The retail floor here at Springfield Leather Company is unlike any other retail floor I have personally ever experienced. When you first walk in our front doors you are pleasantly surprised with the nostalgic smell of leather and greeted by a smiling (behind a mask), friendly face! You can take a look around to see aisles and tables full of differing leathers, whole walls of beads, tools and hardware. You would see belts and bags hanging to be browsed through, and many gorgeous rocks of all sizes.
Our retail store has a very eclectic, northwestern, earthy feel to it. When you enter into the store there are endless possibilities that await. That’s where our retail staff comes in! Anyone could have an amazing store, but without an amazing staff to match it – the store would lose it’s purpose and it’s lively spirit. Our retail staff’s aim is to meet people where they are. From beginners to professionals and creator of all sorts and ages.
That is exactly the type of attitude our retail staff members aspire to emulate, one of genuine care to see people succeed. They strive to help every person who walks in the door find exactly what they are looking for to make their creative aspirations become a reality.
Come visit us here in Springfield, Missouri. We would love to meet you in person and show you around the store!
Here at SLC we always love to compliment each department as it takes a village. Our SLC crew here is like a well-oiled machine day to day! Not a lot of folks know what all goes on behind the scenes here at Springfield Leather Company so we are going to give you a peak into the very busy daily lives of our Office Team.
Now, if you have ever given our store a call you have most-likely come in contact with one of our awesome office ladies! They are not only answering phones but they are constantly assisting customers. On the other end of the line with our office ladies are folks with a wide array of questions, concerns and inquiries. From hobbyist, to resellers, retired or elderly, veterans to bootmakers or folks who make reenactment costumes – our office staff is welcoming to all!
Many people still really enjoy and appreciate person to person business and here at SLC we respect and agree that person to person business is excellent! That is why our office ladies are so amazing. Each lady is a jack-of-all-trades, not only do they practice amazing communication and customer service skills but they have to know all about the many, many items and options we have available here at Springfield Leather Company. Whether it be by email or phone our office staff communicates efficiently and they are always very helpful.
SLC has customers all over the world and all over the country – we really take pride in that fact and welcome anyone who wants to learn! A couple of our ladies are bilingual as well they are always eager to assist with anyone who calls wanting to ask a question or put in an order.
When asked what she loves most about working in the office, Jennifer said,
“I think my favorite part about working in the office is talking to customers of different occupations, backgrounds, accents; and just all walks of life…We have customers nationwide and sometimes even worldwide! I feel like we are connecting on a global level. It’s definitely interesting! Just a couple hours ago, I was talking to a customer who was calling from Australia! I love the different personalities that I come across and if I have the opportunity to help someone’s day get better, it’s all the more rewarding!”
For our ladies in the office this season has been extremely busy. Many folks have faced shipments coming in late this month. A lot of the issue seems to be due to a higher percentage of online orders all across the country. Most of which are requested to be sent to their door step with in a few days. The post office has been struggling to get packages to homes quick enough and things have begun to pile up for them.
Naturally our office staff fields many phone calls about packages not being delivering on time. Each office staff member handles every situation with grace and facts. They realize that behind every phone call is a person just trying to get a simple answer. Unfortunately, the postal service is very backed up and overly busy this season with the extremely high percentage of online orders being processed. This means we are getting even more phone calls about the location of said orders. Each office staff member is very understanding and does as much as possible to reassure our customers when their package was shipped and they assists in any way possible to get the package out as quickly as possible. This has been a tough year for everyone in one way or another and our office ladies get that. They are kind and helpful and extremely well-informed, so if you need any assistance, please, just give us a call and always thank the office ladies!
Here at SLC there are many people who work very hard day to day to make sure our business runs smoothly. One of those amazing departments here at SLC is our Research and Development team. This team is full of creative and hard working folks. Though they are a fairly small team they are very important to the innovative aspect of our company. Each day they are faced with new possibilities of what to create or design for our customers to enjoy and maybe even dare to duplicate on their own.
On a normal day here at SLC you can walk over to the R & D Department, right next to one of our biggest windows here at our store location, where the sun shines in on a sunny day to find our R & D Department hard at work.
You would see Larissa at her table working on and creating various different products from unique acessories like folding camp chairs and hats to trendy bags, or sturdy holsters, to patterns and templates for our customers to follow. Not only does she create these products but she simultaneously researches new and innovative ideas for future projects.
