JOURNAL | Projects, Events and New Products

October 17, 2018

Interview and Product Review with Sonia Shepard

Sonia Shepherd from Just a little Review

Sep 16, 2018

We had the pleasure of hosting Sonia from "Just a little Review" and showing here around our shop. Take a look at the video interview we did with her, part one, and part two is the product review of some of our top sellers.

"Steven, the maker. “This is not a portfolio, this is my life.” I spent yesterday interviewing Steven of Make Smith Leather in Santa Barbara. He’s three generations deep leather making; you could say it’s in his blood. As good as his story is, a very small, furry one nearly stole the show. It’s worth a trip to the store – you’ll see designs that aren’t released on the website, meet Steven in person and, if you’re lucky, rub the belly of their official mascot – Harry! Here’s a teaser of my time at Make Smith, starring none other than Harry himself. Stay tuned for my full interview with Steven and get to know the Make Smith story!

More of her videos can be seen at



October 11, 2018

New Product :: The Laptop Messenger Bag

In the Making

Check out our short film shot by Datsu Films. A fun, in-depth look into our process, and the amount of time and dedication it took into making this bag a reality. Tough at times to balance originality and keeping our customers happy, was the main challenge, but we think we nailed it.    



We finally “buckled” down and designed a messenger bag to rival all messenger bags. Combining our key components—Durability, Minimalism, and Style—we created a hybrid case that could accommodate any lifestyle. Easily transition from biking down the main drag to business meetings in the office, with the new Laptop Messenger Bag. 



Designing the Laptop Messenger Bag took time, and not just a few months, a few years! After long hours and countless ideas, we finally landed on a style and design that we not only loved, but which we knew our customers had been asking for. A hybrid of something minimal in weight and size, but with a certain amount of refinement—to take it off the road and into the office. Using malleable leather that is soft to the touch and as durable as they come, this leather piece only stands to get better as the years go by. This is a look into the future of Make Smith as a brand in the modern era with an age old craft. 

Laptop Messenger Bag :: $550  SHOP NOW >>>


October 02, 2018

Classic Social Media Giveaway

1st Year GIVEAWAY!

In October of 2017, we opened our first retail store at our new home in the Presidio Neighborhood, the heart of Santa Barbara. To celebrate, we’ll be honoring two of our classic products with this giveaway.  


We will be giving away one of our Classic Leather Tote Bag and a Classic handmade Leather Belt! 


To enter:


1. Like the instagrams of Facebook post!

2. Repost the photo of your desired choice and tell us why you like the product.

3. Then, If you want the tote, add #makesmithclassictote. If you want the belt, add #makesmithclassicbelt.


4.The two lucky winners, inside the USA only, will be chosen at random, announced and tagged on Monday, Oct. 8th at 7pm PST.


Winner Selection Method:

The participants enter by following our stated rules via Instagram or Facebook. Any deviation from the rules may disqualify you from entering. 

We number all participants by the order they entered. 


Then, we will use googles random number generator to choose the winner. 


August 30, 2018

Custom Saddle Making :: CraftTALK in September

Cooper Saddlery - Jason Brad Cooper


The First Thursday in September swing by the Make Smith Workshop to listen and learn from local crafts people of varying disciplines who have pursued their passions. It’s the CraftTALK  series, and sit alongside a wonderful group of Makers, and artisans. Please join us for a night of classic show-and-tell and hands on learning from our featured guest Jason Brad Cooper.


RSVP to our first CraftTALK on September 9th  @ 7pm.

Brad Cooper began working leather at age 12 and started his apprenticeship in saddlery with Wendy Allen during his sophomore year in high school. After learning the cutting saddle trade Cooper began making saddles for other disciplines including roping, reining and barrel racing. Cooper is credited with having built over 600 saddles and has recently set up his shop in the Santa Ynez Valley (900 McMurray Rd. Unit 1 Buelton, CA 93427).

June 29, 2018

SPOT LIGHT :: 1967 4-Eye Blucher

There's no doubt, in my mind, that Rancourt & Co. is one of those heritage brands that stands out from the pack. These days when it seems that American Made goods are more popular than ever, Rancourt has a foothold in the handmade industry. I always come back to this amazing brand when people ask me what I have been looking for inspiration. And yes, we don't make shoes. Make Smith makes carry goods, but that doesn't mean that we don't look for inspiration from other makers. And in this case, this small Company out of Maine, has been a favorite of mine for many years. Below is my favorite pair of handmade moccasin loafers. Out of their "Ready Made Collection," its the "1967 4-Eye Blucher" and here's the link. They are constructed of Heavyweight steerhide Chromepak from Horween, and weigh in at $285.

Rancourt & Co.

