Becoming a craftsman isn’t always a predestined path.
After spending much of his professional life in front of a computer screen, Jan Den Hartogh felt something was missing. This missing piece in his working life would be the freedom to work with his hands. So, when Jan established Duke & Sons Leather in 2013, the link between working with not only his hands but also his heart was formed.
Finding real inspiration from the craftsmen he admired, Jan decided to hone his skills and began designing and making bespoke leather pieces. Taking strength from both the feedback he received on social media and the delight from the customers of his early creations Jan took the leap and dedicated himself in the art of working with leather by simply being ‘hands on’. He had found his craft.
A good friend told Jan, if you’re going to learn the skills of a craftsman the world will be your customer. Having started in his shed, more than 6 years later Jan has sold his goods to customers in over thirty countries and his passion for the craft still grows. His wife, Ingeborg has since followed this passion and they now work side by side creating goods together.
Jan’s love for the freedom of the open road is what brought us into contact with him. Whilst attending the Bike Shed Show in London, we were drawn to Jan’s stand by the bespoke leather accessories he’d customised for his own bike. A spark was ignited in our conversation when Jan found out we were the team behind his favourite beard oil brand. Equally, he’d been introduced to our products at the show a few years before by Frank Rimer who ran the original pop-up Barbershop at this annual event. Following the show, we kept in touch and have since travelled to Jan’s base in the Netherlands where we were welcomed into both his workshop and his home.
Much like us, Jan is a great advocate of heritage goods and brands that stay true to their origins. Hereby, through this meeting of minds and passion, a perfect partnership was forged. Collaborating with Jan to create some limited-edition and hand-crafted pieces has been a great journey. As a self-taught leather craftsman, he has a keen eye for detail and quality. A fine fit for Oil Can.
Shop the collection here.