By Heather Posey
Lately the world is going green with environmental conscientiousness. But with the surplus of wasted materials, local Signal Hill manufacturer Couch has found a way of turning others’ trash into their personal treasure with their one-of-a-kind belts and guitar straps.
Founder and Long Beach native Dan Perkins started his custom creations after an unsuccessful search for a unique strap that matched his own personal style.
“I’ve always played in bands and in 1999 when I got my first electric guitar, I wanted a guitar strap that I liked but I was surprised to find that it wasn’t as easy as I thought,” said Perkins. “I went on the Internet and music stores and I couldn’t find any stuff. I then thought ‘Wow, if there are people that to a degree have similar tastes as I do, then there’s a huge underserved market of making guitar straps of a certain style with certain considerations.’”
So after making small amounts of guitar straps for himself and friends, Perkins decided three years ago, after receiving such high demand for his product, to turn it into the growing specialty manufacturing company it is today. According to Perkins, he even went so far as to temporarily give up his apartment and sleep on a friend’s couch so he could save up enough money to get started in his quest.
“I decided to dedicate significant amounts of time and money and treat it as a business,” said Perkins. “About a year and a half ago I rented a garage, moving it out of my living room and in June we moved into the space in Signal Hill.”
Made of recycled fabric from a variety of sources such as sofas, seat belts, and upholstered furniture, the majority of Couch’s vegan guitar straps are made from found items.
“We think it’s cool to have a crazy 30-year-old pattern sewn in on a new, well-made guitar strap,” he said. “But beyond that, it incorporates into the green production mindset of using found materials instead of always getting new materials to make your stuff.”
Though the designs offer a retro feel, due to the fact that supplies and patterns come from leftover rolls of fabric from other businesses, straps made from the material are limited and hard to reproduce.
“It’s cool and cheap to get, but its finite material. Once that roll is done, it’s gone,” said Perkins. “I like it because I know I like stuff that not everyone in the world has.”
Though the company is largely web based, Couch’s guitar straps and belts are being sold to stores nationwide and overseas in countries such as Germany, Japan, Finland, Australia, Mexico and Israel.
Prices for Couch’s guitar straps and belts range from $17 to $50. Long Beach stores that carry the Couch brand are Go-Go Guitars, located at 5752 East 2nd Street; World of Strings, located at 1738 East 7th Street; Fingerprints Records at 4612 E 2nd Street and The Academy, located on 433 East 1st Street.
For more information on Couch Guitar Straps, call (562) 595-6965 or visit www.couchguitarstraps.com.
By Heather Posey