Welcome to Moonshine Leather Company! We specialize in a variety of handmade leather goods, all made by us, in one of our studio locations. What makes us unique as leatherworkers in modern times is our dedication to products made in the USA. We use as many U.S. made materials as possible to provide you with a high quality, handmade product, designed and sewn by us.
A family owned and operated business today, it all started in 1990 when high school senior Mike Kline started an apprenticeship with local leatherworker Bill Dillon in his hometown of Nashville, Indiana. A vacation destination for many Midwesterners, Nashville is located in the heart of Brown County, an artist colony established in the late 1800s. Today, you will find many art galleries, artist studios, and local artisan shops who continue the tradition of making their own goods. Millions of people flock to hilly Brown Country in the fall to experience the beautiful autumn colors and sample the local food and craft.
After two years of learning, in 1992, Bill retired and Mike took over the business, establishing Moonshine Leather Company. Bill continued to mentor and work with Mike for the next several years as Mike’s business and family expanded. Faced with the financial difficulties of raising a family in a seasonal tourist area, Mike began traveling, selling his leather craft at art shows across the country.
It was on one of these art show circuits in Arizona that Mike discovered the former boom town of Jerome, Arizona, perched on the side of a mountain. Named the “Wickedest City in the West” in 1903 before becoming the largest Ghost town in Arizona in the 1950s, Jerome has since revitalized as a thriving arts community with an eclectic mix of galleries, artists, and craftspeople. With majestic mountain views including the Red Rocks of Sedona and the distant San Francisco Peaks, Mike discovered a tourist destination of another kind, catering to people traveling West in the spring months. Finding a nice balance to the autumn business found in Brown County, Mike and his family opened Altai Leather Designs in 2005.
Growth happened fast the next year as Mike had the opportunity to move his Indiana store to a larger location two blocks away, in the very center of Nashville. Here he was able to expand his production of items in the more heavily trafficked space, but also maintained his original location among the quaint shops of Antique Alley as a place for people to buy leather hides and supplies for making leather goods at home.
While Mike can often be seen sewing wallets and sizing belts at the stores late at night, the need for a larger studio space grew as wholesale orders increased. Mike opened an offsite Art Studio for the first time in 2010 in a small house down the street from the Nashville store, then expanded again in 2014 to a larger, more permanent Art Studio space in Brown County for larger wholesale and production jobs.
Many people met Mike’s five children as they grew up playing and working in the Indiana and Arizona stores, and all the kids have continued to help and work in the business as they have grown up. In 2017 Mike’s middle son, Jacob, joined Mike as a co-owner of the family business. Together they work together running the multiple locations, as Jacob continues to learn the craft from his father.
December 2019 was another moment of great change for Moonshine Leather Company. In Nashville, we combined our two stores into one, on Van Buren Street. For the first time ever, you can find all your home leatherworking supplies in the same place as our full line of high quality leather goods.
At the same time, Moonshine Leather was given the opportunity to open a new location on Cape Cod. A wholesale customer of ours decided to retire after 39 years of running his own leather shop and graciously invited us to take over his Main Street storefront in Hyannis, Massachusetts. Here, in our new location, you can find Mike teaching the younger kids to work with leather. A beach town with a rich history reaching back to 1602, Hyannis has a thriving summer season highlighting local artisans, a music festival, and many historic sites including the Kennedy Compound. We are excited to explore the area and meet a whole new mix of people vacationing on the Cape during the summer season.
Throughout the years and changes, two basic principles remain the same. One is that Moonshine Leather is a home-grown, family owned and operated business, and two, that we are consistently committed to crafting original leather designs Made in the USA.