Hi, I'm Geoffrey Franklin. I'm an 8th generation Oregonian, born and raised in Beaverton and Weston, Oregon. I graduated from the University of Oregon Architecture School.
I run Walnut Studiolo with my wife, Valerie. I design and craft all the products in my workshop, and Valerie runs the business side.
In 2008, my wife Valerie and I moved from the suburbs to the cycling-friendly neighborhood of Southeast Portland, Oregon to be closer to our jobs and friends. When I started bicycle commuting to work, I found I wanted things that didn't exist, like old-fashioned leather bar wraps. I was poring over a book of modern photography of vintage Italian bicycles, when I noticed all the leather accents that must have been nearly 100 years old still looked gorgeous. I couldn't find anything on the market like I wanted, so I decided to create my own unique designs for myself.
In 2009, facing the Great Recession, my wife Valerie decided to post them on Etsy to see what would happen, and we were quickly surprised and excited by the reaction. We grew the business out of our home garage in Southeast Portland, Oregon. We owe a great deal to the support of the Portland bicycle community in getting started, in particular BikePortland.org and the BikeCraft festival.
Fast forward several years, and now Walnut Studiolo supports us both full-time. We love working together from home, so in January 2016, we moved our home and studio into a space with a bigger workshop on the gorgeous Oregon Coast, fulfilling our lifelong dream of living close to the sea.
Bicycle accessories have been my core focus but as I grew my business, I came to expand into other fields that I love, like travel games, beer, and architectural accents like drawer handles. I love learning how to work leather as a medium. Eventually I also started enjoying the juxtaposition of leather and wood.
In these products, I'm expressing my love for good design, architectural concepts, and natural materials in products that I would want to use myself...and I do use myself. I design all of the products you see here from scratch and I field-test all my design until I'm comfortable with them before listing them on our shop.
My goal is to make high-quality, beautiful, durable, and most of all functional solutions to everyday problems. Thank you for buying small and handmade. I put my heart in everything I make.
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WALNUT is a registered trademark.
Originally trained as an architect, Geoffrey Franklin practiced architecture until 2015. Check out his architectural design work at www.walnutarchitecture.com.
A professional project manager, Valerie Franklin does some limited outside consulting, and is a freelance magazine writer focused on beer, bicycling, and travel. Check out her work at valerieschaferfranklin.com