Handcrafted Leather Belts, Guaranteed for Life
Handcrafted Leather Belts, Guaranteed for Life
Send our premium belts to a craft show next summer, so we can fund a job skills program for at-risk teens.
Send our premium belts to a craft show next summer, so we can fund a job skills program for at-risk teens. Read more
About this project
We Started Columbus Leather with a Goal
To be a self-sustaining company that would become a job-training resource for at-risk teens in Columbus, Ohio. Our goal is not to teach kids how to work, but how to be employed--and employable. We have schools and companies interested in working with us, but first, we need Kickstarter to get the company moving forward. We plan to sell the highest quality leather belts with a lifetime guarantee.
How Can We Guarantee Our Belts for Life? Because We Believe in Quality.
We start with Full-Grain Leather which is the strongest part of the hide. If you buy a belt in a department store -- even a nice department store -- you’re going to see a lot of “genuine leather” in the descriptions. According to Business Insider, that “means it is the lowest quality of all products made out of real leather.” Great marketing, but not such a great belt.
Quality Materials = Better Lasting Products = Very Happy Customers = More Staff Parties
Once we cut the full-grain leather, we apply water-based dye with sheepskin, which holds more dye so that we can really penetrate the leather with the color of your choice. We seal that color in with a finishing agent, and we add a conditioner to make the belts more water resistant.
After the dye is completed, we finish the edges. If leather is cut and not finished, not only will the belt eventually fray, just like an unfinished piece of cloth, the rough edges of the belt will also damage your belt loops. So we burnish the edges of our belts, even though it takes considerably more time, because we believe in maintaining the ideal belt/belt loop harmony.
Now about those rewards...
We need your support to send our fine leather belts to two craft shows in the summer of 2016, but we will be making your belts as soon as this Kickstarter campaign concludes. Not only will you get a great product with a lifetime guarantee, but you can change a teenager's life as well (more on that later). For now, just know that your piece will be handmade and guaranteed to last, growing more beautiful year by year.
All styles, colors, and sizes will be collected at the close of the campaign.
The Cow. We're going to create a leather Hide of Recognition, stamped with each of your names to hang in the shop. With enough support, we hope we will have to use a whole Cow Hide! This will remind our kids every day how many people care that they succeed. No one can say they are alone in this struggle and this will be a great reminder.....and it will look pretty awesome!
You'll get one leather key chain with stainless steel key ring in your choice of black, brown, or chestnut. This key chain is made of our oil-dyed leather so it's very soft and water resistant, in case your keys get caught in the rain. If you want a name or word stamped into the leather (up to 7 letters), just add $5 to your donation. Rather than hooking your keys to your belt loop--and breaking the belt loops from the weight--you can thread our key chain onto your belt and hook your existing keys to the steel ring. Save your belt loops, add some style. Double win.
You get three leather cord keepers, a stylish way to keep all of your charging cords and headphone wires out of the way. The Keeper has a convenient slot for your headphone jack so The Keeper stays put on your cord while you're using your headphones. Your choice of three colors, black, brown or chestnut--mix or match.
You get one Real Man’s Bracelet, for any (or buy one for all!) of the real men in your life. (Of course, a real woman could probably pull this look off better anyway!) A stainless steel D-Ring clasp secures your choice of black, brown, or chestnut drum-dyed leather. The ends are hand-tied with your choice of black or brown thread.
You also get the key chain of your choice!
You get one of our fine Classic Belts. A drum-dyed, vegetable tanned, 1½ inch leather belt in black, brown, or chestnut with a stainless steel roller buckle. Our Classic Belt is secured with Chicago screws, which means you can change your buckle any time you like. We also use four Chicago screws -- most belts only have two-- because we like to be over prepared. A standard five holes (7 optional) are spaced ¾ of an inch apart rather than the normal inch, which means the belt adjusts more closely to your waistline. The drum-dyed leather has a protective wax built into it that makes these belts extremely durable and water resistant. Always included is our Lifetime Guarantee.
You get one of our Natural Belts. A non-dyed, 1½ inch vegetable tanned leather belt. The color of this belt will be the natural leather and as the belt ages with wear, it will slowly turn into a beautiful brown. We burnish the edges for a sleek, finished look and add a Napa buckle in antique brass or antique nickel, your choice. The buckle is secured with four Chicago screws because we say four is better than two. We add a leather conditioner to guard against everyday wear and tear. The same hole number and spacing as The Classic, and of course, our lifetime guarantee.