Next you’ll find Denny over at his work table tooling a saddle bag or some Sheridan style belts that are sure to inspire our western style leather creators. Denny teaches leather tooling classes a couple of times a month and has a lifetime full of knowledge when it comes to his craft, he is definitely someone you would go if you had questions about tooling leather or saddle construction.
Across from Denny you’ll see Brenna putting together the instructions, diagrams and packaging for completed developments and products that go into our customers’ hands. Brenna translates the process from the original crafters’ perspective into an easy to read and follow step by step process. When asked what she likes about working in R & D she said, “We get to create new and exciting products that set us apart from our competitors. Since I design the kits, the best part for me is working with master crafters and breaking down their process for others to learn from. It’s fun seeing new designs made every day.”
Now we can’t forget Clayton, who oversees the department. Clayton has made many debuts in our SLC Live videos as one of SLC’s craftsmen. One of his most recent being a “How To” on making an Aussie Hat! Clayton doubles as a Director over a couple areas including the Shop and R & D. He oversees current and future products that need to be finalized, fine-tuned, observed or tested before moving forward into the hands of the craftsmen and women who purchase our products. There is always something new to be done in their department and they are quite the creative and open-minded bunch; always ready for something new.
Individually this team is extremely talented and open-minded when it comes to creating and crafting new designs and taking on new projects. Often a fellow employee will go over to the R & D Department with an idea for a new template or product and the R & D Department will turn it into a handcrafted and well-made reality while inputing their own spin on it! This team has to stay ahead of the leather trends curve and they work hard to produce and oversee products that our customers will love and use. We are thankful for such a great group of creative hard working folks in our R & D Department and we would definitely not be the same with out them!
In our last couple of Newsletters we explained how we measure leather here at Springfield Leather in square footage. Typically when you receive a piece of leather from us, there will be natural edges included in your “cut” as it is a piece of a whole hide. Our Gathering Team is who makes sure that the square footage you receive in the mail is to your order’s specifications.
Here at Springfield Leather we have an amazing group of folks who make up our Leather Gathering Team. They do just that, gather your leather to fulfill your order right here at our shop. They check your order and customer notes, walk right over to our huge leather storage area, and grab your leather. Sometimes they have to climb a tall rolling ladder to reach the leather they need because our leather storage area is just as tall as it is wide. Next, they carry your leather over to their cutting table to measure and cut. The cutting table has a square footage graph on top for measuring each piece. The graph on top of the table really comes in handy when you’re working with, and measuring, the leather’s natural edges (which are most likely distressed and curved). After measuring the square footage of the piece, they make one single cut to the leather to finish up and fulfill the order. After making the final cut they take the remaining leather back to storage area for future orders.
Cori, one of our Leather Gathering veterans, says, “Once the gatherer makes the cut and finishes the order, the leather is rolled up in a specific way depending on what type of leather it is. Some are rolled with the grain side out, and some with the grain side in. Our leather team is very knowledgeable about each leather – and packing orders is very important for us to get correct!”
Watching them roll leather orders up to be shipped, the Leather Gathering Team is very efficient and mindful of every order that they are fulfilling. You walk in the back of the shop where they are constantly busy and they always have great attitudes! The team is very knowledgeable about the leather that passes through their department’s hands every day and are always willing to share their knowledge and answer any questions about measuring leather.
Many people have bragged about how quickly they get their leather orders and we owe a lot of that praise to our amazing Leather Gathering Team here at SLC. We would not be the company we are today without each working part of our team – and our Leather Gathering Department is a great team player!
The relationship between Springfield Leather and Hermann Oak actually started many years before SLC even existed. Back in the day, when Kevin was playing in the band and tooling leather for extra money, Hermann Oak and any number of other veg leathers were available to buy at various leather stores. Kevin says that, “I may have fallen off the turnip truck, but I didn’t land on my head, and it didn’t take me long to realize that I could do better work using Hermann Oak Leather for my leather projects.”
Years passed, and the leather world has changed a lot. Tanneries have come and gone…mostly gone. But Hermann Oak has remained for the past 139 years, and for good reason. Kevin believes that it’s because they make the best tooling leather on the planet. So immediately after Kevin started SLC, he arranged a meeting with Shep Hermann and the Hermann Oak management team.
Kevin and Shep shared two common interests:
1. They wanted to do everything in their power to make their leathercraft customers successful.
2. They both loved leather, and they cared about the industry.
Kevin and Shep strongly believed that by using Hermann Oak tooling leather, it would enable many leather crafters to improve their skills and produce more professional products, leading to better sales and profits and give people potential to grow the small businesses that so many were trying to start.
