Odin Clack ’02 was just looking for a hobby that would spur his creativity, but his entrepreneurial spirit turned what began as a pastime into Odin Leather Goods, a thriving regional brand.

The seeds of the small business were planted in 2012 when Clack, a corporate director of online marketing, went into a leather shop on a whim and picked up the tools and materials he needed to make a laptop sleeve. 

Soon, his experiment bloomed into a hobby that began to consume a good portion of his evenings and weekends. “Hobbies are expensive,” he said. “I started wondering, ‘How can I get a return?’”

The Dallas-area resident quickly figured out how to turn his passion for leatherworking into a business and now makes a significant side income from his creations. He also has leveraged a small budget, his contacts, and social media to double his business and gain loyal customers around the world.

Clack – who handles all of the production, marketing and shipping – primarily focused on improving his processes in order to increase production. When he started working with leather, he made two to three wallets a week. Now he produces more than 50 wallets along with other types of leather goods in that time span. “I ship 20-30 orders per week. Half are outside the state of Texas,” he said. “It is also normal for me to have bulk orders each week that consist of 50-100 pieces. I would have thought this was impossible four years ago given that I’m a one man shop. By focusing on efficiently managing resources and my processes I’ve been able to dramatically improve production speed.”

Clack currently is focusing on making Odin Leather Goods into a significant regional brand. He also is starting to do co-branded work with a variety of well-established companies, including Southwest Airlines, Willie Nelson’s Luck Reunion, Jack Mason watches, Renaissance Hotels, and Rolls Royce.

Adding fuel to the entrepreneurial spirit

Clack, who earned a degree in marketing, credits Mays and Texas A&M University for instilling a strong work ethic and fueling his entrepreneurial spirit. He especially appreciates Mays internships, which gave him the opportunity to get real-world experience.  

As a student, he held a staff position in Texas A&M’s Department of Multicultural Services Department and served as co-chair for the Southwestern Black Leadership Conference. During his time in school, Clack also started a few businesses, including a small company in which he created web designs. “I came out of Texas A&M with a resume that showed a history of production, a history of work, and a history of success,” he said. “And I had numbers to back it up instead of just having a resume full of activities.”

New horizons opening up

Unlike many entrepreneurs who have a side business, Clack doesn’t want to eliminate his day job. “I enjoy what I do, and I’ve put the last 10-15 years into building my professional career,” he said. “My side business is a way to keep my creativity going, generate some additional income, and network.”

In an unexpected turn, Clack is beginning to share what he has learned from Mays, his day job and his small business with other entrepreneurs who are part of the maker’s movement.  “I have met a whole lot of great people and worked with a ton of great businesses in the area (through Odin Leather Goods),” he said. “Some of those contacts now are turning into consulting gigs. They’re looking at how I have grown my business and they’re asking, ‘How can I grow my business too?’”

Clack believes the combination of entrepreneurship and creativity offers a very viable way to earn a living. “In this day and age, with very little money in your pocket and a little bit of determination, you can generate significant income just off of good ideas, focus and a lot of hustle.”