Today we’d like to introduce you to Lyndsi McGee.
Hi Lyndsi, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I picked up leather work 8 years ago; at the time, I was in an extremely abusive relationship, and I can honestly say it was my saving grace. It was the one thing I had for myself at a really dark time in my life.
I was an avid vintage & thrift shopper, specifically vintage handbags. Most bags I’d buy were falling apart, straps broken, etc. So, I figured I’d give my hand at making my own. I’d wear the bags I made out, and friends constantly asked why I wasn’t selling them online. It gave me the push I needed to start an Instagram and, at that time, an Etsy shop.
6 years ago, I meet my now husband Nick at a concert, and the rest was history. He took an interest in leather work himself and has helped me run Mean Jean through the years. We scraped our pennies together to rent a teeny tiny workspace in Frogtown (Elysian Heights) to work out of and create our products.
After about a year of online sales and lots of pop-ups, we were able to rent our own storefront in Echo Park. I’m so grateful for that opportunity, but having a storefront just wasn’t in our best interest. Having to run a shop took a lot of time away from actually making our products.
We packed up shop after a few years and headed for a change of pace and scenery. We landed in the high desert, Pioneertown, CA.
We gutted the old tack room on the property and built my dream shop. We mainly sell online now, but you can still catch us at some of our favorite pop-ups like @paradiseroadshow
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Leatherwork is somewhat of a pricey hobby to pick up. You need multiple tools to create different products, and the cost of high-quality, sustainably-made leather is not cheap. Then factor in the machinery we use and the parts to run them.
Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
Mean Jean specializes in vintage-inspired leather goods. Everything I make is stamped, dyed, and laced by hand.
My forte is, of course, handbags, but I also make many other accessories like belts, wallets, collars, fobs even catchalls to hold your jewelry!
What was your favorite childhood memory?
Hanging out at my grandparents’ farm, picking fruit, and building forts in the trees.
- Handbags $148- $328
- Belts $198
- Catchalls $68
- Fobs $48
- Card Wallets $48
- Website: www.meanjeanleather.com
- Instagram: @meanjeanleather