One of Kevin’s strategies was to provide leather to customers in any size piece that they wanted, and not require the customer to purchase a full side (unheard of back then).
To achieve this Kevin reached out to Shep to become a distributor of Hermann Oak Leather.
Strangely enough, to the utter amazement of Kevin, Shep agreed!!! That was the beginning of a beautiful partnership that has lasted over 20 years. Through the years, Hermann Oak Leather and SLC have worked together closely to develop leathers that mainly benefit the customers of both companies, thereby bringing success to both companies along the way. And the relationship has grown even stronger through the years.
What this means moving forward!
As a result, SLC has agreed to steadily bring in and stock the complete line of Hermann Oak leathers. This would make SLC the ONLY distributor to carry the ENTIRE LINE of Hermann Oak Leathers in the U.S.! Both SLC and Hermann Oak agree that the benefits to professional and part time leathercraft customers will be tremendous!
Now customers will be able to buy many Hermann Oak leathers in affordable quantities. There will of course be certain leathers that SLC cannot cut, but there will be many that can be cut, allowing the customer to save money, and at the same time use premium leather that was previously out of reach cost wise.
I plan on making my grandfather a pair of rabbit fur mittens. I was wondering if the rabbit hides you sell are real and if they are the same color as wild rabbit? Also I’m not sure how many hides I’ll need for this job. I know how to do this, but any advice you can offer is greatly appreciated. Thank you.
Here’s what Kevin had to say:
Our rabbit hides are indeed real, and we have ones called “natural” which are the color of a rabbit in the wild.
Keep in mind that the actual skin of the rabbit is very thin, and not tough at all. It might be difficult to make a durable pair of mittens from it. You might have to make the mittens out of cowhide that are lined with rabbit…. In any case, you’d need no more than 4 at the most.
I am wanting to purchase a sewing machine and am not sure which would be best. I make some totes, shoulder bags, and smaller leather goods (pocket knife slips and journal covers) using leather that rarely exceeds 4/5 oz. (thus the sewing thickness is usually two layers of 4/5 oz leather). I will probably put only five hours of time on the machine per week.
Do you have a suggested machine that would do the trick?
Thanks so much!
Here’s what Kevin had to say:
For me, it would be either a Cobra Class 20 or a Class 26. The 26 is a a bit more versatile because of the cylinder arm, and if I could have only one machine, that would be the one that I’d have in my shop. The class 20 is a small bit less expensive, but in my opinion the 26 is it!
If you need more info, let me know and I’ll get it to you.
Often we get great questions from customers. The web based questions are directly from customers to Kevin, he’s always happy to answer! Check out one of the most recent inquiries below:
I would like to have this cleared up so I want to know if the crazy horse leather edges be slicked? I have seen some debate whether this is possible or not. Some say only Horween Chrome XL can be burnished.
I would love your expert opinion
Here’s what Kevin had to say:
Yes, it can be slicked, but only with the right stuff. Various paints can work, and there are other products as well, but they’re not commonly available as yet. We have several shipments on the way to us from Japan and China that we intend to add too our line for that very purpose. I’m expecting to have things in hand within about 10 days. But as I said, the answer to the question is yes, it can be slicked.
SLC and Mr. Phil Hedlund are teaming up! We met Phil awhile back and decided to help supply some of the materials needed for his upcoming leatherwork class at the Ozark Mill Finley Farms.
In this class, on December 20th at 6:30pm, Leatherworker Phil Hedlund will take you through the steps of crafting a leather key chain from a natural leather. He will introduce you to the basic tools you need to begin your leatherworking craft and explain the characteristics of working with different types of leather. Conquer your tools with ease with the guidance of Phil Hedlund and go home with a customized accessory or a thoughtful gift for someone special this holiday season!
SLC and Phil are also working together to create a new YouTube video series. This series will highlight the creation of high-end leather products and how they are built by Phil himself! We’re very excited to work with Phil and have some fun while sharing the experience with all of you! Be sure to signup soon for his class- spots are limited and selling fast! You can sign up by clicking HERE!
