Updated: Jan 25
For my first blog entry, I thought I would start at the beginning of my history with working with leather, and love of the craftsmanship of leather.
My first project was a belt back in junior high school, a belt that I still have, sadly I don’t fit into it any longer!! From what I recall it was an all in one project from Tandy Leather that involved my staining the leather, adding the white strip woven into the edges and stamping my name in to the reverse, and adding my coveted “Coors” belt buckle! Please don’t laugh, it was the early 1980’s.
Fast forward to 2011. A great long tome friend of mine was researching making custom hand-made holsters and speaking with him about his interest in leather, handguns, and hunting reinvigorated my past love and enjoyment of leather working. I decided to dip my toe in so to speak by taking some classes at my local Tandy store in Tucker Georgia taught by Chuck Dorsett. After my first project, and due to an amazing teacher, I was hooked. Months of research followed trying to determine what I would like to make - belts for my friend’s holsters seemed like a great match. In 2012 I knew I would need some machines to help and I purchased a great stitcher / sewing machine from the Leather Machine Company, a Cobra 4. Steve, the amazing owner of the Leather Machine Company mentioned that John Bianchi , Matt Whitaker and their team, from Frontier Gun Leather, was teaching a class in Arizona in early 2013. I fudged my experience a little, well okay a lot, and was granted a slot in his week-long class for “advanced leather workers”. After 5 days, I had acquired some amazing tips, and was educated on how to work with leather in a professional way, and to have my work look and perform to a very high standard. The project that I made, with a lot of help directly from John Bianchi was a gun belt for my Sig Saur .45 ACP Scorpion. The project was a sturdy gun belt, holster and magazine pouches. It looked great and I was given an award from John due to that project. I was excited and ready to get to work.
By the end of 2013, I had my first offering of belts. As my main product, I decided that making belts to be used for conceal carry was a great way to introduce my product line. I began selling at gun shows in the Atlanta area. Armed with that success, I approached the Johns Creek Indoor gun range and they agreed to carry my belts in their extensive retail area in 2014.
Between 2014 and through 2018, I was balancing Churchill Leather and working for a very good friend of mine in London, commuting back and forth about every 8 weeks. Folks would order on my website, and I had to tell them that I was in London for the next several weeks, which I thought would kill the sale. To my amazement everyone (100% of my web orders) agreed to wait until I was back in Atlanta, for 5 years!!
I decided it was time to be home 100% of the time and it was critical for me to spend much more time with my family.
Coming full circle to today, I am home, and my shop is buzzing with new products to be showcased over the coming weeks.
Thank you for suffering through my first blog entry, and not unlike my first leather project, it is a bit rough around the edges, but I am confident that like my leather work, my blogs will hopefully become much more professional, informative and fun to read.
See our complete line of Handmade Leather Belts.