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September 29, 2018 2 min read

How I Started To Leather Craft

A Short Love Story

When I first tell people that I own Hide & Valor - a leather crafting brand I started in 2014, a lot of the times I get asked this first initial question
  • Who do you outsource your labor to?
It's always a pleasant surprise when I tell them that I manufacture/produce everything myself and that I do it all by hand.
The question is understandable though. We live in an age where drop shipping sites on Shopify are plenty. What wouldreally make my store look any different?It'sjust a bunch of products listed on the front page withmaybe a small blurb here or there about the handmade-ness of the products.
Some of the follow-up questions I often get are:
  • What got you into leather crafting?
  • How did you learn the skillset?
This takes me back to an era of pretty rash decisions. The following is how I met my wife which leads into to starting Hide & Valor.
  • Met this girl at a bar in San Diego one December night
  • Start dating
  • Book surprise ticket to Denver a week into dating
  • Surprise! Not a creeper at all trying to rush things
  • Tells me she's moving to Los Angeles
  • Hm. Subtle panic.
  • In 48 hours, I set a hard date to also move to Los Angeles
  • The company has an office there - awesome...
  • She moves to Los Angeles
  • Wrapped up my San Diego shit in 2 months
  • Move said shit to South Central / Crenshaw Blvd
  • La di da this city is huge
  • Her birthday rolls up (June)
  • We love to travel. She'llbe impressed if Imakesomething for her
  • Find materials & hardware for leather luggage tags
  • Shit, a lot of materials left over
  • Boom -Hide & Valor
  • Hide - leather, Valor - cause I took a chance on something
A loving story. A lot happened injust a few short months thatseriously changed everything.In a way, you can say that a simple bar conversation started Hide & Valor and its purpose at the beginning was to impress
I'd found a few videos and Pinterest tutorials that fit what I knew I could handle at the time. The steps pretty much boiled down to
  1. Cut out a rectangle 2''x4''
  2. Cut out the corners
  3. Moisten leather
  4. Punch a hole
  5. Painstakingly punch each letter using my best ability to keep each letter straight and aligned on each line for all lines
  6. Attach strap
  7. Ship package
  8. Hope to hell that the person receiving it didn't mind the amateur look/feel
There are a lot more steps nowadays, but the above list is pretty much what I started with. Not much to work from right?
Moral of the story is that some small decisions can lead into bigger ones andultimately change/alter the route you wereoriginally on.

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