Jacob Zepf and Seth Daniels embarked on an artistic journey that started with Seth creating custom leatherwork in his garage for family and friends. Jacob and Seth then decided to work together to offer pop-up stores at events in and around Orlando. The pop-up experience led to the opening of Freehand Goods, a brick-and-mortar store in 2017 at the East End Market in the Audubon Park Garden District of Orlando.
This location is one of Orlando’s most recognizable gardens and offers visitors a multitude of retail stores and restaurants known for their amazing cuisine. “Our neighborhood has it all and we are very thankful to be in the area we are. We are lucky enough to be inside East End Market which is a community hub for the entire neighborhood,” said Jacob.
They opened the original storefront on Feb. 1, 2017, and the second store on Nov. 1, 2019. Both Seth and Jacob handle the daily operations and business along with one part-time staff member.
Freehand Goods is a store with truly all American-made goods that both Jacob and Seth are extremely involved in creating. “Our products are unique because they are all completely handmade by Seth or I,” shared Jacob. “On any given day you can walk into either of our stores and see us making the leather goods, or pouring the candles. We use the highest quality materials to make products that last a lifetime.”
The store does carry some items not handcrafted from the duo. Outside vendors include United By Blue, Opinel, Field Notes and Oxford Pennant. “We feel these are complimentary products to the ones we make in the shops,” Jacob said.
Overall the curated merchandise mix includes leather wallets, cardholders, belts and accessories, along with all natural grooming products for men, Florida-centric t-shirts and gifts for everyone — including cosmetics for women. “We wanted to create a men’s store in a city lacking options for quality handmade products,” he said.
Jacob shared his favorite part of owning the business: “The creative process of coming up with a new product, designing and building that product and then putting it out on the sales floor to get immediate reactions and feedback from our customers.”
Freehand Goods displays are designed to capture shopper’s attention. Jacob shared he rearranges product “constantly” in order to keep the store looking new and exciting. “We move around certain products daily, while our staple items remain in the same spots so they’re easy to find for our regular customers,” he explained.
Jacob shared it is important to him and Seth that customers see new product wherever they look and have found it successful to put as many products, even backstock, on the sales floor. “I think about sales per square foot often since we’re in such a small space, so I always try to maximize the amount of sales I can do in each square foot we have. Using empty wall space for rotating art has helped us keep the space looking fresh while making a space previously unused, very profitable,” he explained.
Under the leadership of Jacob and Seth, Freehand Goods has flourished. Part of that success comes from the owners’ willingness to try new things and to better serve its customers. Although the shop is on the smaller side, the owners effective merchandising and excellent customer service have helped it capture the sales and grow its business.
- Home Décor: 8″ x 10″ Art Prints from Veronica Steiner
- Kitchen Items: Spirit Infusion Kits from Aged & Infused
- Stationery & Greeting Cards: Cards from Humdrum Paper
- Apparel/Accessories: Shirts and Leather Wallets from Freehand Goods.
- Candles/Fragrances: Signature Soy Candles from Freehand Goods.
- Baby & Kids: Florida Baby Wrestling Club onsie from Freehand Goods