About Us

RJ Leatherworks was started in 2019 in Tempe, AZ out of a desire to work with my hands, think outside of the box, and create functional leather goods that are designed and made right here in the USA by people here in the USA. 
The goods that we make are hand stitched using a saddle stitch. This is the same stitch that is used in horse saddles to protect the rider and the horse. This is a stitch that you cannot get with any kind of sewing machine out there. It uses a single piece of waxed thread and two needles. We start with a backstitch to lock the stitch in, then move through the entire stitch line, ending in another backstitch. This requires that each hole is punched out by us, by hand. Within each hole, the thread is crossed over itself resulting in a friction hold. That means that if you pop or break a stitch, the other stitches around it will not come undone on their own. They will hold because of that integrated friction. 
Our plans going into the next 5 years include hiring additional help, in the form of homeless people that are looking to get back on their feet. This, combined with a non-profit homeless shelter for families, will provide safe housing, food, and work experience for those families. The non-profit has a goal to transition homeless families back into society in just six months. The time that they spend working for RJ Leatherworks will provide them a source of income, recent work experience, and training on attention to detail. In addition to that, at the end of the day, they can be proud of what they were able to produce knowing that it will last for years to come. 

We plan to incorporate our attention to detail into those that we bring into our program. Employees will be drug and alcohol tested once per week. While their paychecks will be considerably smaller than one would expect, their work will also be paying for their housing and food for the duration of the program.
Employees will be taught how to inspect the leather sides that we receive from our distributor, cut the required pieces to exacting specifications, stitching the leather, finishing the product, quality control, and shipping preparation. While some of these tasks are very specific to the leather industry, most can be translated over to other industries extremely easily.
Without getting too much into the “weeds” of it, each employee will spend approximately one month in each of our six areas of operations. At the end of their time with us, they will be ready to move onto permanent employment and into their own permanent housing. Once a family has cycled out, we will bring a new family in, starting the process over again.