For Vincent and Jessie Leman, turning their crafty creations into sellable décor was the most unexpected and enjoyable wedding presents they received.
The duo had already been making custom furniture together for some time when they married in 2006. The blossoming business grew suddenly and quickly right around the time of their nuptials.
Just one month after their wedding, the newlyweds took their show on the road, literally, to a wholesale market in Philadelphia. Due to the many orders from different galleries and stores, the couple needed to design their products full time.
“We didn’t really decide we could do our craft for a living. It was a decision that made itself for us,” Vincent admitted. “That’s the moment where we took the dive and decided ‘we are really going to do this.’”
Uncommon Handmade items are designed and crafted from the Leman’s studio near their home in Valparaiso, Ind., yet pieces have sold in Chicago, West Elm stores, Australia, Paris and Japan. They make pieces individually, but each creation serves as a collaboration between the two.
Born between their unique chemistry together and artistic drive since childhood, the twosome’s furniture line expanded in 2009 to include a variety of handmade items.
Uncommon Handmade offers “homey meets modern” décor and fashion accessories online. The collection of brightly colored clocks, wooden dollies, rings and wall art mixes old-fashioned charm with clean, contemporary designs.
The Lemans were a match, relationship- and business-wise, from the start. Vincent grew up in his family’s custom cabinetry shop in Francesville, Ind.
“I’ve been drawing and creating since I was a kid,” he said. “My artistic venting finds its way out in furniture and wooden carvings. It’s just a medium for me to express myself.”
Combined is Jessie’s trained eye in graphic design.
“I like the whole idea of crafts and making things with your hands to turn a sketch into something real and physical that you can touch and interact with,” Jessie said.
“We really do make a good team,” Vincent gushed. “It’s about putting your heart into it.”
“And having a connection to a piece,” Jessie said, finishing her husband’s sentence. “That’s what attributes to a feeling of home.”