WHO WE ARE
My earliest memories of belt making were around 1972. Dad was cutting belt straps from a full side of vegetable tanned saddle leather on the floor of our small New England home. My Mom remarked that the hide had the shape of America as she pointed to Maine, Florida and California within the giant hide. Our whole living room seemed to be filled with the great smelling thick brown and tan leather hide Dad had bought at the tannery earlier that day.
I remember one late night when Dad’s hands were covered in bloody gauze. It was the week before Christmas and he had rented a table in front of McRory’s Five and Dime Store in a new mall. He had quit his full time job and to me, seemed like he was selling belts all day and cutting belts all night. Retail malls were the new concept of shopping under one giant location and they were booming. By the end of the holiday season he was asked by mall management to take a permanent location, which he did. Two years later, my parents had purchased a tack shop in Sturbridge, Massachusetts and moved the equipment to Springfield to open a small factory on Taylor Street employing 3 or 4 full time people. They had opened seasonal retail locations on Cape Cod and in Stratton Vermont as well as in 3 mall stores.
I would sit behind Dad’s workbench and wonder if my hands would ever be strong enough to hole a belt with a rotary leather punch. I would marvel at how straight and effortlessly he would punch seven holes and chop a perfectly even belt end end with one swing of the hammer. Dad would say, “A good leather belt made from one piece of full grain harness leather should last a lifetime.” I still see some of his belts on customers from as far back as the 1970's. Customers are always proud to show them off, but never as proud as me to see them still being worn.
Some 50 years later here in Scottsdale, Arizona, a new generation of Brulports are carrying on the leather manufacturing & craftsmanship that our father started in 1971. The manufacturing processes and leather equipment has not changed over the last 5 decades but the world sure has. Over 90% of the leather goods available to Americans has been imported, mass produced and grain corrected. Solid and full grain vegetable tanned bovine leather has been replaced with layers of suede pulp, paint and glue. Bison leather has been replaced with chrome tanned water buffalo hides from Asia and is sold as "Genuine Buffalo" and latex and vinyl products are now being marketed on the internet as "vegan leather".
Here in Arizona, our 21 step process (from start to finish) offers no shortcuts, only the satisfaction of knowing that most companies are not willing to go through our labor intensive and tedious processes. We reject the belief that mass production is the answer to all affordable clothing and accessories in America today. Our passion and concept is still fueled by the traditions of handcrafted, full grain leather quality, and of course, hard work and pride.
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.