First thing you might ask yourself is: What is Glowforge? Well, we’re so happy you asked! Glowforge is a 3D Laser Printer. For you scientific folks- Glowforge uses subtractive manufacturing while traditional 3D printers use additive manufacturing. A 3D printer builds up material, like plastic filament, layer by layer. With Glowforge, you’ll put a piece of material like leather, wood, or acrylic in the machine and it carves out your product using laser light. The technical name for the category of tools that includes Glowforge is a CNC laser cutter engraver, but that’s a mouthful, so we call it a 3D laser printer.
With Glowforge, you can bring your vision to life at the speed of light.
With sophisticated onboard cameras, a powerful laser and intuitive software, you can print endless designs on hundreds of different materials – like leather, hardwood, metal or even glass. Glowforge cuts and engraves your designs directly on your favorite materials with such precision that you can lace up leather like a shoe. Whether you create a design with programs like Illustrator or InkScape – or with even just a pen – Glowforge turns your ideas into reality at the push of a button.
Some key features that make the Glowforge great are the cutting capabilities, personalization, affordability, and quality. The quality is superb due to its amazing auto focus. This machine also has an excellent camera, which makes it easy to position artwork to be engraved and cut.
Okay, so what’s that mean to you leathercrafting fools? Well, it means you can elevate your leathercraft with Glowforge! But before we get into upping your leather game, let’s chat about what this partnership between SLC and Glowforge means to you. Simply put this means discounts, and saving you your hard earned money! With our special referral link you can save hundreds of dollars on your very own Glowforge.
Here’s a breakdown of the savings:
$500 off a Glowforge Pro $250 off a Glowforge Plus $100 off a Glowforge Basic
About each machine:
Glowforge Pro Unlimited printing power with endless possibilities. The Glowforge Pro is the ultimate option for home, business, or school. It prints truly enormous objects like furniture with the exclusive Pro Passthrough, allowing you to use infinitely long materials. Upgraded solid-state cooling allows nonstop printing all day long. The powerful 45 watt laser cuts up to 20% faster, and the top engraving speed is up to three times as fast as the Glowforge Basic. Class 4 laser product; place near a window for ventilation.
Glowforge Plus The premium printing experience. The Glowforge Plus has the power to bring your vision to life at the speed of light. The Plus offers upgraded components and a top engraving speed that’s up to twice as fast as the Glowforge Basic. A double warranty offers yearlong peace of mind. Class 1 laser product; place near a window for ventilation.
Glowforge Basic An introduction to the power and simplicity of Glowforge. The Glowforge Basic creates beautiful prints on dozens of materials right at home. Like all Glowforge printers, the Glowforge Basic uses onboard cameras and a powerful laser to make it easy to create beautiful products at home. You’ll be showing off your first print in under 30 minutes. Class 1 laser product; place near a window for ventilation.
Here’s the top 6 ways this can up your leather game!
1. Your cutting tools, awls, and pricking irons will soon be gathering dust Use Glowforge to cut your project pieces with laser precision. Add holes for snaps and buckles, in exactly the right spot, and cut every stitch hole so you can lace your projects together like a shoe. Engrave the surface of your material to provide a key for glues, add decorative lines to border your edges, and even skive away material for folds and creases!
2. Prototyping has never been so easy Quickly cut prototypes from cardstock before breaking out your expensive leathers and check your sizing, test your flaps and pockets, and ensure your snaps and buckles are all positioned correctly. After your pre-flight checks are complete, use the same digital files to cut your final parts and start stitching!
3. Don’t spend hundreds of dollars on debossing stamps anymore! Engrave custom debossing stamps from thick acrylic or delrin to add detail to your projects. Save hundreds of dollars and weeks of lead time, and offer embossing services to more of your customers. And of course, now your studio has a Glowforge printer, you print directly onto your leathers and skip the arbor press altogether.
4. Create every template and guide you’ll ever need Prefer to cut your parts by hand? With Glowforge, cut precision templates with ease, and even label them with text and diagrams. Making a bespoke briefcase for a customer? Use cardstock to create detailed but temporary guides for your scratch awl. Developed a core piece for your collection? Print a permanent template from acrylic with positioning marks for every stitch, crease and snap.
5. Make one. Or one hundred. When one of your incredible products inevitably sells out, load up your design, press print, and restock your shelves in hours, not days. Whether you print something bespoke for a special customer, or a hundred of your best seller, you can be sure that every one will be perfect, every time.
6. Glowforge is your favorite employee. Once your press the magic button, Glowforge takes care of the rest. So while Glowforge works hard to bring your most ambitious ideas to life, you can be working on your next best seller.