June 14, 2018

The CraftTALK Series

Info: If you haven’t yet heard, MAKE SMITH is launching a show-and-tell series, set to occur every First Thursday, which features local MAKERS, artisans, craft-driven folk and students alike. Our intention is to given these like minded individuals a platform to show off their hard word and accomplishments, while encouraging others to do the same. We hope to bring light to the truly inspiring nature of these creative individuals who were bold enough to take their passions to the next level, and encourage others to do the same.


15 min talk based on photos, 15min show-and-tell of goods, 15min Question & Answer with audience, followed by a 30min casual refreshment mixer.

Thursday, July 5th @7pm

Please Join us at our first ever CraftTALK featuring George Pipires (Bar Manager at Finch & Fork). He will be warming up our leather workshop with a series of handmade cocktails, from a welcoming reshment to an interactive cocktail demo you can make at home. Our audience will be asked to participate; pour, stir, shake and sip. More surprises to come on Thursday, July 5th. Lite oredouves will be served and prepared by Executive Chef Peter Cham. 

Check out more CraftTALKs Here >>

May 30, 2018

How To Measure Your Waist Size for a belt

If you can't make it into the shop, but still want to order a custom belt, here is how we would like to get your fit right. We take time making your belt and size it down to the inch to ensure accurate measurement and perfect fit.

It is a common misconception that your pant size is the same as your belt size. In fact, our belt size is usually 2-4 inches larger than your pant size. It varies depending on clothing brand, how tight someone wears their belt, and how thick the fabric of your pants are. Here are some quick and easy ways to get your accurate belt measurement to get your perfect belt fit.

To make sure we craft your perfect belt, the most important thing to do is get the right waist measurement. There are two ways to do this. First, if you have a belt that fits right already, lie the belt down on a flat, clean surface. Straighten the belt out so it lies flat. Now with a tape measure and calculate the length from the middle point of the metal buckle to the belt notch that fits you best. That distance is your belt size in inches. Second, if you don't have a belt that fits right, take a string and wrap it around your waist pinching it at the point where the loose end wraps around your waist and meets back at the long end of the string. Use a tape measure to calculate this length in inches, that is your belt size.

  1. We size using a measured out leather belt to get exact belt size measuring. Although it is oftentimes 2-4 sizes bigger than your pants, we measure to make sure we have it exactly right.
  2. Pick the color of the strap you would like. We stock nine colors to make certain we have what you are looking for.
  3. Pick the width of the belt you would like. We recommend a 1.25” for dress belts and a 1.5” for an everyday or workwear belt.
  4. Pick your hardware style and color. We carry 3 styles of buckles in four different hardware colors.
  5. Would you like stitching? We recommend this for our dress belts.
  6. Finally, we can emboss your initials to give your new belt an even more personalized touch
    May 25, 2018

    The Leather Guide to Father's Day

    The stakes are high, with Father’s Day right around the corner. Buying the perfect gift for the man who (seemingly) has everything, is no easy task. We’ve all heard him say he doesn’t NEED anything, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t WANT something. With some inspiration taken from the dads in our lives, we’ve curated a pretty perfect list of items dad won’t help but drool over this Father’s Day:

    For the Outdoorsmen :: Elk Horn Knife w/ Leather Tooled Sheath (In Store Exclusive)


    For the Business Guy :: Classic Leather Belt

    For the Handyman :: Roll-Up Utility Pouch

    For the Hipster Dude :: Crossbody Soft Briefcase

    For the Minimalist Man :: Bill-Fold Wallet

    May 15, 2018

    Sunset Magazine - "Santa Barbara Guidebook: What to See & Do Now"

    We’re feeling very excited this morning to find out our neighborhood and leather shop (@presidio_neighborhood) is featured in the newest Sunset Magazine Issue. Grab a copy and check out our little mention in “Things to Do in Santa Barbara Now.”  Please take a look at this awesome guide to all the fun stuff to see and do this summer in Santa Barbara, CA.

     Sunset Mag Santa barbara




    April 02, 2018

    Kiva Campaign 2018

    For the past five years we’ve run a strong campaign with the nonprofit lending program to expand our hands on workshop classes, which constantly need more project offerings and to reach a bigger audience. Well, in 2018, we are at it again! And this year, we have some big news! I am very proud to announce that our loan has been endorsed by Springboard for the Arts. They're a Nonprofit located in Saint Paul, MN. With their partnership and leadership, guidance and support we hope to create a stronger campaign for our Kiva loan. Springboard for the Arts' mission is to cultivate a vibrant community by connecting artists with the skills, information and services they need to make a living and a life.

    If you're interesting in lending to our Kiva campaign, please visit the link:

    March 23, 2018

    New Product Lauch :: The Deluxe Tote

    Deluxe Tote Bag

    We are excited to announce our most streamlined bag to date, with a bit more flare and a lot more designed convenience. We are now sewing in outside pockets but keeping the same trusty size as our popular Large Tote bag, and leather straps to handle anything life throws at you.

