We interviewed Michael, CEO at Circa of America in January 2017.
What is Circa of America?
Circa designs and produces some of the finest leather goods in America. We have clients ranging from start-ups to global brands such as Gap, J. Crew, Calvin Klein, Target and Allen Edmunds.
We have been in business since 1967, always based in San Francisco. In fact, we will celebrate our 50-year anniversary this year, in 2017.
How did the company get started?
It dates back to 1967. The founder Ronaldo Cianciarulo began handcrafting belts for individual customers in a small studio on Haight Street. He formed The Leather Shop, Inc. in 1970, and the company evolved from an individual craftsman, to a manufacturer, to full service partner for global retailers and brands.
We are now the largest leather goods manufacturer in the US, and the largest factory in San Francisco! We employ over 160 people with an average tenure of 18 years, and we are proud of the fact!
Can you tell us more about you?
I came to Circa in June of 2016, with over 15 years of experience and after having lead large companies in the apparel, retail and consumer products space.
I love San Francisco, and I am also a St. Louis Cardinals fan!
Can you think of a Leather Fun Fact?
Yes! The average American has with them 4 pieces of leather at all times — shoes, belts, wallets, key ring, handbags, etc… and hopefully some made by Circa.
Also, it is not so much a fun fact as an impressive one: we can make 10,000 finished products per day in our factory.
Why manufacture locally?
Maybe is has something to do with our contrarian roots, starting with the counter culture of the late 60’s… When everyone went offshore in the 90’s, we saw a value in staying local, offering great quality, and supporting the people & families who built the company. Our workforce has often spanned multiple generations in the same family!
We truly believe in the quality of local craftsmanship and we can proudly say that Circa products are sustainably Made in the USA.
Why did you join SFMade?
We joined SFMade because the values of Circa align very closely to those of SFMade. Our company has been built around local manufacturing, hiring local people and giving back to the community, while also providing a great manufacturing work environment.
Anything new at Circa?
Our designers always search for what’s new: emerging trends, the finest materials, product innovations… There is a dramatic consumer shift happening, but we see this as a wealth of opportunity.
We will become more visible with our retail partners who focus on local, on responsible, and on fast. The consumer wants to know where and how things are made, and we are perfectly positioned to answer.
At the same time, we are working on cultivating a more direct relationship with the consumer. Look out for Circa Leathergoods online: coming to Amazon in February!
-an interview by Janet & Pierre @ SFMade