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! 

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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.  

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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 lindsey@springfieldleather.com.