Please review the Conditions of Sale for further details about returns, exchanges, processing times and more.
Why are your leather products so expensive?
It is true. My leather products are expensive. They are in the same price point of some of the luxury brands out there. But, the cost represents pride, craftsmanship and intensive laborious work. To start, each product is either entirely or has some use of hand-stitching. Why employ a hand-stitch rather than a machine stitch product? Machine stitching can unravel. Hand-stitching does not. Thus, hand-stitching is a stronger, more durable stitch than a machine. Secondly, I use only the best leathers from the best tanneries in France, Italy and Germany. Tanneries within the European Union (EU) require stricter guidelines for tanning processes than any other country; therefore the leather itself is more expensive but safer for you, tannery workers, the maker and the environment. Also, all my hardware is from either the United States or Italy where employees are given fair wages. All my thread is hand spun linen from the oldest manufacturer in France which is stronger and feels more luxurious than other threads on the market.
I take pride that my goods are made of the highest quality materials out there. Thus, my raw material cost and end price are higher. Consequently, I can assure you that the supply chain on every product used to make my products is ethically sourced, of the highest quality, and the safest option to our environment.
What type of materials do you use and were do you get them from?
My bull, bovine and calf leather for outside and lining of bags and accessories is from France. My backing leather (leather used inside a bag or accessory to maintain a sturdier shape) is from Italy. My outsole and insole leather for footwear in from Germany. My lining leather for footwear and all nubuck and suede leathers are from the UK or Massachusetts tanneries that follow the strict EU guidelines on leather processing. My linen thread is from France. Whenever cotton thread is required, I use deadstock cotton thread that was milled and produced in Massachusetts. All hardware is USA and/or Italian made. The zippers are Japan and/or Switzerland made. The wax is local sourced from California. The edge dye is a USA made natural water soluble ink - no acrylic dyes are used. Lastly, the glues are "low voc" USA made. "Low voc" means the adhesive is compliant with VOC regulations in all 50 states and meets CARB/OTC requirements.
Why is your company's icon a donkey?
Well, in short, I like them. But to give a more complete answer I wanted to pay homage to donkeys. I have always felt donkeys were a bit misunderstood by popular culture. The term donkey has routinely been associated as a derogative insult for being stubborn, stupid, silly, obstinate or unskillful. This is neither true nor accurate. Donkeys are strong, independent, intelligent, long living creatures with incredibly memories. They adapt well to living alongside other animals and tend to work as protectors or guard animals for cattle, sheep and goats. Donkeys have good dispositions and routinely work alongside nervous horses to reduce stress. Additionally, donkeys have provided a lifeline to communities throughout the ages and still provide a lifeline to families in many regions of the world. Donkeys aid in land cultivation, as well as, transportation of produce, water and wood (fuel) collection. Donkeys have been unfairly labeled and misrepresented by society while constantly performing a dutiful service to us. Now, I don’t think my products are misrepresented in anyway; but, I would like to think my goods are working for you by being durable, well-made, strong, sturdy and long lasting.
May I post about your work on my blog or website?
Yes, please! Go ahead. Just make sure you link and give credit for any and all photos where credit is due.
What is your background and where did you learn to work with leather?
I trained with English former John Lobb shoemakers, James Ducker and Deborah Carre. From there, I apprenticed with Hungarian master shoemaker Marcell Mrsan. Afterwards, I studied with Beatrice Amblard, a French former Hermes artisan, in bag making and leather accessories. Then apprenticed for April in Paris, a San Francisco based hand-made leather store. Next, I studied under DW Frommer II in Western bootmaking and Janne Melkersson in equestrian bootmaking. If you are interested in a more in-depth story of my background, please read here.
I am interested in making shoes/bags/leather products. How do I get started? Do you have any suggestions/recommendations/advice?
Going into leather working is expensive. And it can get very expensive if you are not careful (e.g. between the tools required, the classes to learn and the trial and error on materials of practicing and perfecting your skills). Some of you may be great distance learners, so for those YouTube may be a great place to start. But, my recommendation is to start with taking a class. YouTube will not and cannot take the place of face to face learning. Regarding classes, there are many different qualified teachers and programs available in the US and beyond. Just be certain to do your research. Lots of research. Some teachers really aren't or shouldn't be qualified to teach but have no problems accepting your money, so do your do diligence and research. Then, once you have taken some courses and feel more confident in your skill set, I suggest going to the library or purchasing some books. Once you have a fundamental skill set, books can be very helpful to expand your knowledge.
Regarding shoemaking programs, Tim Skyrme keeps the most current list on his website that I am aware of. As for leathermaking programs, it is a bit more difficult. Amblard Leather is a great program if you can make it to San Francisco. However, I personally do not have a comprehensive list of leather programs. My suggestion is to use Instagram to find leathercrafters that you admire then send them a private message asking if they provide individual courses and what the cost would be. Usually they do provide one on one courses but don't publicize them because 1) they are busy making stuff 2) teaching is not their main business/income and 3) they are not aware of the demand.
I sent you an email and you never got back to me. Why?
My apologies. I certainly do my best to respond, however that usually does not happen -- it's just me working in the shop as well as on the business end of everything. Most of the time my responses may take up to a month. Patience is very much appreciated.