We had the good fortune of connecting with Martin Martinez and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Martin, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
We started Orox because we wanted to revive our family’s trade in a new country, a new culture. Risk is part of every new business venture, but I’d say we took some especially large risks in the beginning. Starting from nothing in an unfamiliar land, operating in a foreign language, with no connections or community, you have only your skill, perseverance, and hope to keep you going and thriving during the toughest times. Fear can be a big obstacle to taking risks, but my father taught us, as his father taught him, not to let fear determine your decisions or keep you from pursuing your path.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Orox Leather Co. is a fourth-generation, family-owned leather goods company that designs & manufactures high quality, long lasting belts, wallets, purses & bags. Everything we make is built to last a lifetime, and created with thoughtful details, intention, and aesthetics. The Martinez family began making leather goods in Oaxaca, Mexico & has passed down the craft for over 100 years.
If you are a parent, what do you think is the most important thing you’ve done as a parent in terms of the impact on your children?
I grew up around leather. Some of my earliest childhood memories of playing in between leather hides and scraps as I watched my dad make the coolest leather goods alongside my grandfather. They worked hard together, not only to put food on the table but also to create beautiful works of art. I want my kids to have a similar experience to my own- to know the value of hard work and learn that they can tackle life’s challenges while pursuing creativity and have fun while doing it. I also want my children to know how important family is and to prioritize people. There are some unique challenges that family businesses face, and it’s important to keep people at the center of your goals for the business.
What is the most important factor behind your success / the success of your brand?
If I’m being honest, the last year has felt like anything but a success- the pandemic brought us some pretty tough challenges we’re still recovering from. What I am grateful for, though, is that we’re all healthy and our business is still standing- so, in that way, we have succeeded. In a larger sense, though, there are a few guiding principles that have helped shape us over the years-
We have been able to pivot quickly when obstacles come our way- we are able to stay creative, nimble and make changes as needed to keep the business moving forward.
Remaining united as a family, even in the tough times, has helped us remain focused and committed, even when we have internal disagreements or outside pressures threaten to break us apart.
Our long history in this craft (our multigenerational story goes back to 1933) keeps us rooted. Leather crafting is almost in our DNA- it’s who we are, and we’re proud of that identity. As a small business owner, it’s important that you have pride and love for your work- you can’t rely on outside validation for what you do, or it will never be enough.
Riley Brown (Photographer)