J.R.Burd is run by me, John Burdumy, with the help, encouragement, and motivation of my wife, Kristen. We recently got married in August and hit the road in our VW Westy named Penny. We had been planning this road trip for a while, and always knew we had to come up with a plan to make some money along the way. At the time, I had more hobbies than anyone really should, and had a whole list of ways to possibly translate something into a mobile business. I had just recently started dabbling in leather working, and realized pretty quickly that this was my best option. What better way to spend our free time on the road than participating in a tradition passed down through this country for centuries?
This trip was a really destined to happen as soon as Kristen and I met. We've both spent 20-plus years in the same homes, and have really never seen more than five states between the two of us. We both have art degrees, both work at coffee shops and both had a burning sense that there were endless possibilities outside of Pennsylvania. There are beautiful sights to see, fascinating people to meet, and life changing experiences waiting for anyone willing to look...and we decided we needed to look. We left on August 14th from West Chester, PA and headed up the coast to the north-east corner of the country. After spending a little time in Quebec and Montreal, we made our way west and made it to the Pacific Ocean on the 5th of November! We stopped at two farms along the way; one in Massachusetts and one in Maine (through WWOOF) and looking back, wish that we had time to stop at more, but we had made the decision to get to the west coast and be back by Christmas, so making good time had gained importance. The farms gave us a chance to slow down for a few days, get a real shower, eat at a real dinner table, and spend time with hard working, real people. They also provided a chance to catch up on products if we fell behind on the road.
We returned in late December, and will be living in Philadelphia for the winter. The trip was everything we could ever have asked for, and perhaps above all, left us inspired and motivated to see what we can make of this little leather company. We kept a blog of our travels, adventures, hardships, and encounters, which can be found on this site. We're way behind, but will finish it eventually!
Every J.R.Burd wallet, belt, phone case, and anything else is hand made using the best U.S. tanned leather we can get our hands on. Every hole is always hand punched, every stitch hand stitched, and every edge hand finished.