The pride he pours into his WoW-inspired craft is evident: "Between working with pets and promoting the art of leather work, I could not be happier to make these hand crafted collars for you," he writes on his website. "At Spoiled Dog Leather we give you the ability to completely customize your collar so it matches you and your dog's style. Our collars are made to order using the best leather and hardware available to make these last a lifetime."
We visited with Solles to find out how he nudged leatherworking out of Azeroth and into his life as a sideline business to an already busy life in the Army.
Realm Alleria (US)
WoW Insider: So playing World of Warcraft actually inspired an interest that became a business for you! Tell us how you first picked up the idea to try leatherworking outside the game.
Solles: The leatherworking in the game really interested me because I enjoyed crafting the gear out of something simple and using it to make an item that someone could use. I decided to try it outside of the game to feel the same sense of accomplishment of being proud of something that I had crafted.
How long have you been leatherworking now?
I have been leatherworking for about two years now outside of the game. In game, my first character was a leatherworking rogue back in WoW's first year out. I do not have that toon any longer, but I currently have my main and two alts that are skinner/leatherworkers.
Tell us about some of the pieces you made when you first started trying your hand at WoW-themed pieces.
Well originally, when I decided to start a business, I was going to get into making replica WoW armor. I only decided against this because I did not want to deal with the licensing nightmare. [Editor's note: The Alliance-themed collar in the opening photo is a personal collar and not for sale.] After I decided that it would be best to stay away from WoW merchandise for the time, I switched to specializing in dog collars because I love my dogs and decided it would be a good route to go.
I originally learned leatherworking by buying a starter kit that came with a few small projects like a key chain and wallet. Over time, I tried out different projects to learn as much as I could. When it came to dog collars, I loved that they had so many areas you can customize because it is basically a blank leather canvas. Learning how to make it perfect with regards to durability and looks was an enjoyable challenge.
You're currently active duty in the U.S. Army, isn't that right? How much time do you manage to carve out for your leatherworking in a typical week?
Typically I spend about four to five hours a day leatherworking and try to squeeze a couple hours of WoW or StarCraft into my night after that. It definitely helps that my wife likes to play WoW with me, so it is something we can do together.
I'm very ADD with my WoW and do what feels right at the time. I will switch between farming, pet battles, PvP, or whatever, but my thoughts are that it is a game and not a chore so I play like that. The only thing I do religiously is my weekly LFR, which is the most raiding that I am doing these days.
Check out Solles' work at Spoiled Dog Leather.
"I never thought of playing WoW like that!" -- and neither did we, until we talked with players like Game of Thrones' Hodor (Kristian Nairn) or the 70-year-old grandma who tops her raid's DPS charts as its legendary-wielding GM. Know someone interesting? Send your nominations to email@example.com.