Duvall Leatherwork Founder and Master Craftsman Nick Duvall reflects on the past year after moving production out of his small, main street shop into a full-size workshop and expanding his retail storefront.

Reflection is hard for me. I’ve always been a big picture, forward thinking kind of person. Thinking back on the past year, I write this with a smile on my face just reminiscing about all the obstacles, laughs and hard work.

July 2021 to July 2022 has brought about change at Duvall Leatherwork far beyond any other time yet experienced. Moving, expanding, developing products, growing our team, and implementing systems are just a few of the tasks on my ever growing to do list. We are truly laying the foundation for a strong, wildly successful brand.

leather hides laid out across a table

1. Don’t underestimate what you once took for granted

I thought the move was going to be the hardest part of expanding, but I quickly realized after a few weeks that moving was actually the easiest part. People and scaling finance would be far more challenging than moving. It’s said that thinking is the hardest job in the world, and I can assure you that this is true.

Throughout the last year, the life-changing idea of creating core values and beliefs has changed my outlook on life and what I stand for. I have a purpose in life, and I have defined my values, and that has led my decision-making process. So far, those values have proven to be solid.

My ability to think and make decisions has been pushed to the max in the past year. With more of everything including work, space, people and machines, comes the responsibility of making decisions that affect a bigger and bigger enterprise. That stress, that mental exhaustion was a detail much more extreme than I ever could have imagined one year ago.

Struggle and stress are not the only things that have happened in the past year. Many really amazing things have happened as well. Like building out the space for my ever-growing team to work comfortably with no interruptions. It makes me so happy to employ good honest people who love to create products that bring joy and happiness to our loyal customers, and to give them the space to do that.

2. Keep your business’ focus on people

The driving force behind our expansion came from our people. Our team of skilled artisans were working on top of each other in the back of our Wyoming Avenue retail space. In fact, the workshop spilled out onto the sales floor long ago.

It gave our place a hometown charm, but our growing team deserves better.

Since moving to our new site in Hanover Township, we expanded our retail store floor plan and hired a wonderful team of sales and marketing people.

They are passionate about the product, which in turn gives the customers a better experience online or in-store. It makes me excited to think about how we can expand the store to have an even larger floor plan.

3. If you want greatness, don’t fear change

So many great things come from change, it sometimes surprises me that people fear change. My entire working life has been about embracing change for a better tomorrow.

The past year has changed everything for me personally, just about all of it for the better. Being mentally strong and decisive make change an easy event to handle.

The past year has made me so grateful to have the support of dedicated team members, loved ones, friends and of course loyal customers. It’s hard to think back to my early years when I dreamed of all this expansion and now here it is.

Making a dream a reality is not for the faint of heart, it takes hard work and dedication to make it happen. And what I’m finding is that after you’ve made it happen the best part is then sharing that dream with all the supporters around you.

The future’s so bright for Duvall Leatherwork, from new products and the addition of new hardworking Northeastern Pennsylvania people to our team, we have nowhere to go, but up!

Personally, I can’t wait to write here again next year to talk about all the exciting things that have happened.

Small business ribbon cutting at their new workshop

The official opening of the Duvall Leatherwork Artisan Workshop, July 2021

Duvall Leatherwork team photo 2022, the team is standing in front of the warehouse bay door with the duvall leatherwork logo above

Duvall Leatherwork team on July 26, 2022

Look back on this wild adventure of business growth and entrepreneurship with our first post-move blog post here.