Indy Like a Local
Who is Christian?
Founder of Howl + Hide, a line of leather bags and accessories he and his staff make out of Fountain Square storefront
Q. How long have you lived in Indy? When did you open Howl + Hide?
After spending time bouncing around the Midwest, I moved back to Indy in 2013, and I started Howl + Hide in my basement in 2015.
Q. What’s your background? What made you jump into starting your own business?
I have an extensive retail management background working on every side of the industry. I started Howl + Hide on a whim after seeing a poorly made leather bag in the mall. I taught myself how to work with leather in October of 2014 and quickly decided to start the business after seeing a demand for products in January of 2015.
Q. Why do you enjoy working with leather, and the process of making something, so much?
Historically, leather is one of the first textiles utilized and has never really gone out of style. I love the ability to manipulate the textile and the versatility of leather. Leather-working is process-oriented, meaning that if you skip or mess up one step in the process, your item will come out incorrectly, which I find incredibly interesting.
Q. What item have you made that you use every day?
To be honest, I make myself something pretty much every week so I'm always switching out what I'm using. I’ll have an idea for an item and I’ll make one to R&D and use to see if I like it. I’m a big fan of pouches and tote bags and tend to carry one of those every day.
Q. We love the new candy-colored bags you’ve recently introduced. What prompted you to branch out into such bright colors? Are those permanent?
While I love the classic black and brown items, I have to say I have been a little bored of doing the same things everyone else is doing. It’s taken years to source these colored leathers as they are so unique. We just wrapped up our first two items that we've launched in pink, blue, green, and red, and are going to slowly release every product in our current line in these colorways. I’m excited to say that yes, these colors will become our new stock colors!
Q. What are some of your favorite places or things to do around Indy?
I love supporting friends that have spots here in the city, and it's beautiful to see how it's grown in the last eight years. My go-to spots are Beholder, Milktooth, Dugout, Sam’s Silver Circle, Duke’s Indy, and Bluebeard. There is so much to see besides the restaurant and bar scene, however. I’m totally inspired by everything at the Eiteljorg and Newfields, and can get lost in Fort Harrison State Park and along the White River.
Q. What do you recommend visitors see and do while here?
Grab a cold beer and burger at Workingman’s Friend, head to White River State Park, pop into the Eiteljorg, absorb the knowledge and beauty of the monuments downtown, pick up some vintage from Zodiac, grab some appetizers from Bluebeard, and head to Duke’s Indy for a blast-from-the-past honky-tonk show.