The Story of Ruby Assata

RUBY ASSATA is a bold accessories brand rendered in ladylike lines and bright, uncommon leather color combinations. Beautifully and carefully handmade by one woman—me—who redefines pretty by mixing the romance of mid-century etiquette ideals and 21st century street smarts in her tiny North Carolina studio, idea by idea, piece by piece.

The story of Ruby Assata isn’t a straight line. My name is Alisha Thomas and I’ve been designing and sewing for as long as I can remember. I originally established Ruby Assata in 2008, making leather accessories using my father’s heavy-duty sewing machines, usually reserved for vintage car restorations. 

In 2010, BFF, the great Courtney Bridgers joined me. She helped me manage and streamline Ruby Assata. We lived at my parents' house where we cut, designed, sewed and blogged day and night. We launched a successful Kickstarter that paid for our own first industrial machine. It was the most magical time. We made bags, wallets, belts, and more, until I came on board at Freaker USA in 2011, as part-owner and operations manager of the company. Courtney slowly gravitated to film and they are lucky to have her.

For six years, I slung spreadsheets and navigated payroll and split my time between that business and my own until it became clear it was time to get back to what I love: Ruby Assata and a life of design, texture, and print.