Working *with* this Company | An SLC Profile with Heather Ryan

For Heather, finding her current position wasn’t quite the intricate road that others have traveled. She started in mail order, the same department she now supervises alongside Justin and Cori. Ace order fulfillment support, casual hardware gatherer and irrefutable delight, Heather Ryan is happy to be working with SLC, not just for us. 


Heather started at SLC about two and half years ago as a hardware gatherer. She loved the active nature of the job. After a system change at SLC, the department needed to adjust and Heather rose to the challenge. 

“After we switched systems, they needed somebody to deal with all of the back orders. Before we didn’t have a system to track orders and now we can see what an order is, what it’s up to, who touched it and what’s left.” 

These days, Heather works on order fulfillment support. That means she tracks every single order that we get and ensures that they are completely fulfilled. She does this for every department at SLC including all of our e-commerce platforms like Amazon, Etsy, eBay; and our more traditional ones like mail orders, call-ins and 

“Right now it shows we have 500 orders…we’re taking in 200 orders a day and sometimes getting over 300 orders shipped a day. One of my jobs is to make sure that all of those orders are going through. Hardware gets gathered, then it might need to go through shop, it might need something from Tandy or needs the leather to be produced.” Heather makes sure that all of those steps are taken before it’s ready to go out the door. 

She also has to contact customers when we run out of items. “Sometimes we may not have all of the hardware for an order and it may take a few weeks to get it in. So, it’s my job to also contact customers and offer substitutes for those back ordered items…whatever they need to get their project done on time.” 

Still, she likes to switch it up from time to time. She provides support to the hardware gatherers, making sure they get items that they need, adjusting inventory and occasionally gathering hardware herself.

“It’s fun to change it up,” she said. “No day is really exactly the same here.”  

She says the challenges come along when we are busy or when our system is down. “There is never a dull moment for sure!” She explained, “When our [correctional facility customers] start their new fiscal year, we might get 200 or 300 Federal orders in a couple of days on top of our other 200 orders.” 

Like Heather Kingsley, she likes a challenge. “Keeping the customers satisfied, I would say is not that hard, but it’s always a challenge you want to strive for. We are always being creative in the ways we can get those orders finished.”

Her favorite part? The company culture, she says. 


“I feel like I don’t work for this company, that I work with this company. I feel like it’s a company that works for me. That’s important at a job because you don’t want to feel like your job is mundane, repetitive or that you have to do it. You want to go to work where you can express your creativity, your opinions and you have a little bit of freedom. I feel like I’ve had that here at SLC.”

She says that freedom has allowed the department to grow. 

“Cori, Justin and I have [made big changes] in the mail order department. It used to be pretty hectic back here. We’re working with a great team. I have only been here for two and a half years and things have changed drastically in that two and a half years. I think that it’s better in our department than it ever was and I am lucky enough to work with two of the best supervisors that have helped build it up. I couldn’t do any of it without them!” 

When she’s not making waves at SLC, she is brainstorming about ways to make the team even better and spending time with her friends, family and pet bunny. Dubbed Hot Fudge Sundae by Heather’s daughter, she is best known as Sundae Bunny and she rules the house. 

Though Heather’s not a leathercrafter she has a stash of leather she likes and even tried her hand at reupholstering a stool. “It looks bad because I stapled it,” she said. We think it looks pretty good though. 

Do business with Heather by ordering anything from SLC! 

Buying Leather by the Square Foot

Buying leather by the square foot is not all that common. Why? Well, it’s a bit of a hassle for the vendor. They have to measure and cut leather before handing it over to you. Additionally, selling leather by the square foot has the potential to be less profitable than selling leather by the piece. 

However, as a customer, buying leather by the square foot is pretty advantageous in most cases. The best reason to buy by the square foot is, of course, buying only what you need. That can also be the tough part, but that’s what you’ve got us for!


Let’s start with measuring! It is essential to this entire operation. Leather is measured by the square foot. Why? Well, it’s a somewhat rectangular piece of material with no standard dimensions, unlike fabric. So, we sell the leather based on what’s there. The simplest way to do that is to measure it by the square foot. Because leather is not uniform, the way a square foot or ten can be taken from a piece is up to the person cutting it. That’s why it’s important to know how to measure your leather. It’ll give you a good idea of what you’ll be getting and it will help you determine whether or not you’ve received the proper amount. 

Calculating Square Feet

Allow us to give out a quick and complimentary math lesson. Multiply the length of your leather by the width of your leather and, you’ve got your square footage. So, if your leather is 3 feet long and 4 feet wide, you’ve got 12 square feet of leather. You’ll often see sites with pre-cuts that are 12in x 12in – that’s one square foot! Compare that price to the leather you’re considering and you might save yourself some dough. 

So, how much do you need?

