From the Bellfield Tote, the Banjo Bag, to the Finley Clutch, Fount masterfully crafts heirloom-quality leather that lasts. Fount is owned and operated by husband and wife duo, Phillip and Jackie Wachter. The couple is passionate about crafting ethically made goods and to reviving the fashion industry in Cleveland, which blossomed in decades past.
Fount is one of four Cleveland entrepreneurial businesses to appear on CNBC’s Cleveland Hustles, from executive producer LeBron James. The first airing revealed that local chef, Jonathon Sawyer, chose to invest in Fount. “It’s been a real surreal experience so far,” Phillip said. Sawyer, winner of Food & Wine Magazine’s Best New Chef Award in 2013, is a Cleveland-renowned restaurateur and creator of tasty Cleveland staples including Bar Cento, The Greenhouse Tavern, Noodlecat, Trentina, and more.
“We really don’t think that this could’ve worked to start this in any other city. Cleveland has been so supportive,” Phillip said. Fount fits right in to Cleveland’s historical culture and past presence in the garment industry. “Our hope is to build a strong fashion brand here in Cleveland that can be nationally recognized and can be something that both the customers and the craftsman can be proud of.”
Fount’s growth has allowed for an increase in their workforce, including four refugees, two from Nepal and two from Sedan. Their business is blossoming and the couple has also welcomed a baby boy to the family. “Between the business and a baby we’ve had our hands full for sure,” Phillip said.
The Crafting Process
The fifth floor downtown studio’s industrial elevator lifts leather imported from Florence, Italy, Pennsylvania or Texas to be crafted into beautiful leather masterpieces.
- Hides are laid out on cutting tables and inspected for imperfections.
- Craftsmen map out the spots from which the pattern pieces will be cut.
- Leather is cut and a chalking wheel marks the stitching lines.
- Pattern pieces go to the sewing floor, consisting of eight sewing machines. Here, the bag begins to take shape. Zippers are sewn on, holes punched out.
- Straps are sewn using a saddle stitch, which is three times stronger than a sheen stitch. This hour-long process adds a lifetime of strength and quality to the bag.
- Fount plaque is placed and the leather is conditioned.
- Ready to go off to a new home!
Feature Image Courtesy of Fount