Michael-Todd Moen 

Where do you live? 
Warren RI ( smallest town in the smallest county in the smallest state in the USA).

When did you start your brand? How did it start? 
“Brand” started approx. 5 years ago. Been doing leather work as a hobby for approx. 17 years. Started as just a artistic outlet.

How did you decide to turn your skills into a 'real' job? Do you work on the side? 
I worked for PATAGONIA for 8 years in the surf division, left them do “find” something else creative. 3 months later a position on the build crew for BMW/ORACLE racing in their bid for the Americas Cup boat came my way, couldn't pass it up. 2 years of very hard and challenging work occupied all of my time for this campaign and it paid off, we won the cup back for USA. I decided right after this to finally launch SWEETTRADE and jump in 100% as a “job”.

What makes you happiest about what you do? 
A combination of so many things but probably seeing my pieces being worn by people I don't know that “get” my vision and designs. Or maybe they don't “get” it but like it anyway!

Whats the hardest part about what you do? 
The hardest part for me is the ANYTHING that doesn't envolve design & creation! Im so lost in the day to day “behind the scene” work that is a MAJOR part of a building a Brand and sustaining it, whether it be marketing or webpage updating. My adult ADHD
kicks in and constantly pulls me back to the workbench or sketchpad which feels most comfortable.

Where do you hope to see your brand in 5 years? 
Branching out into other areas that compliment the brand but that are not soley based on wearable leather pieces. 

Whats product that you make is your favorite? 
The “Bedford” belt and the “Miranda” key hook.

What do you like to listen to while you work? 
NPR WGBH Boston for the most part but I also switch it up with many other of the thousands of songs on my iPod. I do miss KCRW being on the east coast now and streaming it live just doesn't have the same feel even though i still give it a go quite often.

Where can we buy your stuff! Do you have a favorite shop? 
Anatomica Japan (4 stores), Brooklyn Circus, Kai D Utility, Select Patagonia stores in the USA, Japan and Australia for the specific pieces i do for them. Favorite shop ? 45RPM New York and ALL of the RRL stores, they just “get” it don't they?!

What about Desert & Denim are you looking forward to most? 
cliche but meeting other like minded individuals and connecting with people for inspiration and creative conversations.

Do you have any advice for someone who wants to start their own business? 
Be original. In my opinion there are SO many people doing what i see as the same thing in their field. I like to say, “You might not like what I'm doing but what I'm not doing is what others are” And i don't mean that in a conceded egotistical way but just be yourself and have confidence in your “own” designs.

Final thoughts? 
Well, until your actually “done” its never “final” is it??
Never say die!