You know how to measure, but now you’ve got to buy the leather. A pattern or set of instructions will give you an amount of leather to buy, but we always recommend buying a bit extra. Why? Because even master craftsfolks make mistakes and you don’t want to run the risk of a vendor running out of the leather you need before your project is done. We recommend buying 20 – 25% more leather than you think you’ll need. So, if you have a project that calls for 12 square feet of leather, we recommend getting 15 square feet. That gives you wiggle room for blunders, cutting around imperfections and testing out tooling, dyes and paints. 

The Shape of your Leather 

The final thing to note is that at SLC “quantity” is measured by the square foot, so if you enter “1” in the quantity box, you’ll get one square foot. Of course, this doesn’t apply to pre-cuts or other products that are not priced by the square foot. Whatever quantity you choose will likely not yield a perfectly square piece of leather. We’d have a lot of waste then. Your leather will be in whatever usable shape we can get the right amount out of. If you’re looking for squares or rectangles or even circles, you’ll most definitely want to buy a pre-cut. Below is a chart of different ways your leather could be cut. Pieces are most likely to come out like the 2 sq ft piece on the far left. 

Give Them Something That Will Last | An SLC Profile with Heather Kingsley

If you follow SLC, you probably know Thor, but do you know his mom, Heather? Maven of international orders and inmate relations, Heather has been with SLC for eight years and counting! Believe it or not, she has worn (and still wears) more hats than she has ponytails! 


It all started in the summer of 2009 in SLC’s production department. “I worked in the shop for a while,” she said. “Then, I moved to the retail floor for about nine months.” From there, she moved to our gathering department where she would eventually become gathering manager for five years. 

These days,

Heather is a go-to member of the office team for a lot of things: customer service, federal orders, sewing machines and international orders, to name a few! Like Cameron, it took her some time to get where she is today.


On the annual trip to Sheridan, Heather recalled Rusty announcing her love for solving problems to the people they met. “He would say, ‘If you call complaining, that’s who you get!’ A lot of people don’t like angry customers, but I enjoy dealing with them…It’s kind of a challenge. I love to kill them with kindness.” 

While angry customers are Heather’s bread and butter, International relations is her biggest challenge. She said, “Talking to international customers that don’t speak English [is the toughest part of my job], especially when they call.” But, she doesn’t let the language barrier get in the way. Though she doesn’t “like telling them I can’t hear them or understand them”, she has those customers send her emails. “I can always translate words through Google Translate. Sometimes, I even have to translate the translations!” she said, laughing.  


Though a lot of SLC folks like to work with leather in their spare time, Heather has her hands full at home. She’s not just a mom to Thor, she has three teenagers, two cats and seven dogs!! “With kids and football and all that…I like my off time so I like to just sit down and watch a movie.” We don’t blame ya, Heather! 

With the holiday season coming up, business will be booming. Around the middle of October, the federal institutions’ fiscal year begins again. That means a rush to spend the last of the budget money for some and making big, new budget, purchases for others. 

Heather says that the busy time of year makes getting to the phone more difficult – a situation that grows more challenging as the business grows. “We used to be a small company. We used to get 100 orders out of the door a day and we were proud of that. Now, it’s 500!” Heather is pleased with the growth, but says it can be a bit difficult to explain longer turn around times to customers that have been doing business with SLC since the beginning. Still, she says, she is pleased to take on the challenge and provide the best service possible!  

Her favorite part about SLC? 

“I love working with the inmates. That’s my favorite part of it. I just kind of relate. I want to see people do better for themselves and we are giving them that opportunity and it’s something that will last.”

Heather is talking about our program with correctional facilities across the US. We provide leather craft materials for inmates as a positive outlet for them to learn a trade that can help them in the long term. We think they work so well, we hired someone in our production shop who learned everything he knows about leather craft in one of those programs! Read more about Tommy’s story here

Update: Heather has since moved to Leather Machine Company. If you are looking for assistance for international orders, please contact Lindsey by calling 800-668-8518 or email 

#TBT – A Little Leather Company Grows (Vol. 4)

Hey folks! 

This is the final entry in our throwback catalog series. In this final edition,

Kevin and Becky are sporting new looks (again) and Kevin reflects on the year for SLC. Plus, Ed’s wild art is back with a group of men facing off against a wild raccoon. For anyone interested in some leather industry history, Kevin has provided some good information about major changes in late 2001! 


“There’s anywhere from 12 to 13 of us that work (or at least show up) here, and it seems like we could use about another 2 or 3.” 


View a higher resolution version of this image here.

Business grew and it keeps on growing! That 12 to 13 is now roughly 70 people and it still feels like maybe we could use another 2 or 3 to help out sometimes. Still, we wouldn’t have it any other way! 

We’ll still be here each week with something new. We’re getting back into employee profiles! We’ll see ya then!