FP Love Shop: Meet The Makers

Southern charm and well-made goods are backing our Valentine’s Day shop this year. Take a closer look and meet the makers below!

This year, we’ve made it real easy for you lasses to gift your lad with the perfect V-day gift. Step inside the Love Shop — a curation of handpicked gifts made for your best friend, or your better half. From stainless steel flasks to luxe playing cards, we’ve partnered with some of the South’s best craftsmen to blow out the Valentine’s Day shop. Scroll below to see what an average day in the fellas’ workshops looks like, and what their ideal Valentine’s day would be.

Loyal StricklinAlabama


Edison Wallet, Klein Wallet, Original Aviator Mug, Signature Flask Gift Set, Old Fashioned Leather Treatment

How did Loyal Stricklin come to be? What’s the origin of your name?

Loyal Stricklin started about a year and-a-half after I began working with leather. I was in grad school at Auburn University at the time and, the summer before, I had began working full time. Turning my then hobby/business into something more. That summer showed me my path: I was meant to turn this into my career. That fall, I took a small product that I made, but rarely thought about (the mason jar mug) and finalized the design now known as the Aviator Mug. That Christmas, with help from my new friends at Manready Mercantile, 1924us and Folk Magazine, demand just seemed to explode. That Christmas season proved that I was onto something.  That I could actually make a living at this. I continued on through August of the next year, going to school from 8am-2pm every day, often working until midnight and on the weekends fulfilling orders. We were busting at the seams, so we moved a few times as we grew, added employees, and expanded our operations to where we are now, working with Free People and so many other notable, wonderful stores and small businesses.

Loyal Ellis Stricklin was my father’s father. I never had the pleasure of meeting him, so I took his name for the business to honor my father — and his father’s memory.  I got my spirit for tinkering, creating and designing from my dad. Even still, quality time with my dad is spent in the garage, working on small projects, my old Land Rover that always seems to need something fixed, or just hanging out.

Describe Loyal Stricklin in 3 words: 

Loyal. Timeless. Quality.

What’s an average day look like for you?

It’s usually nothing very exciting.  I try to keep to the same routine every day: wake up around 8, make coffee and breakfast (we love Prevail Coffee Roasters and Mama Mocha’s — both great coffee roasters located in our town), check emails and work out.  I’m in the shop around 10.  If we have photos to edit, my wife — who does all of our photography — will work on those from home, otherwise she comes in with both me and our golden spaniel mix, Mason, who’s always running around the shop, bothering our team for scratches and playtime.  Then it’s on to answering more emails, sending out invoices and other not-so-fun business stuff.  By 11 or 12, I get to my day’s work, either helping Sarah make wallets, making bags or, if it’s a really good day, making something new. I love coming up with new designs and ideas — that’s how I fell into this work — but keeping production on track and directing our team, making sure a certain order is absolutely done on time, or interacting with customers takes time away from creating new things. Either way, I love the day-in-day-out.  We’re usually out of there at 6, but we often stay later during a busy season.  After that, we take Mason to run around in a park down the street, make dinner and relax, until we get to do it all over again the next day!

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How has living in Alabama influenced the collection? Do you have a favorite part about living in the South? 

We’re Southern born and bred, through and through.  Our studio is located in the heart of a small, historic railroad town called Opelika, Alabama. We love small town life and have grown to really appreciate how tight-knit our community is.  One of the things that has surprised me during the growth of our business is realizing the desire to help lift up the community, to provide jobs and offer people a reason to stick around. Small town life is definitely a bit slower. Kind faces are around every corner, folks say hello on the street, strangers hold doors open for each other, and the weather is more often beautiful than not.   This focus on southern life, the outdoors has really influenced our work, beginning with the mason jar. People use them for everything, from canning food to holding nicknacks to cups. So our Aviator Mug, which is essentially leather wrap and handle around a mason jar, was a natural choice. What has surprised us the most is how much people all over the world have loved them, too!  

