How Philly Leather Goods Brand Hemlock and Hyde Got Its Start

For this Mount Airy design studio, it’s all about the leather.

hemlock and hyde

Hemlock and Hyde founders Leanne and Nick Polidore. Photograph by Jauhien Sasnou

Leanne Polidore on Hemlock and Hyde, the booming leather-goods brand she creates with her husband, Nick, out of their Mount Airy studio.

What we make: “Multiple styles of bags, plus belts, jewelry and more.”

How we got started: “I worked as the art director at local textile company Printfresh Studio. While I was there, a friend of mine who worked at a shoe store had all these old leather hides left over from a window display. They were going to throw them out, so I asked for them. I started making leather bowls for keys, and my husband made wallets. After a lot of trial and error, we launched our site in 2017 with five or six bags.”

Our first big investment: “We took the money we made from our first maker’s market show — the Fishtown Flea — and bought an industrial sewing machine.”

Our hallmark: “Our leather. There are two main types: chrome-tanned, which is a fast process with lots of chemicals, and vegetable-tanned, which takes six weeks and uses fewer chemicals. It’s better for the environment and lasts longer.”

hemlock and hyde

The Circle Cross Body bag in oak, $250, is one of many designs on offer from Hemlock and Hyde. Photograph by Nick Polidore

Our design inspiration: “I’ve always loved architectural lines and geometric shapes, but I grew up skateboarding and snowboarding. That led to my love of all things bohemian.”

My favorite bag: “The sling bag, a collaboration we did with Noble Goods in Chestnut Hill. It can be worn over your shoulder, on your back, across your body or around your waist.”

Buy at: You can also find a selection of goods at the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s new gift shop.

Published as “Bag It, Tag It” in the April 2020 issue of Philadelphia magazine.