalleled approach to every product we design and make with a cohesive blend of quality, simplicity, practicality and above all else authenticity. It can be extremely difficult to grow a brand from the ground up in today’s oversaturated market. However, I firmly believe that if you stick to your core values of what the brand stands for and are able to continually tell your story to new audiences that a brand can truly grow into something more than just a senior thesis for school. Brookes & Hyde will one day be a household name, but for now we are happy growing small and seeing how our products continually grow with the lifestyle’s of each person that buys them. Thanks for checking out our brand and helping us share our products with the world.
Connor Sambrookes | Founder