Our Story

Well, hello there!


We are Garret and Amanda Willis, the makers of Grit Mercantile. We are a husband-and-wife team who have a passion for well-made items that are beautiful, functional and made to last. For us, craftsmanship and quality materials are key.


Before we explain our journey with Grit Mercantile, let’s share a little of how it all came to be...


Amanda Willis

Amanda hanging out with Bigfoot during a photoshoot with our Ethel Tote Bag.


I fell in love with leather.

As a child, one of my favorite smells surrounded me each time I stepped into a tack shop. Ah, the smell of leather… I was fortunate to grow up with horses and learned to ride at the age of three. One of my favorite chores was cleaning and conditioning the bridles and saddles. I rode both Western Pleasure and English Saddle Seat, which gave me the opportunity to admire leather work design for both types of tack. You will see this equestrian inspiration in my designs for Grit Mercantile.


Amanda gathering extra grass for her Arabian horse, Rafia. 


Amanda showing at an American Saddlebred class at the Great Southwest Equestrian Center near Houston, TX.


Always Making

I am a naturally creative person and love beautiful, quality items. Much of my life has been spent in the pursuit of art through drawing, painting, sculpting, sewing, jewelry-making, paper crafting, costume design, stage makeup for theatrical shows, and many other mediums.



Garret Willis

Garret cutting straps from a new hide in the Grit Mercantile Studio.


The Tinkerer

I’ve always been a tinkerer: fascinated by how things are put together, how they work, and how to fix them. Plus, I love a good tool; especially one that works so well that the result turns out better than I hoped. Before my venture into leathercraft, I worked with wood and audio equipment in my garage. I created cutting boards, small furniture pieces, and Bluetooth speaker boxes.


Garret "Mr. Fix-it" tinkering with his tricycle.


Garret decked out in his cowboy gear, including his monogrammed, buckstitched leather belt.


A Common Problem

One day I came face-to-face with a problem: my wallet was falling apart. Like most guys, I purchased my wallet from the store. As a functional item I carried every day, I expected it to break down over time. But as I faced the need to replace a high-end wallet with a designer price tag for the third year in a row, I thought, “There’s got to be a better way.”


Grit Mercantile

In 2020, Garret began researching wallets, which quickly led to leathercrafting videos on YouTube.com. After reaching out to a well-known leatherworker on YouTube to propose a wallet design, he replied, “Why don’t you try to make it yourself?” That was the encouragement Garret needed to push him over the ledge into leather work.


All Garret asked Amanda for was 12 square feet of space in the dining-room-turned-craft-room. Amanda happily welcomed Garret into her creative abode to have the family all together, creating in the same space. After all, this was 2020, the official year of “family togetherness.” As Garret grew his leather working skills, Amanda hung out in the background with her own creations until she couldn’t take it any longer and joined in on the fun.


Now Grit Mercantile has expanded into a family business. We design and handcraft high-quality full grain leather goods and encourage the growth of other leather workers all over the world through our in-house designed digital patterns. Our daughter, designer of our best-selling Lewis Long Wallet, likes to remind us that we cannot hold a board meeting without her.


On any given day, you will find us creating fine full grain leather wallets, bags and accessories, dreaming up new designs and products, and trying to keep our shop dog, Enzo, away from the leather scraps in our Grit Mercantile Studio just north of Austin in Round Rock, Texas. (Which, by the way, took over the dining-room-turned-craft-room.)


Connect with us!

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/gritmercantile

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gritmercantiletx


Grit Mercantile Studio, Round Rock, TX


Our shop dog, Enzo.