Scores of skilled artisans in the self-proclaimed ‘Leather Capital of the World’ still craft saddles the old-fashioned way — one at a time. Susan L. Ebert browses the artisan workshops of Yoakum, Texas

Fortunately, I know just where to go, as another spunky set of designing sisters is right down the road. Double J Saddlery may have only launched as its own brand in 1991, but its roots run deep in Yoakum. Owner John DeBord spent nearly two decades learning saddle-making at Circle Y before stepping out on his own with his wife, Nancy, daughter of Circle Y’s founder Leland Tucker. Concentrating on the high-end tack, Double J builds intricately tooled and embellished, ergonomically precise, handcrafted saddles — some in the range of $5,000 or more.While sons Josh and Jesse run sales and operations respectively, daughters Chaedrea and Kristyn DeBord design and market the women’s collections, including purses, belts, boot bags, luggage and cellphone cases, many studded with Swarovski crystals in cowhides dyed in signature Double J colors and trimmed with intricate hand-tooling.

Stepping into Double J’s 5,000-square-foot retail store, it’s especially thrilling to know that everything’s made just beyond the showroom doors into the building’s remaining 20,000 square feet. “What began as just a way to use smaller scraps after cutting the leather for saddles has become a robust part of our business, thanks to Chaedrea and Kristyn,” says John DeBord, as he surveys shelves brimming with belts, bags and purses.

You can read more of Susan's article available online at Dorado magazine.


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