I first met Joey years ago at a Saint Patrick’s Day party at my home in 2014. As we became better friends, it became apparent Joey was very talented when it came to working with his hands. He handcrafted everything from furniture to small goods, making me look unmanly on a regular basis. Early in our friendship, Joey started to develop his skills with leather goods by hand cutting and sewing his own designs. I remember buying a small wallet during the initial phase of his “hobby”, which I still have today, but it wasn’t until he hand cut and sewed me a briefcase that I realized he was on a different level with his skill set. After I carried the briefcase for a few weeks, I was even more convinced of his talent. Whether it was colleagues who commented on the bag, people in the airport staring at it, or friends who requested a bag for themselves, it was clear Joey needed to turn his hobby into something more.
Shortly after Joey made that briefcase, we both decided we should go into business together to sell these goods to a broader audience. We spent nearly a year and a half sourcing the right materials, working through the initial product set of our collection, and developing the branding for Boulevard East.
One of the things I’ve found most enjoyable about this process is watching Joey begin to realize how talented he is at making our products. He’s a humble guy, but people we encounter have been generous in their praise of his work. Joey has followed several brands that served as personal inspiration to him as he developed his skill set. After launching Boulevard East, we’ve had the opportunity to meet the people behind some of these brands that have inspired him. After seeing his work, many of those people have actually turned to Joey to get a better understanding of exactly how he goes about designing and crafting such great products.
While we are still a very young brand, the one thing I am certain of is Joey’s ability to design and create beautiful leather goods. While this world is relatively new to him, I can say with great confidence that I am extremely fortunate to have found someone like Joey with a skillset elevated above many others. I look forward to seeing what he is able to develop as we continue to build the brand and want everyone to know that he is the mastermind behind our collection. Every time you buy a Boulevard East product, you carry a little piece of his hard work with you.
- Matt Renna – Co-Founder of Boulevard East