It's hard to tell when and where Slightly Alabama truly began. There was the day we sold our first product and, before that, the day we launched our website. The day we secured our business license and the day I quit my job to pursue the business full-time. But like anyone who starts something they're passionate about, regardless of how fresh the idea feels, you have to admit that it's actually been a lifelong pursuit finally realized.
If you were to ask me when Slightly Alabama started, I'd say about 30 years ago. You see, it was all those years ago when I was a child running out of my grandparents' house to my grandfather's workshop—screen-door slamming behind me, the smell of fried potatoes and fresh-baked cornbread wafting through the air, and Johnny Cash or George Jones playing on the radio—that I fell in love with the world and the work of hand craftsmanship.
The floor of my grandfather's red-barn workshop was covered in sawdust and the smell of freshly cut wood lingered in the air. His latest projects were sitting on workbenches around the shop, projects built as gifts for friends and family. I wanted to know everything he knew and be able to do everything he could do. I wanted to make things with my hands, things that would matter to the people who used them. Since then, I've spent my life working with my hands and learning the trade and craft of woodworking and leather making.
Professionally, my career took me on a very different path—from the classroom as a high school English teacher to Madison Avenue as a marketing executive. I was far from the open landscape of north Alabama, but not far from the passions of working with my hands and building something of my own. After a happy and successful career in marketing and advertising, I decided to trade my suit and tie for a stitching needle and awl. And I chose to return to the place where I had begun: making things with my hands that mattered.
To me, Slightly Alabama is not just a brand of products. It's a story—the story of one person passionately committed to building a brand, a business and products that come from a real place with real heart and soul. And it's also the story of products built for customers who appreciate that sort of thing.
MAKE WHAT YOU LOVE
If there's one thing that drives me each day, it's simply the opportunity to be in my studio designing and making products. My passion for the heritage of hand craftsmanship and my role in continuing the tradition is what excites and motivates me to build a brand that lasts and a team prepared to continue a great tradition. We stick to traditional techniques because, much like an artist painting a canvas or vocalist singing an aria, we love the process as much as the final product.
WHY "SLIGHTLY ALABAMA"?
My story begins in Decatur and Sheffield, Alabama, where my family's from and still live. But I moved to Titusville, Florida when I was a child—a place I love and not very different from the small towns in north Alabama where I spent much of my childhood. Our company is based in New York City where I now live and work. And while the foundation of my story is in the Deep South, it's as much about all the places I've lived in and all the places that inspire me as it is about my home in Alabama.