Agate Leather is named for both the strength and beauty of agate rock formations and the brilliant views of Agate Pass here on the Olympic peninsula. In the studio I use my years of experience as a craftsman to create leather items with timeless style and durability.
I am a professional machinist and metalworker by trade. I was in the metalworking trades for 7 years before recently transitioning to leatherwork full time. I bring the same attention to detail and design from the machine shop into the leather studio. I look to design bags tough enough to survive any daily grind while continuing to look great for many many years. Leather is an investment. I put hours of time, (plus years of training) into making every leather item I construct worth your money and attention. Every piece is designed specifically to outlast short term trends and maintain lasting style as well as durability.
I got into leatherwork in 2015. I had just finished a 2 year contract making knives for Filson C.O. I then took a job working for a saddle maker where I learned both European and American fine saddle making techniques. This includes design plus both hand and machine stitching skills.
Now I design and makes bags, backpacks and leather gear for all genders. As a queer person it has been important to me to make items that don’t just “work” on all genders- but add style and wear in, not out.
Agate Leather, founder/ owner/ maker
Why does sourcing matter?Our leather is intentionally sourced from tanneries right here in the USA. The majority of new leather is from Horween Tannery or Wickett & Craig, both USA tanneries specializing in fine vegetable tanned hides. All Agate Leather products are made from vegetable tanned leather and/or secondhand leather.
Vegetable tanning is a more environmentally friendly process that uses natural tannins, such as tree bark, to soften the hide and allow the leather to gain character and suppleness with every wear.
The alternative to veg-tanned is chrome or oil tanned leather. Both methods of tanning are devastating to the environment and to the workers who handle the harsh chemicals that turn the stiff cow hides into leather.
To learn more about the vegetable tanning process see Wickett-Craig
Why prioritize buying leather just from tanneries in the United States?I prefer to buy domestically because the united states regulates environmental and labor standards for tanneries. The fast fashion industry is full of sweatshops and unacceptable working conditions that are virtually unknown to consumers. Buying from tanneries like Horween and Wickett-Craig ensures at least a certain level of oversight as far as working conditions and standards. Unregulated tanneries can use exploited labor and poor environmental practices. I will also often use salvaged or leather I buy secondhand.
Why not just use vegan leather?Vegan leather is plastic, a petroleum-based product. It is made from PVC (polyvinyl Chloride) or PU (Polyurethane). These "vegan leathers" are not recyclable, they do not break down and they create harmful toxins. These vegan leathers are vegan. But in the same way that plastic tupperware container, or a plastic bag you are handed at the grocery store is also vegan.
Using leather hides that are by-products of the beef industry is less impactful on the environment then the production and consumption of plastic since we are using an item that would otherwise go to waste. when leather is properly cared for it will last for many many years and reduce additional consumption.
However! There are just now emerging innovations in vegan leather (such as pinnapple leather) which Agate Leather would love to try one day, but unfortunately these options are not accessible to small business at this time. But we look forward to exploring other environmentally friendly options as they emerge.
JEFFERSON COUNTY ANTI-RACIST FUND
Agate Leather is a local business on occupied S’Klallam territory. We partner with Jefferson County Anti-Racist Fund (JCARF) a grassroots reparations movement.
The Jefferson County Anti-Racist Fund is a mutual aid organization founded in 2019 by an Indigenous woman with the goal of giving support to Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) in Jefferson County, Washington.
-From About JCARF.org
To learn more about JCARF, give monthly or if you have a business that would like to partner with them please visit their website directly at JCARF.org
Reparations are not charity, as stated by the Jefferson County Anti-Racist Fund “they are the payment of a debt long overdue.”