In the back corner of Alan James Co., atop a tall cabinet, a square shadow box reveals the inspiration for the leather crafts shop.
Two pairs of Nike Air Force 1s – one low, one high – with a dart board, Boston Red Sox cap, cross, and correctional officer badge pack the small case. They belonged to Bill Laudon’s younger brother, Bobby.
Each leather wallet, custom belt and bags on display in the shop window at the Worcester Public Market were made because of Bobby.
About a year and a half ago, Bobby passed away suddenly. He hid his drug addiction from family and friends. When addiction took hold of his little brother, Laudon imagined countless actions and words he wanted to express.
“There are a lot of things that I would have liked to do. This exact thought. There are a lot of things I would have liked to do, ”said Laudon. “I don’t want to wish this anymore. I want to be a creator.
The loss of Laudon’s life led him to quit his career as a master architectural sheet metal mechanic and open Alan James Co.
Alan James Co. is filled with handmade leather goods, which Laudon can be seen making through the window on Green Street. Beyond the objects he has already made, Laudon offers tailor-made orders.
“I’m terrified. I just want to perform well,” Laudon said. “I at least want the vision to satisfy people with what I’m doing, I really hope I can do it. I really hope I can deliver something like that.
About three years ago, Laudon started making knives at Wellesley College, which sparked a passion for leather.
“I needed a place to put the knives,” Laudon said. “This is where the leather came in.”
Soon the pleasure of creating a sheath outweighed the craft knives.
Laudon posted one of his creations on Facebook. The reaction started secondary activity.
“People wanted that stuff,” Laudon said. “I posted a photo and someone wanted it. I would do something for someone else. I would post a photo and have a whole other project. It helped me to create my workshop. It helped me create everything I have here.
As a child, Laudon’s curiosity led him to take toys and other objects apart to investigate and determine how they worked. As an adult he built various things on the side for people. Then his brother died. His hobby became his career.
“I realized that life is too short,” Laudon said. “I couldn’t bear to spend another minute wondering what if. “
Leather remained Laudon’s passion until his first show last year at St. George’s Cathedral in Worcester.
“It was scary,” said Laudon. “I had never introduced myself.”
His stand caught the attention of Worcester Public Market Executive Director Domenic Mercurio. On the spot, Mercurio mentioned a potential space within the market.
A week later, Mercurio calls Laudon.
“I said, ‘Let’s take a look, because I have this vision,’ Laudon said.
Laudon saw a small space in Worcester, where he and his brother grew up. He saw a place with foot traffic so that customers and pedestrians could watch him making leather goods. He envisioned a space to honor his brother. Alan was Bobby’s middle name. James is in Laudon.
“They showed me that space and I said ‘This is it’,” Laudon said. “And I’m standing here now.”
It is a space where his brother’s memory can live, a business where he can create objects that have meaning for others and a passion that Laudon hopes he can pass on to others.
“I really try to create more than leather,” said Laudon. “The reason I’m here is more than I’m a creator. I want to create something with my life and give something with my abilities.