Another thing about the south? We know bright sunshine as well a torrential downpour. It’s important that our gear can withstand those heavy afternoon showers, so we use waxed canvas on our non-leather bags to keep their contents nice and dry.

What would be your ideal Valentine’s Day?

An ideal Valentine’s day would probably be my ideal day in general. Wake up late, drink coffee with my wife and head outside. We’d hit our favorite local spots for coffee and food, and end the day by splurging on a delicious dinner. 

What’s the best V-day gift you’ve ever received?

It doesn’t get much better than chocolate. 


Do you have any words of advice for the girls who may be stumped on what to get their boyfriends for Valentine’s Day?

You can never go wrong with some leather goods, tools or sweets. Guys generally aren’t very picky so, if your guy is a good dude, he’ll be sure to love whatever you get him. We are partial to anything leather, whether it’s something inexpensive like a key chain or mug, or a bit pricier like a leather-wrapped growler or wallet.

Every year, we hear our customers raving over their new Aviator Mugs. It’s just something everyone can appreciate. If a gift makes you think of the giver with every use, then I’d say you did well. The design Free People came up with for the mugs we just made is pretty slick, too, so that’s a pretty solid choice!

Shop more Loyal Stricklin Products, and follow them on insta!

Sturdy Brothers, Georgia


Craft Waxed Tote

How did Sturdy Brothers come to be? What’s the origin of your name?

Well, Sturdy Brothers was really birthed out of a passion for well-made products, a desire to make things that would hold up for a lifetime. It started while working in the coffee industry. We wanted an apron that would hold up to the daily wear and tear of working in a coffee shop, so we made one.  

The name really goes to describing the products. We craft everything out of waxed canvas and leather. Waxed canvas was originally used for making ship sails and waterproof jackets. It is one of the only materials that will truly stand up to the elements of rigorous use.  We stand behind the claim that all of our products are Sturdy.

Describe Sturdy Brothers in 3 words: 

Canvas, Leather, Sturdy.

What’s an average day look like for Sturdy Brothers?

Part of being a small business means that we all play every role. One day might be spent balancing the checkbook, working in the shop, doing a photoshoot, managing customer service or purchasing machinery, though we recently expanded and hired several employees. This makes the workload more manageable. But, at the end of the day, I still end up dabbling with all aspects of the business.


How has living in Georgia influenced the collection? Do you have a favorite part about living in the South? 

In South Georgia there is a rich heritage of outdoor life.  Thomasville, in particular, is surrounded by plantations and farmland. So, perhaps naturally, hunting and Southern Tradition play a large part in our heritage, a heritage that many of our products complement. We believe all of our items would hold up to the rigors of the outdoors here.  The style has also been influenced by a sense of Southern charm which is so characteristic of the area.  

My favorite part about living in Georgia is the small town feel.  People are really friendly.  There is definitely a large amount of good ole’ Southern hospitality being spread around.  After living in Thomasville for 1 1/2 years, I feel like I know everyone.  Every time I run to the gas station or coffee shop, I run into someone I know. There is truly a sense of community here. 

What would be your ideal Valentine’s Day?

I’ve become a big sucker for quality time.  I think my ideal V-Day would be a full day together.  Some big events planned along the way, yes to all the flowers, and big dinners, but time together is the biggest thing.  It is so important to take the advantage to step back from the day to day hustle and reflect on how awesome someone is, cherish and celebrate them.  

What’s the best V-day gift you’ve ever received?

Once I received a huge jar full of little notes. Each one pointed out something my significant other loved about me. Most were quirky things I did, or adventures we had taken together. It was really meaningful.  

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The Charles Apron


Do you have any words of advice for the girls out there who may be stumped on what to get their boyfriends for Valentine’s Day? 

Of course! While it is so easy to just grab something off a shelf, why not invest in a quality-made product? When we take time to shop small, we invest in products that will last a lifetime, products which are made right here in the US!  That means more jobs for those on our soil, and it means a guarantee of American quality. Buy American Made, buy Sturdy!

Shop More Sturdy Brothers products, and follow them on insta!

