Crafting and working with my hands my entire life, I have a big appreciation for quality. A few years back, Trey, a buddy of mine introduced me to leather and I was instantly hooked.There’s something about leather that screams quality and is a huge part in American history.The smells, the feel, the look. Any material that only gets better with age and can patina into a beautiful piece has my attention.
Trey and I started off by making small items by hand like belts, wallets and bags just for personal use. As our passion grew with leather working, so did our knowledge. This new found knowledge directly reflected on the quality of products and our hobby was slowly turning into more.
As our wheels began to spin, so did the research. We began purchasing items from other leather companies, companies we felt made great pieces, but their price points were relatively high. We knew we could make a product as good or better, and still keep our price affordable. This is the point where we knew we were jumping into the leather business world.
We began researching different business models, and narrowed down exactly what we had envisioned as a team. We knew the tough road it would be if we jumped in to the leather industry trying to compete with established brands with the same price point. Although our quality would be just as good, if not better, we didn’t have a following and needed to capitalize on price point if we wanted to build a brand. This brought us to a direct consumer model. Selling direct to the consumer, we would be able to sell basically at wholesale to the consumer. We would not need to worry about undercutting our resellers, since we would have none. Using this model seemed like a great idea, it would let us be more intimate with the customer, smaller batches, and allow for higher quality. The only downside is we would have to sale 1 piece at a time, but if this one product was a true value to our customers, the products would begin to sell themselves.
If we were going to make this a real business and not a hobby, we needed some equipment and funding to get the idea off the ground. Armed with a plan, we approached another buddy and shared our plan. He loved the idea, and immediately became a silent partner, helping with finances and a little website work. Thirteen50 was born.
Thirteen50 Leather is named for the 13 stripes and 50 stars on our American Flag. Our company was going to hit home on everything this country stood for from loyalty to quality. Over the next six months we sampled leather from different tanneries, before settling on two of the oldest tanneries in the USA. With our plan in place, it was time to get producing.
We first took our new found company to Kickstarter. Unlike most on Kickstarter campaigns, we were not seeking the finances as much as we were seeking the feedback. Our first Kickstarter campaign was mildly successful in terms of dollars, but a huge success in letting us know we had a product people approved. You can see our first Kickstarter campaign and comments here. We were on our way.
None of this would have been possible without our customers. We realize this and strive for the best possible customer service we can give. Offering a 100% satisfaction guarantee and lifetime warranties, prompt and honest customer service is still our #1 priority. Thank you for supporting our brand. Your support has helped us create 2 more american jobs, we are now a team of 5.
Pat, Trey, Craig