Muse Belts began while sitting in traffic. I was living in Florida. One day I was stuck in heavy traffic on the Florida Turnpike and was getting bored waiting for the traffic to clear. While I was sitting and waiting I was reflecting on my life with my father who had recently died at the time and a gift he gave to me while I was little. An unusual leather belt. My dad was an artist and traveled at times and upon each return he would bring a gift. I remember this belt. I don’t know if he had made it or bought it. My Dad was an inspiration to me. He was a warm and loving husband and father. We would do things together like go fishing, or fly kites and model airplanes that we made together. He would design and make things and painted art as well. I miss him very much. After traffic cleared I returned home. I went and bought a strip of leather and recreated the belt that my father gave to me. I made many changes to the belt to make it better and more functional. Soon after, friends of mine wanted a copy of what I made.
I then began selling online in June of 2008 after encouragement from a sister. In the first 6 months I sold about 200 belts. The second year I sold about 1000. Since the beginning I estimate that I have sold 15,000 belts and cuffs to people in 39 countries. I use only vegetable-tanned leather and water-based edge coatings. In every aspect of my business I consider the environment most important. The leather scrap I have left-over from production is donated to art classes for children at local private schools. The children create different things with the leather. I enjoy working with children to inspire them to be creative. They will carry that creativity with them. I have donated scrap leather to other artists as well.
While my last name is Muse I use the noun form of the word as the basis of my business. My father has a lot to do with who I am today and with me starting this business because he inspired me. I hope that we inspire others, especially our children. Be an inspiration.
Born in Hagerstown, Maryland. My father was an educated artist and my mother was a German WWII survivor. I lived my formative years in Alexandria, Virginia. I attended TC Williams and graduated in '76. I spent a few years in the US Navy serving aboard two Naval aircraft carriers in Europe. I worked in the Aviation industry as a mechanic, quality control manager and designer of test equipment.