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609 Milwaukee Avenue
Detroit, MI, 48202
United States

Douglas & Co. Detroit makes handmade leather goods, 100% in Detroit. Focusing on quality over quantity, Douglas & Co. Detroit values the process. The process is the most important thing to the company. The product comes from a process, one that takes place start to finish in the same space. 


Find out what is new and upcoming in Detroit by following along. Also, see our travels and adventures along the way. Introducing our newest blog series, Retailer Highlight, spotlighting our retailers and asking them a few questions. 

Meet the Makers : Chasing Ambition

Douglas & Co. Detroit

Chasing Ambition

For part II of our Meet the Makers series, we are sharing the details of what it took to launch our company. (Read part I here, where we share about how our business came to life, from vision to reality.)

When two people start a company together, the factors in decision making become more complex, as more than one opinion must be considered. The blend of two opinions colors business elements, like the website, the packaging and the names of products. It’s not necessarily a disadvantage having two opinions; it’s just different.

When Shane and I were brainstorming about our business more than a year ago, the big question was, “When should we launch?” Since the approaching season was Fall, we could either wait until the following Spring to launch, or we could launch before Christmas. I, Melissa, chase ambition, and I thought it would be a great idea to push to launch before the holiday season– just because why not? But additionally, it made sense to launch at the time of year when people spend the most money and purchase gifts. If we could do it all over again, I would make the same decision because I see its benefits in retrospect. The limited time pushed us to develop products, brand our company, and figure out who we were.

Here’s a look into the logistics of preparing to launch. First, we needed to agree on a launch date and work backwards from there. Once we had this nailed down, we started with our website design and branding because we calculated these would take the longest time. We would need to order paper materials, such as business cards and launch party invites. And we would need to make sure the website design aligned with our brand while also ensuring it was functional. The biggest impactors of the site were our lookbook photos, product photos, and layout. For the photography, we knew we would be able to do our product photos in the studio, but we wanted to have professional lookbook photos taken. We had Caryn Noel do our FW 2014 lookbook photos.

Once we had finished the design, photography and branding, we moved forward with administrative things– the "fun" stuff. This consisted of a lot of research and learning. We figured out how we wanted to structure our business, how to pay for materials and overhead while launching, how to pay taxes, and how to actually manage a business. It's important to realize these are ongoing decisions for us, which are constantly being refined and worked through.

Within our husband-wife team, Shane is great at casting vision. He is able to look down from a bird’s eye view and see the little steps that will move us toward the bigger goal. This has been extremely important for our company. Seeing the greater vision while getting to the smaller tasks is probably the single most important principle for us to revisit, so as to not become overwhelmed and weary in our daily work.

We are constantly learning and growing in our capacity and business goals. We look forward to sharing more of our branding vision with you in depth next time on our blog series, Meet the Makers.