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Studio Visit: DoomedNYC

Leather accessories designed for female motorcyclists but suited for any creative adventurist, handcrafted in Brooklyn

by CH Contributor in Design on 30 July 2014

by Tara Fraser

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Rachael Inman and Jason Goodrich, motorcyclists and founders of leather goods label DoomedNYC, are no strangers to going fast and learning how to take a fall—whether on a bike or in business. The creative couple recently set up shop in a small studio in Brooklyn's Greenpoint neighborhood, where Inman handcrafts beautifully functional motorcycle accessories for fellow female riders.

We stopped by their newly acquired studio, which they share with purveyors of Americana goods Kill Devil Hill and their pug Skipper, to discuss the path they've paved so far and where they see themselves in the future.

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How did you and Jason start working together?

We met six and a half years ago on set in Colorado and fell in love with each other. Jason lived in New York and I lived in Colorado. We spent two and a half years keeping in touch and when I finished college, I decided to move to New York as I had planned to. Once I was here, we made it work. Being that we are both artists and creatives [Inman a former photo producer and Goodrich a photographer], over time this idea started to blossom. We looked at what he liked to do and what I liked to do and also how we were growing together.

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What is the inspiration behind the leather goods?

It comes from personal experience. I started riding motorcycles three years ago and I quickly realized that women riders was a neglected market for a long time, even though it has been growing over the years. There just weren't really any products available for women who ride, and so the concept for DoomedNYC leather started from me making products for myself that were functional and yet fashionable. Just because I am riding, I still want to look good, but I needed to have a product that worked for me and functioned the way I needed it to. So I started just for me, but then in January I quit my full-time job, not wanting to be in an office anymore, and I thought to myself, "I love doing this. People have responded well to the products I am making. I'm going to go for it."

When I first started riding, I rode with all guys. It was a boys club, which was actually where my makeup roll first started. I would ride with all guys and we'd ride to an event where there were a ton of freshly showered women, but I would be covered in bugs and grease with helmet hair. I saw this and knew that I still wanted to be able to ride and be femme, so I made the makeup roll for myself to help me be able to get a touch-up once we got to our event.

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What's it like being a female rider in Brooklyn?

I remember there was one female rider I met randomly in Brooklyn at an event and it was something like her second ride on her motorcycle, and I just got so excited when I met her. I introduced myself so that we could go riding together. She explained to me she was very new to riding, and was afraid to go on the highway, but after riding around Brooklyn together for about 30 minutes, she decided she was ready to get on the highway together. So we did and she just took off. It was amazing and I really hold on to and love this story because it really does embody the idea of how seeing other women ride really ignites each other's confidence.

After Babes Ride Out, a girlfriend of mine, Korina, started The Miss-Fires here in New York. So now we have a female riding group on the East Coast. We all get together to do rides and events, like fundraisers. Then naturally during the winter it isn't riding weather, so every Monday we get together at the garage to work on a girl's bike and bring in technicians to help teach us how to properly work on our own motorcycles. It's been a really amazing group of women to be a part of, whether it's riding or doing events. It truly helps empower and inspire women to ride. There are so many women who are "thinking about getting a bike" or they really would like to ride, but they don't feel very secure in their decision. Therefore, when you meet 78 of us, it really helps you understand that you can do it too.

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What is your design process like?

Honestly, I didn't go to school for design. I did study industrial design so I have some hands-on [training], but typical designers may sketch out their design and go through their process. But when I first started making bags, I would find a piece of leather that I fell in love with and I'd hang out with it for awhile. It may sound weird, but I would assess it like, "How does it feel, how does it bend, what are some interesting scars that I'd like to feature, what is it?" I think also part of it is that 75% of my business is custom work, which allows me to explore. It's not creating that one design and manufacturing it repeatedly—although we do have pieces that are like that. Being able to familiarize myself with the leather allows my process to be unique. Generally it works out. I haven't had too many bad fuck-ups [laughs]. That's part of the process though—because it is not 100% planned, it forces you to not just throw it aside, but to learn how to work with the mistakes you've made.

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And all of your leather goods are American-made?

Yep. It's all handmade by me. My leather is sourced in Pennsylvania, but all the designs, work, sewing and riveting is done by me. Each piece takes about six hours to make. So I would say it's American-made, American handmade! [laughs]

What the most popular item for females?

I'm fond of the makeup roll personally, but the Lone Wolf bag with the medicine pouch is one of my biggest sellers. The beauty of the pieces is that the idea behind functionality comes from women who ride, but a lot of women who buy my pieces don't actually ride. That, for me, is the best part because you don't have to be a motorcyclist to buy the pieces but if you are—there is that bonus.

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I am big fan of fringe so everything is going to start having a little more fringe added onto it. We are looking to launch beaded work in September as well as an accessories line sometime in the fall. Expect more leather, spikes and chains.

How do you envision DoomedNYC in the future, and what are you working on next?

Our ultimate vision for DoomedNYC is to have a collective collaborative house, bringing creatives together. Since Jason does photography and I do leather work, we want it to be like an umbrella. Eventually, we'd like to have a studio space where people can come in and practice their own craft, whether it's leather work, jewelry-making, photography or building motorcycles. It would be about building a space, whatever that might be.

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There are a lot of collaborations coming up. I am working on a custom camera bag for Jason. I have bartenders who contact me all the time looking for a piece to help them with their tools, and DJs who are looking for bags to allow for them to carry their equipment. This company has really turned into a project that really creates products for creatives that can help them while protecting their tools of the trade. It gives people the ability to transport their things easily. Especially being in New York and riding public transportation, you have to carry the essential tools—and I can help make it easier.

DoomedNYC leather accessories are made to order and can be purchased online.

Images by Karen Day

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