Handcrafted in the beautiful riverside town in Nehalem, Oregon resides Walnut Studiolo, a family owned and operated small business on a mission to design durable, unique, and functional (awesome) products from their workshop. City Shoppe caught up with Valerie Franklin, founder of Walnut Studiolo.
What inspired you to create Walnut Studiolo?
In a “walnutshell”, it started with my husband and co-founder Geoffrey’s 1978 Bianchi road bike. Biking to work every day in Portland, Oregon inspired Geoffrey to customize his ride. He was inspired by photos of vintage Italian racing bicycles: modern photos shows that the leather components looked almost as good as new, even when they were decades old. He liked to think of the bicycle as “the modern horse” and he wanted quality leather components to go on his commuter bike. When he couldn’t find what he was looking for on the market, he decided to create his own unique designs using leather. In 2009, in the midst of layoffs during the Great Recession, we thought maybe other people would be interested too, and I opened a store on Etsy for Geoffrey’s designs.
What is your favorite product that’s come out of Walnut Studiolo?
It’s always hard to pick a favorite, but I think the Bicycle Seat Barrel Bag. It solidified my love for the combination of wood with leather. Stitching it up – as it takes form, it really becomes a beautiful three-dimensional object. Every stage of the construction really adds a lot to the finished product.
The holiday season is coming! What are you buying local for the holidays?
Chocolate! Can we ever really get enough chocolate right now?
At City Shoppe, we pride ourselves on supporting local communities while helping shoppers find unique products. What makes your community so special to you?
Oregon celebrates its creative makers and doers, and it is an honor to be a part of what makes that so special.