Leather goods maker found opportunity in layoff

    Growing up in Rayne, Damien Mitchell, the owner of leather goods company Damien Mitchell Design Co, started making things at a young age. Looking back, Mitchell says he was exploring the industrial design process and didn’t even know it.

    By the time he entered the industrial design program at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette, the work felt natural to him, Business Report covers in its new Entrepreneur feature. As part of his senior thesis, he interned at a family-owned shoe repair shop, where he was introduced—and soon fell in love with—leatherwork.

    After graduation, he moved to Baton Rouge to work at an engineering firm and took up sewing as a creative outlet. He began creating backpacks and belts, bringing his designs to life with his mother’s old sewing machine. In 2015, he launched his business.

    Mitchell was laid off in 2016, but instead of looking for another job, he decided to live off his savings and dedicate himself to growing his fledgling business.

    “I felt like if there ever was a time to take my business seriously, it was then.”  

    Read the full story about how Mitchell grew his leather goods business.  

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