We had the good fortune of connecting with Aimee Kearns and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Aimee, what principle do you value most?
I think integrity is what matters the very most to me. I want my word to mean something. In my personal life, i hope my friends and those close to me know that my word is solid. I’m not one who will say one thing and then do something else. In regards to my business, if I say that my products are made using some of the highest quality materials, then that is what the customer can expect. I want people to know that if there is ever an issue with any of my products I will try to make it right. Kearns Leather is built on integrity, not just because I believe it’s the right thing to do, but my name and my husband’s name is on it.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I have been an artist my whole life. I have always loved creating and producing crafts and art. I majored in Art in college and just knew that once I graduated I would get the dream job I always wanted in the ‘industry’ and my career path as a working artist would be set. However, life has a way of choosing different paths for us. I continued to work on art and had many handcrafted business ideas, but was never brave enough to start any of them. My husband, George, was my biggest cheerleader to start my business and with his encouragement and support we started Kearns Leather nearly 25 years after I graduated college. Now, to be completely honest… my first business was not Kearns Leather. Initially I was hosting sign painting evenings and selling wood signs at craft fairs. This proved to be less than profitable for me, and I was discouraged. I knew I couldn’t keep putting money into something that wasn’t making a return. When the pandemic started I knew I needed to shift gears and thought, what is something I love? Something I would love to make and that I don’t see at a lot of these craft fairs. I thought – I love wallets. I love little pouches. Little things and hold other things – I know, weird. But I thought how amazing it would be to learn to make those things out of leather. So I ordered a leather making kit online, and watched hours of YouTube tutorials on leathercraft. I was hooked. I began showing friends wallets I was making, and they wanted to buy them. I was encouraged by my initial success, so I went full steam into making Kearns Leather as successful as it can be. I’m certainly not there yet. Its not been easy. The pandemic has made attending craft fairs difficult. My products are fairly niche. But I do have a tiny little following of people who watch for me at craft fairs and want to see our new items. I am excited and optimistic about the future of Kearns Leather.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I’d have to take them for a drive through Papago Park and maybe stop at the Desert Botanical Gardens. We recently visited Odysea Aquarium, which we loved.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’d like to shoutout my husband, George. George is the reason being a small business owner is even possible. He encouraged me to start my business one night when we were talking about our dreams for the future. I was telling him how I loved creating and making and would love to share that with others. He said, “So why not do it?” I told him all the excuses that I had been telling myself for years; it’s too expensive, I’m not good enough, I don’t know the first thing about starting a business, etc. George encouraged me to not be afraid and just try. The worst that would happen is to fail, and even then, at least I’d have tried. So, shout out to my amazing, encouraging, wonderful (and handsome) husband George Kearns!
I took all these photos.