Quality Leather Goods and Why It Should Matter To You This Holiday Season


Here we are at yet another holiday shopping season and you are thinking about all of the gifts you could buy for that special someone in your life, be it your Spouse, Partner, Son, Daughter, Friend, Co-worker, etc. If you are anything like me then you know that it can get frustrating trying to come up with that unique and meaningful gift year after year. I completely understand. What normally happens is the we opt for a gift card, cash, or even more scandalous, we just let them pick out their own gift and reimburse them for their "self gift". Gift giving is a lost art and I would say that it is so lost, that the art of receiving gifts is nearly vanished in our culture as well. With this little blog post I aim to change all of that even if it is just one person at a time. Do you want to give a gift this year that will be around for years or perhaps even decades to come? You can be the one that gives a gift that you and the recipient are sure to remember and talk about year after year. So, let's dive right in...

The sad truth about giving gifts in our current culture is the majority of products that are not considered consumable goods tend to be pretty junky and not very well made. Even so called "durable goods" (clothing, purses, bags, belts, etc.) are only manufactured to last a season or two at most. This leaves us as consumers trapped in the endless cycle of consuming, tossing out, and replacing. This is actually making a "durable good" more of a consumable good. Great for big business manufacturers, often times bad for the consumer. Now with certain clothing items that are on trend or in with the current fashions it might not be such a bad thing that they wear out quickly. None of want to be the ones wearing that IZOD polo shirt from 10th grade, do we? If so, we need to have a come to Jesus talk about your fashion choices! Oddly enough, if my clothes from 7th grade were still in good shape and a few sizes larger I would be in luck because everything circa 1994 is totally on trend right now. I am cool with that, but not currently in the market to run out and repurchase my entire middle school wardrobe.

Herein lies the problem we face, there are definitely items in our wordrobes we look for to be timeless and classic. Items that we aim to be current and on trend even when they are 20, 30 or even 50 years old. Those pieces are the ones that we need to be well made and durable. We are talking about that favorite Jean Jacket, Leather Bomber, Leather Bag, Jeans, Belt, Watch strap, Duffle or whatever else it may be... While we here at Bell Robertson are not makers of all of those items we do specialize in some of them. As with everything we make, we are passionate about classic style, clean lines and the overwhelming desire to return "Made in The USA" to the labels of the products that are sold in The United States. We are devoted to crafting timeless pieces that are designed to endure abuse and look amazing when they emerge on the other side. Now, on to the education portion of this blog post and I hope you are still with me at this point because here is where we get to the "Why" behind purchasing well-made leather goods. This bit goes a little into our process and material selections, i.e. slightly technical, but educational nonetheless.

At Bell Robertson, we use only the finest of natural, vegetable tanned leather from all American tanneries. These tanneries have been using the same environmentally friendly, time tested tanning methods for over 100 years and they are known world wide for their high quality tannings. We are proud that our leathers are as durable as they are beautiful. Our products are made from durable English Bridle leather or Natural vegetable tanned carving leather. We pride ourselves in offering heirloom quality leather goods that will stand the test of time and use.

We use only full-grain leather on our products and are proud to say that! What this means is that we use the outer most layer of the steer hide, the result is you are getting the full strength of the hide. The other great thing about using full-grain leather is that every single piece is completely unique. No two cows have the exact same hide and grain. The hide tells the story of the life of the animal. Our leathers will have all of the natural markings you would expect to find on a product as natural as a steer hide. This includes range markings, bug bites, brands, scars and stretch marks, etc.. Because of this, no two products from us will ever be a carbon copy of the one before. We go to great lengths to make sure that we offer a consistent quality from product to product but we love the fact that each piece of leather is slightly different from the last as it makes it through our high quality control standards.

Don't be fooled by labels such as "genuine leather", "Top Grain" and others. When you see these labels it means is that the product is made from a highly processed shaving of the underside of the cow hide. Is it leather? sure. It is high quality? Probably not… These leather products can basically be made look like anything the producer wants because it does not include the outer most layer and strongest part of the hide carrying the true grain of the skin. Below you will find a diagram that shows you the layers of the hide. Our products are made from the full grain. For our lighter weight items such as wallets and watchstraps, we actually have the bottom layers shaved off to give us the thickness we require, leaving us with the outer most layer to make our goods. This ensures that you get the real strength and beauty of a high quality leather. As you will see from the image, "genuine leather" and "top grain" leather products are made from the waste of what is taken off of a "full-grain" piece of leather.

We are proud to offer only the highest quality of full grain leathers to you, our valued customers. It gives us peace of mind knowing that the quality and durability of your leather good from Bell Robertson will be an heirloom quality good.

We (I) hope you enjoyed this little exploration of the materials we use and that you leave with a better understanding of products made from leather and will be a smart shopper and consumer this holiday season.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays To You and Yours from the Bell Robertson Family!