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October 04, 2022 4 min read

Come on in, sit by the fire and let me tell you the tale of Solid Leather. 

Is this the story of how I got into leather working or how I started specializing in a belt that will last a lifetime?

The belt your grandpa wore?

Something you can pass down to your grandkids....

For now lets begin with Solid Leather and how I came to create a leather belt that lasts. 

I began working with leather as a means to generate extra income while traveling in my 20's creating bracelets & cuffs, ironically from old leather belts I would pick up at thrift stores. After, settling in Peterborough, Ontario I began expanding from bracelets into all forms of leather craft. Bracelets, belts, bags, dog gear, journal name it, I have probably created it at some point. I specialized in a carve away style of artwork (one that, may I say, have yet to be seen replicated by another) but those were the days before I became a father (2011) and as talented and creative as I was, I was still juggling multiple jobs just so I could follow my passion of working with my hands. 

After my first was born I decided/realized I would need to do more to help support our family and that it was time to get a "real job" (you know with benefits and all that good stuff self-employment doesn't have) 

Let me tell you this was not my cup of tea, I have never been one to fit into boxes, so after struggling with the 9-5 for a few years and once my second son was born we decided it was best for all of us if I became a stay at home dad. I loved these moments and cherish the time I got to spend with both my boys but the itch was still there and never being one to rely on others (fiercely independent...possibly to a fault...) Started looking for ways to make some money while being at home with the kids. 

It was during this time that I came to need a nice black belt to attend a friends wedding. Looking around everywhere I couldn't find anything that was "worth it". Every formal leather belt I found was crap! Or maybe as a leather worker my standards were too high...all I could think was "I could make something better than this" 

I ended up buying a black leather belt, which worked for the wedding but fell apart in a couple months. It was out of this frustration to find a nice leather belt that Solid Leather was born. 

I couldn't get over the fact that I couldn't find a leather belt that would last and was stylish enough to wear with a suit. 

I began creating the Solid Leather Black Formal Leather Belt. A belt that looks solid dressed up & will last you for years to come.  What started out as a side hustle while being at home with the kids has grown to my full time employment (both boys are in school now and have even started helping out around the leather studio) 

I take great pride in what I do, creating a belt that will last and look stylish. I can honestly say the fact that someone (hopefully you) is wearing something I made with my hands brings me incredible joy but to me it is the legacy of it all. My first belt was my fathers, he wore it for 20 odd years before I stole it (sorry pops) and I wore it for another 10 (lost it while traveling) This is what I strive to accomplish with Solid Leather. A leather belt that can last generations. Something I can pass down to my children. They may or may not take over the leathercraft but if I can instill a sense of pride in whatever they do and that quality matters more than quantity I'll have done something I feel worth while. 

"I believe a belt is the most practical and essential piece of fashion in a wardrobe. For me it’s something that perfectly represents the principles that drive me:

Endurance, integrity, effortless style and craftsmanship. I take those ideas seriously.
To guarantee my belts for life, I have to."

Yours in Leather

Jesse Bateson

The Full Story: For Your Consideration

Here is a short story of how I began working with leather. I put this together when first starting Solid Leather (note the head of hair & the original small home studio, both of which are no longer around) Creemore Springs Brewery ran a "Best Maker in Canada" contest and this was my submission for consideration. 

Key Points:

  • I have 20 years of leather working experience
  • Started while traveling in my 20's
  • Specialize in making a leather belt that lasts

And guess what???

I ended up winning the contest! So maybe the story starts there or maybe that was the end of the beginning. It helped take me & my craft from hobby to business. Either way it was a huge step forward but all in all I wouldn't be where I am today if it wasn't for the many incredible customers who trust me to hold up their style. 

Thank you!