The Story of Clever Supply Co.

Posted by Todd Balsley on

It’s the Fall of 2010, I had just started the beginning of a 6-year journey in wedding photography. I thought I found my life calling (spoiler alert, I didn't work out that way.) As a new wedding photographer, I’d spend loads of time hunting for gear that helped me do my job better. In my search for the best equipment I naturally explored different camera straps, I found a lot of good (and not so good) options that seemed to work for most people, but not for me.

You see there were some camera straps that were innovative but were made of materials I didn't like, while other options had a more refined style but were uncomfortable to wear while casually shooting. So you know what I did? I searched, found some things I didn’t like, and then ultimately I gave up…

wedding photographer with camera strap

Fast forward to 2017, a year after I had left the wedding industry, by this time I picked up leather-working as a hobby. Initially, all I wanted to do was make a cool wallet, but it didn’t take long for me to become obsessed with my new found hobby. In this busy and noisy world, I’ve found the quiet and calm I desire with just being alone, working with my hands and making something that could one day be passed down to my kids.

leather wallets
As I learned more, I started making different things. Eventually, as you might guess, I thought I’d try my hand at making my own camera strap. On a personal level, I still shot quite a bit, but because I no longer shot weddings, the pressure was off for the perfect camera strap. So here’s what I came up with, the first camera strap I ever made. I know I know, it looks rough, and guess what, it felt rough too!

leather camera strap, fuji xpro2 camera

I was determined though, I wanted something that fit MY needs as a photographer, so I kept working and with each iteration, it became clear what those needs were. I wanted a strap that felt comfortable, looked great and made shooting easier.

To accomplish this I spent a lot of time deciding on the right leather, ultimately I chose a style that is tanned to require little break-in, making it feel great from day one.

leather hides for camera straps

In my mind my ideal strap needed to provide an elevated experience over other traditional straps. For this “elevated experience”, I decided a quick connection system was important, so I could easily adapt to my shooting needs.

With those principles in mind, I finally came up with a design I was proud of at the beginning of 2019. I had a bunch of other photographers test the design for me as well and give me great feedback. Later that summer I launched a successful Kickstarter campaign, I couldn’t believe it, the camera strap I wanted for myself just so happened to be the camera strap a bunch of other people wanted too. I learned a bunch in this process and even made some more design changes that would lay the foundation for our core lineup of camera straps using Peak Design hardware.

leather camera bag with two cameras and camera straps, a plant and cup of coffee

By the summer of 2020 we saw steady growth in the brand which led to my wife coming on board to help with our operations, making us a family team effort.

We exist to serve the artist, and we want every photographer to enjoy carrying their camera and be empowered to do more with their work. Even though our story is still being written, we're grateful for the chance to serve you, so we'll continue to enjoy the process, while you enjoy the carry.

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  • These look like really nice straps. Have you thought about making a strap that allows the wearer to adjust the length. I will order some of your current straps, but I really like to be able to adjust the length depending on my mood and the camera I am carrying on any one day. Thanks!

    David Leibowitz on

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