Essentials: Will Adler of WILL Leather Goods
Will Adler — not to be confused with Lamb of God guitarist Willie Adler — began his creative career as an aspiring actor after graduating from the esteemed Goodman School of Drama in Chicago, which is now dubbed the Theatre School at DePaul University. Known in Hollywood as Bill Adler, his IMDb biography summarizes his work as “a handsome and charming actor, who appeared with pleasing regularity in a bunch of enjoyably trashy ’70s low-budget drive-in exploitation features.” With the Screen Actors Guild strike of 1981 forcing him to reevaluate his career, Adler launched Rainbow Belts, later know as Billy Belts, selling colored web belts from a small stand on the Venice Beach boardwalk. By 1988, his leather goods company had over 150 employees working to manufacture and distribute his line to men’s specialty and department stores across the country. After selling the brand for a significant profit, Adler moved from California to Oregon where he started yet another leather goods company: Bill Adler Studio. Developing product for Levi’s, Dockers and Columbia Sportswear, his success led to another sale/acquisition in 2002. Over 25 years in the industry, Will created a third company, Spirit Leather Works (SLW), to which he made history in 2004 when Nike granted their first outside license to SLW with rights to design, manufacture and sell Nike Golf belts and accessories; the relationship continues to this day. His most current endeavor — WILL Leather Goods — launched in 2007 with an aim to combine authenticity, adaptability and classic leather staples. In 2012, Adler decided to return to Venice Beach for the opening of WILL Leather Goods’ first brick and mortar store on Abbot Kinney Boulevard. Additionally, 2012 saw the start of the WILL to Inspire Foundation with the goal of actively supporting the importance of early childhood education by donating functional WILL Leather Goods backpacks to American elementary schools. His impressive creative and entrepreneurial spirit carries on with his family as his wife runs her own yoga studio, his eldest son as an acupuncture specialist, his younger son a WLG partner, and his daughter an aspiring actress seen in The Social Network. Granting us a look into his personal necessities, Will Adler becomes our latest subject in our ongoing Essentials series.