Established in 2014, Artisan Leaf is owned and operated by three partners, Sebastian Correa, George Newsome, and Reggie Harrison. Based out of Wilson, North Carolina, Artisan Leaf creates unique pieces that not only pay tribute to the rich tobacco heritage of this region but also serve as handsome furniture and home accessories.
Sebastian handles all the production, he is the man behind the scenes - our best leafer. Born in Chile, raised in Miami, then served in the US Army during the first Gulf War he landed in North Carolina. He has a BFA from Fayetteville State University and MBA from Wake Forest University, then dove head first into the NYC Rock and Roll scene prior to returning to North Carolina.
George is the expert for the tobacco we source from all over the world. Born in North Carolina, he also grew up in Miami where he met Sebastian. He attended Barton College in Wilson, NC and started working for Standard Commercial Tobacco company in 1995 where he met Reggie. Today, he owns a successful tobacco brokerage in Wilson, NC.
Reggie handles sales and distribution. As a native to Wilson, Reggie has travelled and studied internationally after attending University of North Carolina and obtaining his MBA at University of South Carolina. Later he lived in Miami where he ran a sales territory in Latin American and the Caribbean for another firm for 13 years prior to returning to his hometown, Wilson. Reggie loves creative marketing and new product development.
The establishment of the tobacco market in 1890 ultimately resulted in Wilson becoming the "World's Largest Tobacco Market." The Civil War brought hard times for the county and the economic situation did not improve until the coming of the "golden leaf". Tobacco brought money, employment, businesses, and industry.
Wilson was a small, sleepy, cotton-farming community, when on September 10,1890, the Wilson Tobacco Market was born. No one knew if the market would be successful but many were willing to take a chance, as shown by the influx of tobacco entrepreneurs, mostly from southern Virginia and the Northern Piedmont section of North Carolina.
The market began with one warehouse, but no sooner had the auctioneer’s chant ended that first day than plans were being made to build more. By 1900, there were four warehouses and more than 15,000,000 pounds of tobacco were being sold annually.
Wilson grew from a town of 1,474 people in 1900 to a bustling community of 14,555 by 1916, with a great portion of the economy centered around tobacco. 1919 was a landmark year as Wilson surpassed other tobacco auction centers, especially Danville, VA, and became “The World’s Greatest Tobacco Market.” From 1902 to 2000, according to Wilson Tobacco Board of Trade figures, 6,422,417,968 pounds of tobacco were sold on the Wilson market for $5,239,507,856.
“Tobacco radiates an aura of romance. The Government recognizes it as a basic
commodity and taxes it like rare luxury. It has been denounced as a narcotic, extolled as both a sedative and stimulant and heralded as an aid to digestion. Its influence upon the rise of American civilization has been most significant. There is no weed like it under the sun…”
-Silas Lucas, mayor of Wilson (1937)
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