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Why aren't leather products made out of deer? Why is it that when I skin a buck for the meat, the skin goes to the wastebin? Wouldn't it be cool to make a wallet out of deerskin, an animal that I love to hunt and would be proud to carry around in my pocket instead of the standard cowhide I had been using up until that point?
These were the questions that were gnawing at me on a sunny Texas day in July 2020 as I stared up at the whitetail mount hanging in my hobbyist leather studio in Dallas, Texas.
The pursuit of the answers to these questions sent me on a 6 month journey, starting with a google search of “Where to buy deer leather” progressing to me getting in contact with every major tannery within a few thousand miles and culminating with me physically on the tannery floor working for months with a master tanner at a small batch tannery. Eventually we developed a technique and formula for tanning deerskins that is both stiff enough for a mens wallet, strong enough that it would last an outdoorsman's rugged life and natural in its processing so that it would preserve the unique traits of the deer leather.
The leather that I now have formulated is extremely unique. Deer leather is prized for its softness in the luxury world, so the few large tanneries who do process deer, do everything in their power to amplify that trait. The resulting leather is more akin to a patch of silk than a suitable wallet leather. It is extremely thin, extremely soft and in no way holds its form. The gif to the left is an early prototype that I made from deer leather purchased off the shelf.
Another annoying thing that these large tanneries do is shave off the top grain, this is the strongest part of the hide and the part that has all the imperfections... the scratch marks, tick bites, etc. For me, I wanted to see the scars and scuffs, I wanted to feel that connection to the wild animal that was taken in a time honored tradition that we humans have been practicing for thousands of years. Our leather is not shaved at all, each piece tells a history of an animal not confined to a slaughterhouse, but that lived every day wild and free traipsing through the forest, and has the scars to show for it.
At the time of writing (January 2021) I have just recently sorted the leather issue, and am just getting started with the whole business side of things. It is just me sewing the wallets, but I have partnered with individual artisans to help take on capacity as I scale.
I am unsure of where this journey will lead, but at the very least I’ve got a product that I am proud to carry in my pocket and one that I hope you’ll think is pretty cool as well!
Thank you for your support and if you love the product please don’t forget to snap a picture, share it on social media and leave us a review, these actions are more helpful than you can imagine!
Take care and thanks for your time,
Oh! I almost forgot the name! LACUESA comes from the Lacuesta campsite in Big Bend National Park. One of my favorite places in Texas!