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WHO WE ARE

 

     My earliest memories of belt making were around 1972. Dad had quit his full time job to pursue a leather business. I was 6 years old and Dad was cutting belts by hand from a full side of leather.  Mom remarked that the hide, which seemed to take up the whole living room, had the "shape of America."  It was the weekbefore Christmas and Dad's hands were wrapped in gauze. His evenings were spent making the leather belts that he would sell during the day in the middle of a new mall. 

 I would sit in his shop wondering if my hands would ever be strong enough to punch a hole in a belt.  His ability to punch seven straight holes and chop a perfect tip with one swing of the hammer, all while talking to customers, seemed effortless. Dad would say, “a good leather belt, made from one piece of full-grain harness leather, should last a lifetime.“

 

Fast forward 25 years...I had learned what to do along the way and started my own leather business at my parent's urging and support. They must have thought it was time to learn "what not to do".  It was 1995 and I had just finished my first summer show season.  Taking a chance on a big seasonal rent in a fancy mall at the height of the "mall shopping" era. Unfortunately the season was a disappointment.  But, as luck would have it, not all was lost because I met my wife.   Brenda had taken her own chances moving far from home.  After college with a degree in clothing and textiles, she moved to Minneapolis for a job with a new start up company.  There were launching a new territory and promoted her to the region.  We started  dating and one day I asked her to quit her stressful job, get married, and throw a dart on a map. We loaded the old box truck with equipment, and headed west.

     One more fast forward 25 years.  With three kids of our own, a good business, and the same vision that I started with....To offer the same durable, one piece leather belts that Harry Brulport did in 1972.  Now with an emphasis on quality, function, and durability, we strive to distance ourselves and our premium belts from all the imported, multi layer, particle glued leathers marked "genuine leather belt" that flood our  country.   

    This business has turned into a somewhat blinding passion with no "get rich" schemes or no early retirements. When we chose the "quality" path over easier "price driven sales" we knew we were swimming against the current. Challenges have presented themselves like....trying to help people to understand that many competitors' photos can be deceiving, and all "Genuine Leather".....even "Full Grain Genuine Leather" has vastly differing levels of quality.  We chose to buy primarily from the two domestic vegetable tanneries still alive in America, Wickett and Craig and The Hermann Oak Tannery.  Both tanneries have 150+ years of quality leather making behind them, and both offer differing types of naturally tanned leathers. Although comparable in price, these true American leather sides are better quality and more expensive. Imported hides can be half the price but who knows how and where they have been tanned and with what? This passion for premium USA leather, as well as handmade superior craftsmanship seems to have clouded our business judgement. At some level we disregarded the notion that there are many Americans who are looking to pay under $25 for a leather belt and don't care where it comes from. This is why there are very few companies doing what we do.  But, as long as there are still people willing to invest in America and the premium beef and leather we raise, then we will be here too. Our belts will never break a hole... I have never seen it. Our leather  breaks in and starts to look better with age for quite awhile, once  in their vintage state, the worn and distressed looking belts usually become even more coveted by their owners. Offering this premium of a product still keeps us waking before the sun and working 15 hour days to produce them properly. In fact, for every 10 premium saddle leather belts we sell, 7 or 8 of those folks come back for another color or to gift a friend.   

Occasionally, I will see older customers from one of our annual shows that remembers my father.  They will show off a 40 year old belt that he made. These people are as proud to put them on as he was to make them. Harry Brulport would call that..."a profit."

      Thanks for reading and showing an interest in supporting our small leather business . We are fortunate to be able to make a product that we can be so proud of. Please let us know if you took the time for this windy biography when you place an order.  

Sincerely,

Brenda and Manny Brulport

Scottsdale Belt Company

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