The W.C. Russell Moccasin Company of Berlin, Wisconsin has been purchased by Luke Kolbie, founder of Kingfisher Leatherworks
September 12, 2022

The W.C. Russell Moccasin Company of Berlin, Wisconsin, makers of custom-fitted hand-crafted outdoor footwear since 1898 has been purchased by Luke Kolbie, founder of Kingfisher Leatherworks and Joe Julian, president and owner of Julian & Sons. Chief Operating Officer Joe Gonyo will be continuing in his role leading the day-to-day production of Russell’s famous moccasin-style boots and shoes.

Luke Kolbie will serve as the new CEO of Russell Moccasin. “As a fourth generation Russell Moccasin wearer, the opportunity to be a steward of this company that has been so closely connected to both my heritage and that of the entire sporting community is a humbling and exciting experience.”

Joe Julian, no stranger to world-class craftsmanship noted that, “This is a personal, not just business partnership for me. Luke and I are good friends and share the same “Conservation through Craftsmanship” approach to business. We are united in the hope that the Russell Moccasin community will both support and hold us accountable to this philosophy. It is a foundational concept for both of us as we begin our tenure as the stewards of the Russell Moccasin legacy.”

Ralph “Lefty” Fabricius, 2nd generation owner and President of Russell Moccasin, states “Time marches on! It has been a privilege being a part of the Russell Moccasin legacy. I wish our new owners Luke and Joe continued success in the Russell Moccasin tradition.”

Suzie Fabricius, 3rd generation owner of Russell Moccasin, says, “It is never easy selling a family heirloom, but we are most gratified that Luke Kolbie and Joe Julian are committed to continuing our traditional method of custom manufacturing in Berlin, Wisconsin. What is most important to all of us is keeping the integrity of the product and its traditional manufacturing processes in place. That way our customers can be assured they are still receiving the same quality footwear they have purchased throughout the years at Russell Moccasin. The only change you should notice will be in the faces at the helm of the RMC. We have operated virtually unchanged for more than 124 years. We are thrilled that Luke and Joe share our same values, sustaining and building upon the Russell Moccasin heritage.”

Luke Kolbie is the founder of Kingfisher Leatherworks, which is a U.S. producer of leather cases, luggage and shooting equipment. Joe Julian is the president and owner of Julian & Sons, specializing in bespoke gun rooms and fine cabinetry. Both Luke and Joe believe that the “Conservation through Craftsmanship” philosophy that has been integral to the success of both Kingfisher and Julian and Sons, is also the key to preparing Russell Moccasin for the next 124 years, “We believe that conservation begins when you start designing a product, not when it is worn out and ready for the trash truck. Prioritizing re-craftable designs, investing in enduring materials and employing the best craftsmen make the difference between a heritage product and a consumable one. Russell Moccasin has never wavered in their commitment to crafting a lifetime product. We will be doubling down on that commitment as it is the bedrock of the Russell Moccasin brand.”

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