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News The Sky is Fallin'...
The Sky is Fallin'...
We hate alarmist stories.  The world is coming to an...The end of Western Civiliz...When I was a boy we didn't...

But...

We at Latigo Bay have devoted ourselves to craftsmanship.  Leather craftsmanship to be specific. At the center of craftsmanship is the craftsman.  Or, in our case, the craftsman and the craftswoman.

We've been pretty much everywhere there are craftsmen and craftswomen during the last 30 years – and not only of the leather variety.  We've made our living at it, doing our craft, promoting the idea of "hand-made".  There is no one in leather that we don't know (we're not talking kinky here), and we personally know a few thousand other craftsmen and craftswomen in other areas – jewelry, weaving, painting, potting, you name it.

What's been happening lately, we think, is a bit of watering down.  Dilution.  Subtraction.  "Well this is sort of handmade".  We notice it particularly in leather, of course.  But at the selected craft shows we attend each year, we see it happening with other crafts.

A former competitor shows up with these odd-looking wallets, for example.  We look at them and think, "My god, these are sloppy!"  "Nice wallets", we say to him.  "Aren't they!". he says.  "I jobbed them out.  Found this factory in Falls River, Massachusetts, hard up for work.  They had this machine that would crank out a wallet, real leather even, for $8.79 apiece. I ordered 2000 of them.  Selling them under my own brand for $19.95 each.  Hotcakes."

Now we don't object to people making a profit.  If we didn't make a profit at our craft, we'd be down at the carwash, asking you if you want a hot-wax along with your cardouche.  But we know, from 15 years of work, that craftsmen can make a good profit, a good living, while doing the highest quality work.  You're not going to get stinking rich, we know that, but you can do something you're proud of and still make enough money to live a good life.

So we're a little bit incensed at these new "entrepreneurs".
Let's not call their stuff "craftsmanship!"
We'd like to make a suggestion.
If you truly want the quality craftsmanship of Latigo Bay Cases and Luggage – or any other craft – when somebody is trying to sell you something, just stop and ask them, "did you make this?"

If they say, "No," you're not dealing with a craftsman.  You might as well go to the local Wal-Mart and buy the same thing at half the price.  It'll be serviceable.  A little shoddy.  But it'll get by.

If they say, "Yes, I made this," you are dealing with a craftsman or craftswoman.  And you can be pretty certain that they have invested a big part of themselves in what you're interested in buying.  And it will probably be worth what they're asking for it.  They may also say, "No I didn't make this one.  I think this one was done by Mabel.  Or maybe it was Bonnie."

Just as good.  We at Latigo Bay outstripped our wife/husband output ten years ago, and we have two Mabels working for us.  We spent six years getting the first Mabel up to speed, and four on the second.  But we're right there in our shop next to them, working every day.  We take tea-breaks with them.  We listen to their problems with their kids.  They listen to our problems with our cat.  We know each other.  We know what good craftsmanship is; we've trained them; and we now know that they know what good craftsmanaship is.  Nothing goes out of our shop until it's been made by a craftsman – and passes the scrutiny of two others who know what they're doing.  You do just a little bit of slop and one Mabel will be all over you!

It doesn't happen that way in Fall River.  Or Seoul.
If you want quality things, make sure a craftsman makes them.


 
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