I always cherished leather. Growing up in a large family with modest means, we didn't have any luxury branded leather goods. But I still remember my grandfather's gun-belt and my dad's leather wallet. They were used well and got better as they aged, and seemed to last forever. I remember the character and elegance of leather was something I enjoyed and cherished. In those days, a few decades back, there was no artificial, man-made, bonded synthetic stuff that was peddled as leather. When people meant leather, it was the authentic natural durable leather that survived years if not decades. I remember we cherished such leather and developed a special connection with them, especially since they were durable and need not be replaced every few years. In those younger days, leather stood for utility, durability and character.
Fast forward a few decades, I started to realize what was sold to me as 'genuine leather' is not the leather I grew up with. When my wallets, belts and watch straps started to peel, detach, I realized they were mostly made with fabric coated with leather like synthetics. To me, that was disappointing and disgusting and I decided to really learn about leather and how it used to be made. My motivation was to make the leather goods as I knew from my childhood– just for myself. As I learned more about veg-tan leather I realized US-based tanneries such as Herman Oak produced high-quality full grain veg tan leather. I contacted a few them and got few samples. Even then, perfecting leather was not easy and getting the leather stitched without sewing machines was another challenge. I found answers to both those challenges in traditional saddle making. That is when I met Marty, a saddle maker in Tyler, Texas. Marty introduced me to saddle stitching and offered me free lessons until was able to make a few samples. Armed with the veg-tan cowhides and saddle stitching, I got bolder and started making my own wallets, belts and even a messenger bag. It grew as my hobby, and few of what I made were given out to friends and colleagues or whoever asked for it. That was in 2001.
As more kept asking for more of what I made, it dawned on me the love and appreciation for handcrafted leather is shared by many others and such authentic leather is not found among the typical imported artificial leather items. In 2004, Castello DaVarg & Co was formed with few good friends who enjoyed and cherished the leather as much as I do. We perfected multiple aspects of leather such as the back-coating, finalized details of saddle stitching and organized a group of craftspersons and trained them in saddle making skills, in Dallas- Fort Worth. We decided to only use full-grain leather made with traditional leather crafting and saddle stitching. Now almost 20 years later, we sold thousands of handcrafted articles, shipped to more than 36 countries–all without using any sewing machines.
In a market flooded with imported leather goods made with cheap substandard leather, finding the audience for US made authentic leather articles is often daunting. But the encouragement and feedback of many know the quality and character of DaVarg articles keeps us going during those challenging days. So, we sincerely thank you for stopping and checking us out. We do hope you appreciate and cherish our handcrafted authentic leather articles. Please don't hesitate to contact me at founder[at]davarg.com with your questions and comments.