The Junkyard Dog Leash: An Origin Story
How Seat Belts & Car Seat Leather became Dog Leashes in Detroit
Since 2015 when our worker-owned company started making leather goods in Detroit with upcycled car seat leather, countless folks asked us to make dog leashes more than any other product. The upholstery leather we divert from the landfill that we get from partners like Lear, Ford, GM, Stellantis, and others was perfect for footwear, bags, and wallets, but usually wasn’t long enough for a 4ft-6ft dog leash.
“We didn’t know what we could do at first with seat belts…and then it just clicked. ”
In 2019 we were doing a morning all-team “build” as we like to call them, when the solution to the dog leash design dilemma was put forth. We were exploring automotive waste streams we could turn into useful things to make this dog leash- and then it just clicked. We decided to go to junkyards and cut out seat belts from cars each week before they become scrap. This was great for the prototyping phase, and during the years worth of testing and development, but once we launched we could never get enough each week to meet demand, even after going to various junkyards across SE Michigan. Interest in this “Junkyard Dog leash” made from seat belts, car seat leather, and American hardware was growing on our website and 6 local stores who now carry our pet products across Michigan.
Thanks to this Autoliv collaboration we can put to good use the seat belt waste that could seem small to the largest seat belt manufacturer in North America but is enough for our small business to grow and make our multiple social missions possible. “We believe if we see a better way, we’ll find a way to make it happen. Relationships continue to show up as our most important currency- Rayne Rose - Pingree Detroit Co-owner - Lead Sewer - Well being manager
What do our co-owners think about this collaboration? "Endless possibilities. Companies and people believing in our small worker-owned cooperative and taking action to support us so we can create meaningful work alongside Veterans and Detroiters makes everyday inspired.” - Nathaniel Crawford II - Co-owner - Footwear Division Manager - Sneaker Maker - Air Force Veteran
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