Leaving a Mark

Isaac Childs, founder and CEO of Rustico.

Isaac Childs, founder and CEO of Rustico.

Inspired by the spirit of adventure, Rustico leather places authenticity and craftsmanship at its heart.

 Written by Karine Monié

“In 1998, I went on a nine-week backpacking trip in Europe equipped with several journals to document the journey,” remembers Isaac Childs, founder and CEO of Rustico. “Later that year, when returning to one of the journals, pages had already begun falling out.” So frustrating was this lack of quality craftsmanship and durability, he notes, “I became obsessed with creating a notebook that would be able to withstand the rigors of travel and trekking as well as time.”

That obsession led to Rustico’s first product, the traveler journal, which remains one of the brand’s bestsellers today—and Childs’s favorite. Made with premium quality materials in a workshop in Lindon, Utah—also home to a storefront for customers to peruse products in person—Rustico’s notebooks, bound journals, photo albums, wallets, belts, bags and more are created to develop a patina over time. Honoring the Southwest aesthetic and lifestyle, these accessories would have perfectly suited John Wayne’s style and complemented his many outdoor exploits.


“I became obsessed with creating a notebook that would be able to withstand the rigors of travel and trekking as well as time.”

— Isaac Childs

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The expectation, according to Childs, is that users will leave their mark on the products, “whether that is through the wear and tear you put on the leather, or the writing you leave behind for future eyes to see, or the inspiration that you get from writing down your thoughts to live intentionally.” The look for each of Rustico’s goods is “simple, minimalistic, a bit raw and a bit blank,” he continues. “We are always striving for a ‘less is more’ type of approach.”

Rustico, however, is not just about making great leather goods, it is also—and above all—about adding value to the lives of those who use the products. “Writing down our journeys, our experiences, our lives, provides such powerful tools for reflecting on our days, for calming our minds and aligning our purpose with our actions, for preserving and leaving memories for future generations,” Childs says. Explore, create—all is part of the adventure.

John Wayne knew something about this. Passionate about travel and exploration as sources of inspiration and ways to free the mind—as Wayne himself was—Childs still considers Rustico a journal company even if he continuously works with his team on different types of complementary products and accessories. He remains interested in new ideas without compromising the high level of durable, American craftsmanship. “I think what makes us so unique is that we demand a very high level of excellence on the craft we choose to make,” he says. “I try to be open and ready for the next project to be my dream project and take that in as they come.” Childs’s spirit of adventure is here to stay—Duke would certainly approve.


“I think what makes us so unique is that we demand a very high level of excellence on the craft we choose to make”


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Photographs courtesy of Rustico