We had the good fortune of connecting with Lupe Corona and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Lupe, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
Before I had my daughters, I worked toward a career in the NGO sector. I was in the Peace Corp in 2002, and while I worked on my assignment I also dreamed of being a designer and maker, influenced by the work around me in the streets of Morocco. In 2004 caring for my daughter, I realized that my previous work did not suit a life of a mother, so I decided to reinvent myself and began to plan to return to the arts. Leather was my primary medium at first, and it’s evolved ever since.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am self-taught — from books, YouTube instructional videos, kits from Tandy Leather, my own trial and error. The learning curve has been long. It’s definitely a skill that takes time. But after working on it for 10 years, I’m finally feeling the flow.

My work is based on and created from what is front of me, I look at the leather and make sometime based on what I see — a tote, a small wallet, etc. I have skins that I have not used because I’m still not sure what direction they should take. 
I’m not excited by perfect. I like the imperfections that come with what I work with.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
When I lived in Los Angeles, we liked Taix for food and The Echo for music. Now I live in Santa Barbara. I recommend visiting Summerland and the Funk Zone. Since the pandemic, the city has closed lower State Street to cars, so it’s all about walking and outdoor dining. I hope they keep it that way.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My family.

Website: www.themerchantstudio.com

Instagram: the_merchant_studio

Other: https://www.pinterest.com/merchantstudio/

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.