Venice, California- On Friday, January 17th, 2013, an exclusive preview of the new Collection at Will Leather Goods was held at its flagship store on Abbot Kinney blvd. in Venice, California.
Guests sipped coffee and browsed through the vintage collection of bags and accessories and were amazed by the actual ‘country store’ in the back of the retail shop that once stood in Guadalajara, Mexico. Built in 1903, this unique country store was slated for demolition before William Adler, founder and designer of Will Leather Goods, had it shipped and reassembled to its original specifications.
Manager Tim Chan was available to answer questions about the brand and the founder/ designer William Adler, who lives in Eugene, Oregon with his family. Founded in 1981, Will Leather Goods signed its first international distribution partnership with Japan in 2012 and then opened its Homestead store in Portland, Oregon before partnering with a European brand named Sasatrend.
“Will makes products that inspire your journey” said manager Tim Chan. “It is a lifestyle brand that is inspired by Will’s beautiful Oregonian surroundings”.
William Adler’s design inspiration shares the same roots as his passion for cinema and the arts. In the early 1970s, after attending TrinityUniversity in Texas and WayneStateUniversity in Detroit, Will graduated from the esteemed Goodman School of Drama in Chicago. He began his career performing American classics and Shakespearean classics in repertory theaters throughout the United States. In 1974, Will was brought to Los Angeles from New York by the WilliamMorrisAgency to audition for TV, film and commercials. He soon became a working actor, enjoying continuous employment as Bill Adler. Will’s impressive Hollywood run stalled with the Screen Actors Guild strike of 1981. With productions stopped and no foreseeable end to the strike, Will started “Rainbow Belts,” selling colored web belts from a small stand on the VeniceBeach boardwalk. The stand expanded and became known as “Billy Belts.”
Ever the entrepreneur, Will rapidly moved into the leather belts industry. Moving with his wife Sandy and sons Luke and Brent, Will opened a factory and became a manufacturer in Banning, California. They soon employed over 150 people and distributed wholesale belts to men’s specialty and department stores. By 1988, Billy Belts had a strong share of the young men’s leather goods market. That year, the family was blessed with daughter Shane, who would eventually follow in her dad’s acting footsteps. Adler sold Billy Belts, at significant profit, to a rival firm in 1992.
Will then moved his family to the quiet college town of Eugene, Oregon. The family fell in love with the farming lifestyle and spiritual community. Back in the leather goods business as Bill Adler Studio, Will designed and developed product for Levi’s, Dockers and Columbia Sportswear. He also began to design trendy, novelty studded and western style belts. This success led to another sale/acquisition in 2002.
After 25+ years in the industry, Will created a new company, Spirit Leather Works (SLW). Making history in 2004, Nike granted their first outside license to SLW with rights to design, manufacture and sell Nike Golf and Tiger Woods belts and accessories. The relationship continues to this day.
Inspired by the creative synergy and decades of experience, William next founded WILL® Leather Goods. WILL® creates fine handcrafted, timeless leather goods of extraordinary beauty, durability and functionality. The company’s Mission Statement of WILL®. says it all: Inspired by Nature, Driven by Freedom, Cultivated by Family, To be Passed Down for Generations. WILL®.
Behind The Will Brand
Founded in 1981 in Eugene, Oregon, Will® Leather Goods is a leading American men and women’s lifestyle brand recognized internationally for its use of high quality, handcrafted materials and excellent workmanship. Will® Leather Goods manufacturers belts, bags, wallets and other accessories that are classic, stylish, and functional. Will® Leather Goods products adapt to any lifestyle, from the streets of Manhattan to the sands of VeniceBeach. Will® is sold in Nordstrom’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Barneys New York, and boutiques around the world.
In the fall of 2012, Will® opened its flagship retail store on Abbot Kinney Blvd. in Venice, CA.
Today with son Brent, 28, as his partner, William continues his work as head developer and designer. Brent heads the Nike division as they set out to become number one in Golf Accessories by combining their industry knowledge and fresh innovation.
The Adler family is an entrepreneurial and creative group. William’s wife of 35 years, Sandy, is a University of Oregon yoga and meditation teacher. The family also owns a local yoga studio, Freedom Yoga. Their eldest son, Luke, is a Doctor of Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture, and founder of Luke Adler Healing. Their daughter Shane, 20, is an actress living and working in Los Angeles. She has performed in stage productions, national commercials and had a supporting role in the “Social Network.” Shane is also a dynamic presence in the flagship WILL® Store in Venice, CA.
Acclaimed Indie filmmaker Christy Oldham, is the founder of Los Angeles based film production companies, Mercury Rising Films and DemiGoddess Pictures. She has written, produced, directed and starred in numerous award winning feature films that are in world wide distribution. Look for her latest vigilante social message thriller, ‘Barracuda’, winner of 3 Best Picture awards, on VOD and DVD.