Clients will love these unique handcrafted goods made with time-tested techniques.

Clients will love these unique handcrafted goods made with time-tested techniques.

The team at Rustico (asi/84264) likes to keep it old-school; their in-house artisans make all the company’s products, including journals, bags and albums, by hand, based on methods from the 1500s. The approach has been working: Rustico has seen double-digit growth each and every year.

Rustico has brought time-worn, classic techniques to its manufacturing process since 2001, when owner Isaac Childs founded the company in Orem, UT, after traveling across Europe and lamenting the poor craftsmanship of the journals that were available. Upon his return home, he took classes in bookbinding, where he discovered a handsewn method created by medieval monks. With some rawhide leather and high-end paper, he used his new skills to make his own journal with virtually indestructible binding.

As he continued to make his own journals while traveling out west, the owner of a high-end boutique happened to spot one of his creations. He agreed to make a few for her to sell in her shop; by the end of one weekend, they were sold out. Childs recognized a largely untapped market and decided to start a company. Today, Rustico’s products are sold in over 800 stores across the country.

Artisans still handmake all Rustico items in the U.S. using centuries-old techniques in leather cutting, sewing and binding. Over the years, they’ve expanded their offerings to include journals, bags, log books, binders, photo albums, padfolios, wallets, wristbands, high-tech accessories and more. Now, customers can also choose leather in Ocean or Stone, two recently launched colors.

“There’s a real commitment on behalf of the consumer to buy USA-made,” says Patrick White, vice president of promotional sales. “We only work with genuine leather, not the bonded leather so prevalent in today’s marketplace, which can have more of a fabric type feel. It puts our price-point a little higher, but our items are truly one-of-a-kind. Everything is made to order. We have seen consistent growth year after year. Now more than ever, people want to know where things are coming from.”

No doubt a significant part of the inspiration behind Rustico’s line is the beautiful state of Utah in which the company is based. “We call the surrounding land ‘our boardroom’,” says White. “We take inspiration from our parks and actually feature them on our trade show booths. Rustico has won Best in Show five times.”

However, the natural look of Rustico’s handmade items doesn’t mean they’re only suitable for a niche group of hikers and campers. “Surprisingly, the most significant business we’ve received is from clients in Los Angeles and New York,” says White. “The people who seem to have everything are often the most attracted to the product.”

To give the items even more staying power, Rustico offers a variety of embellishment methods. Products can be debossed or laser-engraved, and then enhanced with gold, silver, black or clear colorfill. Each unit can also be personalized with the recipient’s first and last name, and Rustico offers custom printed pages.

It’s this unparalleled craftsmanship and unique look that has caught the eyes of notable clients, including Robert Redford, Oprah, Celine Dion, The Who and Bon Jovi, many of whom actually reached out to Rustico by name after hearing of them through word-of-mouth. In fact, Rustico has recently filled several orders for the White House.

“It’s important not to put a logo on something that doesn’t match the level of your brand,” says White. “The right product can have a long-standing effect. When you add leather to an item, it’s special and has value, and the recipient values you more. People will keep these items forever, especially if they’ve been personalized. When people see it sitting on your desk, they will ask where it came from. And at the end of the day, we are proud to say our items have appeared in some of the most famous places in world.”