As told by Founder & Co-Owner, Rusty Zylstra
Sidnaw Company is an independent, family-owned small business that makes high-quality, long-lasting gear built for the outdoors.
Where it all began - when I was 12, I began to modify and hand-stitch my own clothes. I would patch my torn clothing, sew band patches onto items, or alter a pair of baggy jeans into skinny jeans. Nothing too crazy, but I enjoyed the creativity of the process and being able to make the clothes my own. This hobby planted the seed that would grow into a business.
As I matured, so did my designs. Patterns and product ideas grew in complexity and detail. Friends and acquaintances noticed my work, and in 2009 I started making leather goods out of a 10x10 shed.
In 2010 I bought an old, weathered school bus named ‘Mercy,’ where I lived, sewed, and traveled with Kait. When I started the company, ‘Mercy’ was instinctively repurposed for the sake of the brand, and Mercy Supply Co. was born. I sold leather belts, wallets, and bags.
In the fall of 2020, we knew it was time for a change, the company had evolved, and we wanted a name that reflected that change. The new name needed to speak directly to our values - our love for our family, our dedication to quality, and our passion for the outdoors.
Sidnaw is a small town in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula where I spent much of my childhood with my grandparents. Besides its significant personal meaning, the town embodies what we hope to be as a brand. That is, unaffected by trends or the hustle and bustle of the busyness of life. And so Mercy Supply Company became Sidnaw Company.
Sidnaw Company is a family affair. We are Rusty and Kait, the two-person, husband-and-wife team behind Sidnaw Company. Rusty designs, sews, and manufactures our products. Kait handles the backend - the website, photography, inventory, pricing, shipping, bookkeeping… You get the picture. Since we got married in 2013, our family has grown. Daughter, North, and pup, Ishmael, help us keep things interesting. Our business is run out of our backyard workshop in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Our values speak to the heart of our business: why we do what we do, what we’re passionate about, and what we’re doing to make the world a better place.
Family means everything to us. Sidnaw Company is a small business that supports our small family. The town of Sidnaw is where I picked wild blackberries with my grandmother and learned how to drive stick shift in my grandfather’s truck. We choose Sidnaw as our new company name because of the direct connection to our values, including our love for our family.
We make an effort to minimize waste by finding as many local or made in USA companies to source materials from, using as little plastic as possible, and using deadstock materials when we can. Not everything we use is made in the USA, but we do our best. The products we make are durable and long-lasting, which means they won’t end up in a landfill after a year of wear and tear. It’s better for the environment and for our customers.
Made in the USA
Our products are made in the USA. And as part of minimizing our waste, we try to source as many materials as we can within the US. By sourcing materials here vs. abroad, we can cut down on how far materials are shipped, which helps reduce our carbon footprint. It’s also important to us that we work with other small businesses that treat their employees well and pay them fairly.
Sidnaw Company produces a small collection of handmade products inspired by the outdoors and our own lives and experiences. Because we use the same products that we sell, they are designed to be functional and durable. Items that will work just as well today as they will years from now.
Our clothes don’t wear out; they wear in. But if you use your gear as much as we do, we know that some issues are inevitable. Often the most well-loved pieces end up a little worse for wear. In keeping with our desire to minimize waste and prolong the life of our products, we offer free repairs on the majority of Sidnaw Company products. Check out our Repairs page for more information about the repair process.
Our products work as hard as you do. Products made for the outdoors, good weather and bad alike. We stand by our craftsmanship and our commitment to creating practical, USA-made products built to last. Our goal has always been and will always be to make the best damn product for outdoor enthusiasts.