Skip to main content

Willow & Fig’s Leila Garrett

Mar 23, 2017 11:00AM, Published by Jordan Venema, Categories: In Print, Life+Leisure



Gallery: Willow & Fig’s Leila Garrett [5 Images] Click any image to expand.



One Stitch at a Time

April 2017
Story by Jordan Venema
Photos by Kelli Avila

Simply put, Leila Garrett describes Willow and Fig Leather Company as leather goods for children, especially moccasins and purses. While her business really began to take off in June 2013, she started about a year earlier by attempting to make bows.

“But I never sold any,” she says with a laugh.

In 2012, Garrett submitted her daughter for a modeling job with Petunia Pickle Bottom, which required making an Instagram account. It was her first time on the social media platform, and Garrett began following people who were advertising and selling their own DIY products. She decided she would try to make some extra money by making and selling bows.  “So I opened up an Etsy shop and I literally sold zero bows.”

Though Garrett’s foray into bow making quickly came untied, she still discovered the DIY world of social media, where a pair of moccasins had caught her eye. With a price tag of $65, she decided she could make her own.

“So I bought an old leather jacket from a garage sale, took it apart and made some moccasins for my daughter. I had scoured the Internet for some basic baby-type shoe patterns, and from that I manipulated it. I had no clue what I was doing,” admits Garrett, who practiced using felt before using the leather pattern.  

Her first pair of moccasins, “well, they looked like crud.” She still posted a photo on Instagram, and through hashtags people began contacting her, asking if she would make more. After about 10 offers, the thought must have crossed her mind: I’m going to need to get more jackets.

In 2012, Garrett sold her first moccasins for $20 a pair, saying she couldn’t sell them for more with a good conscience. “It just kind of started from there,” she adds.

“So where am I going to get the leather to make this, and where can I get brown suede?” Garrett had no clue where to start. “I actually messed up by ordering whatever brown suede I could find online,” a gnarly, stiff material that she couldn’t even use. So she drove to the fabric district in Los Angeles where she bought a box of scraps for around 10 bucks a pound.

“I had this huge bag, I think it cost me $120, and from that first bag I think I made my first year’s worth of moccasins,” says Garrett.

“The first year was all mistakes,” she continues, full of learning curves like how to work with leather, finalize a pattern and pick the right material. “Also, working with leather on a regular sewing machine is not a good idea,” she stresses.

The last step was branding, creating a logo and choosing the name of her business. She wanted to create a name that meant something to her, so she used her children’s nicknames. Her son was always long and lanky, “like a willow tree,” says Garrett, and her baby daughter, “I always called her my little fig.” Willow and Fig.

As business picked up, and Garrett put the final touches on her patterns, “things just kind of got out of hand.” She was also working as fulltime nurse, taking care of two children, and making moccasins between 10 o’clock at night and 2 in the morning. 

“I was just getting sick all the time. I had to close down for three months. So I tweaked my pattern to make it look more professional and I developed a plan where I would make collections ahead of time,” says Garrett, in order to have stock on hand. 

At the recommendation of friends, she also adjusted her prices. “Now they sell for $35 on my website,” she says, though retail stores in the valley mark up her products.

Garrett is a one-woman leather-making crew. “I have to cut all the leather, I have to paint all the leather,” she says. In 2014, she even expanded her collection to include purses, which is where she really gets creative. “They actually outsell my moccasins,” she says. 

These colorful purses are both seasonal and culturally relevant, like holiday inspired purses that are colored and shaped into unique patterns. She created a collection of Ziggy Stardust purses, as well as fantastic creatures like unicorns and trolls, animals like owls and foxes, and more classic and streamlined styles.

Willow and Fig Leather Company currently offers purses and moccasins, but if the arc of Garrett’s career has taught her anything, it’s not to count out that she might expand her collections to include other patterns and products. Anyway, with social media these days, there are plenty opportunities to find inspiration, and followers to ask you to create some new design.


Willow and Fig Leather Company

www.willowandfigleatherco.com  

Find them on Facebook & Instagram  



Willow and Fig Leila Garrett


  • Hawaiian Hula (dance) classes

    05/01/2017
    02:00PM — 07:30PM

    During our Hula classes, we respect the traditions of Hula and do our best to research the langua...


  • Central Valley CWA meeting

    05/01/2017
    06:00PM

    California Women for Agriculture's (CWA) Central Valley Chapter will hold its next meeting on Mon...


  • Kino Hana, Cardio-Hula

    05/01/2017
    07:00PM — 08:00PM

    ALOOOOHA!!!! Ready to shake up your fitness routine? Ready to shape up and tone your amazing bo...


  • Hawaiian Hula (dance) classes

    05/02/2017
    02:00PM — 07:30PM

    During our Hula classes, we respect the traditions of Hula and do our best to research the langua...


  • Kino Hana, Cardio-Hula

    05/02/2017
    07:00PM — 08:00PM

    ALOOOOHA!!!! Ready to shake up your fitness routine? Ready to shape up and tone your amazing bo...


  • ARTS VISALIA May Exhibition

    05/04/2017
    12:00PM — 05:30PM

    Arts Visalia presents an exhibition of "giganteum" proportions. The giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron...


  • Arts Visalia Art Classes for Children and Adults

    05/04/2017
    12:00PM — 05:30PM

    Register now for new 4-week courses beginning in May: Adventures in Drawing for 5 & 6 year olds ...


  • 2017 Art Hop

    05/04/2017
    05:00PM — 08:00PM

    ArtHop occurs every 1st and 3rd Thursday of each month. It’s one of the most active and successfu...


  • The Fresno High Flea: Hello May

    05/06/2017
    10:00AM — 02:00PM

    Celebrate the End of our SUCCESSFUL 4th SEASON As always, Family friendly and Free to attend. ...


  • Mother Day, Ladies Luncheon

    05/06/2017
    11:30AM — 01:30PM

    Our annual Mothers Day Luncheon is open to all Women and young ladies (ages 9 and up). Open to al...


  • Premier Kentucky Derby Party

    05/06/2017
    12:00PM — 05:00PM

    Riata Ranch International is celebrating 60 years of their unique brand of empowerment! The Bo...


  • ARTS VISALIA Family Art Day

    05/06/2017
    12:00PM — 02:00PM

    Family Art Day is fun for the whole family. Discover the joy of artistic expression. Check out ...


  • ARTS VISALIA May Exhibition

    05/06/2017
    12:00PM — 05:30PM

    Arts Visalia presents an exhibition of "giganteum" proportions. The giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron...


  • Arts Visalia Art Classes for Children and Adults

    05/06/2017
    12:00PM — 05:30PM

    Register now for new 4-week courses beginning in May: Adventures in Drawing for 5 & 6 year olds ...


  • ARTS VISALIA Annual Orchid Sale

    05/06/2017
    12:00PM — 05:30PM

    Beginning May 6th, over 800 beautiful and colorful orchids will fill the gallery for our annual f...


  • Kentucky Derby Party

    05/06/2017
    01:00PM — 05:00PM

    The Kentucky Derby is more than just a horse race, it's the event of the year! View the Kentucky ...


  • Pure Imagination

    05/06/2017
    02:00PM

    Enjoy an evening of ‘Pure Imagination’ at Visalia’s LJ Williams Theater. VCIS brings skilled l...


  • Since their debut in 2001, GRAMMY®-nominated, multiple American Music Award and Dove Award winner...


Check out our sister publication, Enjoy Magazine: Northern California Living