(Photos | Courtesy of The Muddy Merch Co.)
The Muddy Merch, a small leather goods store that offers custom leatherwork in Downtown Redmond, carries a story about humble beginnings and surviving hardship. The original shop was founded back in 2018. Kristy Barton, the founder and owner of The Muddy Merch, spent two years operating out of her home’s garage. During this time, she focused on learning the skills of the trade, as well as developing a unique style that would stand out among the rest.
The Muddy Merch quickly outgrew the garage, and Barton had her sights set on opening up a storefront where customers could see their custom work in person. Then, 6 months into the pandemic in 2020, the opportunity to move out of the garage and into a small space on SW 6th Street opened up, and Barton jumped at the chance. Despite all the unknowns, The Muddy Merch successfully opened their doors during the pandemic and survived the looming shutdowns.
Opening in covid was tough because it was so turbulent, it felt like things changed daily,” Barton said. “It actually also helped us in a way, because so many people wanted to go out and find a smiling face, and we provided that.”
Now, The Muddy Merch is a welcome addition to the Downtown Redmond business scene, and offers a level of custom work that locals and tourists alike have been drawn to. Expanding from their original product line of hats with custom made and hand stitched leather patches, The Muddy Merch now provides custom leather work in the form of koozies, a variety of keychains, wallets and more. All of the items can be customized with names and/or logos, making them popular gifts for birthdays, bachelor/bachelorette parties, business retreats and other events.
Customers at the store can select from a variety of pre-stitched hats, or they can opt to make their own; the store offers over 300 hats and over 100 leather patches to choose from. All stitching is done by hand when the customer orders the hat, adding a personal touch to every hat that is sold.
While the retail side of the store is a substantial part of the business, The Muddy Merch also provides custom work for businesses looking for hats with their logos on them. The store offers businesses hats from a variety of manufacturers, all of which are then hand stitched with a leather patch emblazoned with the business’s logo, handcrafted by Barton.
For all custom work, customers can choose from eight different leather colors, allowing for as much personal expression as possible. After all, that is a belief held closely by Barton; that hats are personal, and can express a lot about a person. This belief motivates her to add a high attention to detail to every product she handcrafts, and this attention to detail can be seen in her work.
The Muddy Merch has been a trusted choice by businesses and individuals who are seeking a locally made, handcrafted gift, and this reputation is sure to grow. “We’ve been growing at a continuous rate and we plan on being here long term,” Barton said. “We’d love to offer more comprehensive service to customers and expand our product line with a variety of new custom leather goods.”
If Barton’s perseverance in the face of the pandemic shutdowns tells us anything, it’s that she has a true passion for her trade. This passion carries over into the products she creates, and will likely carry The Muddy Merch to a successful future.