PhilosophyAt the heart of Redleaf Designs is a commitment to custom gear that makes your experience in the wilderness better. Great outfitting, tailored to you and your needs, makes a real difference in the outdoors, whether on a quick afternoon workout paddle or a 6-month source-to-sea expedition. We believe that every customer is unique, and the gear they use should be, too.
In a world where everything is mass-produced, we're proud to offer bespoke equipment, sewn in our family’s loft from the best materials. Our products are designed with love, crafted with care, built for the long haul, and personalized to perfection. It’s a great honor to help our customers achieve unparalleled adventure with our gear by their sides.
ConnectionBehind every successful business is a community of loyal customers. We aim to build more than just transactions; we strive to develop relationships. We want to know your stories, your joys, your aspirations. We want to be a part of your laughter, your celebrations, and your milestones. We want to walk alongside you in your journey.
Thank you for supporting our family business. We promise to continue earning your trust and striving to exceed your expectations with every piece of gear we create.
We can't wait to get to know you better.
AS TOLD BY JEREMYWhen I was about 4, I was at the Lake Fenton Sailing Club while my dad and brother raced our family’s Lighting-class sailboat. I wandered into the basement and discovered the most wonderous sight - the rep from North Sails, repairing seams and patching holes with a clickety-clack walking-foot sewing machine.
I was transfixed, watching the rep push mountains of raggity, torn fabric into the machine, emerging as neat, perfect, equally mountainous sails on the other side. The flame of a maker’s spirit was sparked to life in that moment.
Fast forward about 10 years and I was a teenaged sea kayak paddler, paying for my gear and boats by mowing lawns and raking leaves. I couldn’t afford fancy dry bags, so my mom, a life-long sewist and quilter, taught me to make my own from directions in Sea Kayaker magazine and supplies mail-ordered from Seattle Fabrics.
Over the next 20 years, Cassandra I met, got married, chased a number of career paths, started a family, and kept paddling, cycling, and hiking. I also sewed more dry bags, dozens of organic cotton, fitted baby diapers, spray decks, tool rolls, tow rig bags, deck bags, and much more.
It was a wonderful adventure, but we were both restless.
The OpportunityWe had a number of side businesses as we built our careers and family, most based on creativity, hand-made products, paddlesports, or a combination of all three. The side-gigs were fun and fulfilling, but we both wanted a real family business.
In 2019, we found out that Sue Audette, the famed Bag Lady and maker of the Original Bag Lady Canoe Cover, was planning to retire. Sue graciously decided to pass the Bag Lady legacy on to us. A few weeks later, Redleaf Designs was born and The Bag Lady line of canoe covers moved from Sue's garage in Connecticut to our sewing loft in Skandia, Michigan.
In 2020, we stepped away from corporate consulting and voice over work to fully focus on RedLeaf Designs. Since then, it's been our sole family income and you'll regularly find all four of us in the shop, working together.
TodayIt's one of those fairytale, corporate-career-to-small-family-business stories, complete with the hard work, sweat, tears, commitment, frustration, joy, and fulfillment that are rarely mentioned in the feel-good, made-for-Facebook posts and reels.
Today, canoe and kayak transport covers are still our core products, but we've added exceptional spray decks, splash covers, seat pads, paddle pockets, tether tabs, and more. Ultra-light Dyneema Composite Fabric and Ultra products are coming in 2024, and the future looks bright, indeed!
Jeremy even gets to push those mountains of fabric through clickity-clackity sewing machines, fulfilling one of his earliest childhood dreams . . .