You get one of our signature belts: The Boss. A hand-dyed, vegetable-tanned, 1½ inch leather belt. We dye the leather with water stain dye in black, dark brown, or light brown (Bordeaux is a stretch goal). We burnish the edges as with The Natural, add the leather conditioner to protect the beauty of this belt, and finish with a Napa buckle in your choice of antique brass or nickel. We secure the belt with four Chicago screws so you can make it truly yours by adding your favorite buckle. The same hole number and spacing as The Classic, the same lifetime guarantee. We think this is the finest product we make, and we believe you'll love it as much as we do.
You get the “Real” Boss, our ladies’ belt — it does the same job as The Boss, but with fewer resources. This belt is 1¼ inches wide with a decorative trim line on the edges, and we craft it with all the care and attention to detail as The Boss. We will make this for you in natural leather or we'll hand dye it in black, dark brown, light brown (or Bordeaux if we make our first stretch goal), then add leather conditioner to protect the beauty for years to come. Your choice of brass or stainless steel buckle, which we secure with two Chicago screws so you can change your buckles any time you like. Lifetime Guarantee.
If you are one of the hundreds of people serving in the Hilltop and Linden areas of Columbus, or neighborhoods like them everywhere, than I want to sincerely thank you. You have taught me to never underestimate anyone's generosity. That’s why we are offering a reward of One belt of your choice--any color, style, buckle, anything-- for a pledge of $250 or more. (Yep, feel free to change your pledge to whatever you feel led to give.)
You will receive ANY belt, ANY color including Bordeaux, with ANY buckle. And your item will be the first to ship.
Why Your Support Matters
Do you remember when you applied for your first job? Did you feel pretty nervous, maybe really unprepared? I'm guessing you had some help though. Maybe your parents or a coach or a teacher talked you through it. Maybe you had friends who'd been on their first interviews already, and they told you what to expect.
For many teens in Central Ohio, those things just don't happen. They have backgrounds steeped with generational underemployment, housing instability, crushing poverty--circumstances that work to thwart these kids from learning the most basic employment skills that other kids learn from everyone around them. Most of them want to work and find a career. However, their lack of resources and sometimes a long history of letdowns robs them of the hope of a better future. We got sick of seeing kids with great potential losing out on the most basic need of life--the need to work--because they just didn't have the right support. Instead of complaining about this situation, we came up with a plan to fix it. And that's where the leather belts come in.
We've worked with local businesses, educators, and volunteers to come up with a plan to help these kids. But we can't do it without the start up money.
Our Kickstarter project will provide the means for Columbus Leather to sell all the products you've seen above at two events in the summer of 2016. The proceeds from those events will be used to fund an internship program for at-risk and under-served teenagers in Columbus, Ohio.
We will be following a proven model for training that will equip our youth in three areas:
- Equipping them to find employment
- Equipping them to sustain employment
- Equipping them to thrive during their employment
Of course, there are many more components to the plans and the program. If you want to learn more about that, you can read about our mission here.
But to start that mission, we need to fund this Kickstarter. Here's how much and what it's for:
(You can trust us on how amazing this self-centering punch is, but we think you might want to gaze upon it in awe yourself. The truth is, if we intend to do high volumes, this punch is totally necessary.)
Every belt we produce is made of the highest quality leather and materials, and we have spared no expense to ensure our workmanship matches our leather quality. We stand fully behind our products and we will back them as long as you own them. This guarantee covers all defects in materials and workmanship. This guarantee does not cover improper use of a belt such as wearing your belt while swimming in the ocean, wiping out on your motorcycle, towing your buddy’s car, your dog using it as a chew toy, or dousing your belt in corrosive materials, even though we believe our belts can stand up to anything you throw at them.
WHO WILL MAKE MY BELT?
Because it takes years to become a proficient leather worker, I will hand tool all of the Kickstarter pieces. If we receive more support than expected (and I hope we do!), I’ve recruited two additional craftsmen from Columbus’s leather community to ensure quick fulfillment. Our students have incredible potential, but they aren't ready quite yet!
I truly believe we can make a difference, but I know we can’t do it alone. By collaborating creatively as a community, we can change the outlook for kids facing nearly impossible challenges. As a mechanic, I love to solve problems, and as an artist, I love to create. It is my dream to join these passions to give at-risk students a leg up, a chance to make a more stable life for themselves and their future families, so that we can create a better community for all of us.
Risks and challenges
With a decade of working in management of crews and production lines, including orders in the thousands, I have the training and experience to handle even a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign. If a large number of people join to support this project, our team may run low on hardware and leather. I have lined up secondary suppliers for each to make sure we can handle this possibility efficiently.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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