Misc. Goods Co., Kentucky


Hard Card Case, Ceramic Flask, Luxe Playing Cards

How did Misc. Goods Co. come to be? What’s the origin of your name? 

The start of Misc. Goods Co. came from a series of poignant events which began at the end of 2012. I began my work in the creative industry as a graphic designer but, after several years of working for larger companies, I started freelancing. I’ve always had a specific vision for my work, and I believed I could better realize that vision by working for myself. After several months of steady jobs the work started running thin until it eventually dried up completely. I could have jumped ship, but I’ve always been optimistically naive about money and work. So, the very day in which I had no work…I decided to make work for myself. I wasn’t trying to build a company. I was simply trying to sharpen my skills as a creative discipline by designing the ace, king, queen and jack of a playing card deck. After three feverish months of no paying work, I had an entirely redesigned deck of playing cards with absolutely no money in the bank. Which may sound like an OK option for a starving artist…but I have a wife and had 2 kids at the time (4 now) and I needed to find a way to convert my practice into cash. I decided to launch the playing card deck on Kickstarter by placing a $6,250 goal price; by the end of the campaign, the total dollar amount raised was $146,000. I was shocked and humbled…I had customers, I had a product, and I had a platform to develop new ideas for the market.

Describe Misc. Goods Co. in 3 words:

Inventive, classic, authentic 

What’s an average day in the life look like for you?

Ahhh…yes. You’re asking this question after the most insane day-to-day year of my life. I am a family man. I don’t mean that as a superlative but as an action. I am a man who loves his family. My 8 month-old daughter is the apple of my eye, my three sons are my friends, and my wife is my best friend and has been for 10 years. So, my day usually starts with being awakened by one of our kids, which turns to starting a fire, spending some time in my Bible, making breakfast and then heading to work. Once I get in the office I tackle emails first. After emails I move on to either product development or design. This could be making phone calls to manufacturers or checking in with suppliers. It could be identifying a way to make a product work better, or it could be doing straight-up graphic design for our website, print material or products. I leave work at 5pm sharp every day, crack open a beer and hang at home. Oh. And I tweet a lot.

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How has living in Kentucky influenced the collection? Do you have a favorite part about living in the South? 

I believe that living in Louisville, Kentucky has shaped me as a person, and who you are really comes out when you design. Louisville is a city with a strong focus on arts and things of quality but, at the core of it, Louisville is a working-class city. The community here really believes in hospitality and authenticity and those are elements I try to incorporate in my products. But I would’t call Louisville the South and I wouldn’t call MGCO a Southern brand. There are certainly elements of those things (which are great, in my opinion) but I think both fall between a Southern and Northern stereotype.

What would be your ideal Valentine’s Day? 

Hanging out with Noel (my wife) at a super chill, small restaurant. I’m thinking like 6 courses over the course of 3 hours with lots of beer in between. Ever since we’ve had so many kids we’ve been in love with the idea of camping out for long periods of time at quiet, good and chill places.

What’s the best V-day gift you’ve ever received?

Noel has never been great with gifts … So I will have to make something up … A three week trip to Costa Rica.

Do you have any words of advice for the girls out there who may be stumped on what to get their boyfriends for Valentine’s Day? 

When it comes down to it…you shouldn’t be asking yourself “how you can I impress this person?” but instead asking “how can I bless this person?” That will look different for every relationship and person. It may be a piece of clothing he could never justify purchasing on his own, it may be that your boyfriend has been too busy to hang out with his friends and you organize a guy trip with his buddies, or it may be taking him out to a super chill restaurant for a 6 course meal. :-) Regardless, the best gifts are thoughtful and refreshing.

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Shop more Misc. Goods Co. Products and follow them on insta

Thanks, guys!

Browse more Valentine’s Day gifts. 

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8 years ago

I love seeing y’all feature and support smaller locally made businesses in America! It’s inspiring to hear them share their stories of success.

8 years ago

The family portrait at the end is hilarious and I love it! I might have to try and recreate :)