Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated in the United States each year from September 15th through October 15th to recognize the culture, history, contributions, and accomplishments of Americans of Hispanic descent.
Leatherworking and the Hispanic culture are indisputably intertwined. In the following stories, you will meet Makers and Tandy Employees of Hispanic descent who make a difference in the world of leathercraft every day. Some grew up in leatherworking families, while others discovered it somewhere else along their life's journey. Many turned their passion for leatherwork into businesses, careers, or outreach missions, while others create simply for the love of leather.
Meet our featured Hispanic Heritage Month Makers and Tandy Employees:
Meet Axel Gaona
Senior Graphic Designer
Meet Axel, who has fond memories of his uncle hand-stitching hundreds of shoes for Texas-based shoe company, SAS, in their living room in Mexico. Two needles, thread, and pre-cut leather pieces were sewn and stuffed inside boxes to send to the factory after finishing. Later, his uncle made customized wallets for family and friends that were so sturdy, lasting through years of wear and tear. Unaware at the time, these events ignited his interest in handcraft and creative design. Axel’s parents emigrated from Mexico to the US in the late 90s in search of opportunities and a better life for Axel, only seven at the time. Today Axel is a loving father, husband, and our Senior Graphic Designer at Tandy Leather. When Axel isn’t contemplating his next creative project, he can be found spending time with his family, learning new skills, mentoring other graphic designers, and practicing one of his new favorite hobbies, leathercrafting.
Meet William Brown
Owner of William James Custom Leather
I'm the owner of William James Custom Leather. We're located in Waelder, Texas, with my shop dogs Flaco and Buddie. I was introduced to leatherworking six years ago at a ranch in Colorado, where evening hangouts in their shop turned into a deep passion that has stayed with me ever since. My mission is to provide first-class products that convey a love for Western Heritage, from my hands to yours.
Being Hispanic in the leather trade is nothing new. The Hispanic culture embodies a strong work ethic, love for vibrant colors, ornate detailing, and passion for success, which has made quite an impact on my work. I'm proud to be from a long line of Hispanic business owners, from an East Austin neighborhood grocery store to a car dealership in South Texas and many other businesses.
Follow William James Custom Leather on social media @williamjamesleather
Entrepreneurship is in my blood and culture and is something that I'm very proud of.
Meet Abby Tamez
Marketing Content Specialist
Meet Tandy marketing team member, Abby Tamez! She is a 2nd generation American, with her grandparents having immigrated to the US from Mexico in the 1950s. Abby was introduced to leatherworking as a child when she would visit Tandy with her dad to get supplies to make tack and knife sheaths, and little did she know she would grow up to make a career there. When Abby isn't creating content for Tandy's social media channels, she can usually be found making unique leather creations (like turning reclaimed designer purses into unique bags), enjoying a great true crime story, or hanging out with her pride and joy, Brighton.
Owner of Teotan Artistry Leatherworks &
Team Member at our Fremont, CA Location
My name is Yvette, but some of you may know me as Vetty. I'm a Bay Area native with roots in Jalisco, Mexico. I love my culture and try to embrace it through what I do. Leatherwork has been in the Mexican culture for centuries. Still, more specifically, it has been a hobby dominated by men, and I love to see that more women are leatherworkers in these modern times. My dream is to keep leatherwork alive and teach it to future generations. Follow Yvette on social media @teotanartistry.
Nominate yourself or another Maker by tagging @tandyleather and using #leathertogether in your photos on Facebook or Instagram for a chance to be featured.