    Deluxe Tote Bags

    We all know you fell in love with our Large Shopping Tote years ago, with its simple yet stylish design, perfectly sized to fit just about everything. The new Deluxe Tote, comes with the same fine leather and lifetime guarantee, but with a few upgrades that are exactly what you've been missing. Now with a zipper closure and two outer pockets, the Deluxe Tote becomes not just the everyday bag, but the everywhere bag! While it is still ready for the farmers market, beach days, and picnics, now it’s ready for overnight trips and the office, too!

    - Two large front pockets
    - Solid Brass Teeth Zipper enclosure
    - Rustic Weather resistant leather
    - Two internal pockets
    - Brass D-Ring and snap hook for keys
    - Backed by the Make Smith Lifetime Guarantee (see details)

    Deluxe Tote :: $350

    Take a Close Look! >>>>>>>


    March 16, 2018

    New Product :: The Passport Wallet

    Passport case


    It's the traveler's guide to efficiency and style, the only item you'll need from that early morning arrival to late-night departure, the Passport Wallet will never leave your side. 


    Find yourself with too many things to carry while trying to catch a flight? You aren't alone. It had to fit all the essentials: passport, cash, credit cards, maybe a boarding pass or two? We crafted something slim and secure, that could fit everything you need safely in your front pocket while running out the door. Acts like a wallet, looks and feels like a passport holder. Ditch the fanny pack and put the Passport Wallet in your pocket. 


    With three convenient credit card holders, a cash sleeve, and attached snap enclosure--there is finally a passport case that keeps all your travel must-haves tucked away right in your pocket. 

    We promise this isn’t just cooler, it’s better.

    US Passport Wallet :: $104

    February 22, 2018

    You Guessed it :: Work Shop Season is Back


    The suns out in Santa Barbara, and we are hosting a variety of classes in which students will make their own handcrafted leather goods fitting of the season. Working with special guest crafters, we have a whole new line up of workshop sure to inspire the inner crafts(wo)man in you.

    Our curriculum emphasizes DOING to learn, MAKING to be creative, and EMBRACING mistakes to gain experience. We empower our students to craft with their hands, become self sufficient and build confidence.



    Build an Axe Workshop :: $120 :: Patrick Melroy

    Saturday, March 10th :: 1pm - 5pm

    Leather Sandal Making Workshop :: $225 :: Stacey Fulwiler

    Sunday, March 18th :: 11am - 5pm

    Tooling Workshop :: $95 :: Brad Coperates

    Saturday, April 7th :: 4pm - 6pm

    Belt Workshop :: $105 :: Steven Soria

    Saturday, April 21st :: 2pm - 5pm

    Tote Bag Workshop :: $265 :: Steven Soria

    Saturday, May 5th :: 2pm - 6pm


    *Limited workshop availability. To learn more about each individual workshop please visit our website or call us at 805.699.6296 for more information.




    February 14, 2018

    February 02, 2018

    Leather Mouse Pad :: Valentine’s Day

    On February 14th you have an opportunity, a chance to stray away from the classic “roses for Valentine’s Day cliché” and show that special someone how you truly feel.

    Nothing screams, "I still wanna make-out with you" like giving leather on the most Hallmark of holidays. A custom embossed leather mouse pad is the gift that lasts for a lifetime. Everyday your sweetheart can slide their hands over the smooth luxurious leather, a true object of your genuine devotion and affection.

    But don't worry, if you’re not much of a VDay participant, you don’t have to deny yourself a piece of sexy desk decor. Just imagine a more enjoyable feeling than the touch of your mouse on a smooth leather surface.


    Spoiled yourself enough this year? Get the Make Smith Leather Mouse Pad custom embossed for some you know who will love and appreciate the leather everyday. Or at least to keep their hands off your own. 

    Buy one here! $65

    December 08, 2017

    Fiesta Dance Party 2017 DJ MIX

    Its better late than never! I know its already December and the Summer is long gone, but this mix y Aaron Michael Mendoza is still on point. Check it out and get yourself ready for next years FIESTA PARTY 2018. Enjoy!

    November 27, 2017

    We MAKE promises.

    Make Smith does things differently. You're not just getting a bag, you're getting a guarantee for life.

    We stand by the quality of our materials and craftsmanship. If the leather, stitching, or hardware of your genuine Make Smith product fails at any time due to regular use, we will repair or replace it. That is our promise. Our products are made to withstand a lifetime of normal wear and tear for the use they were intended. The Make Smith Lifetime Guarantee does not cover repair or replacement due to out-of-the-ordinary use, accidents, or intentional modification by customer. 

    We pride ourselves in creating relationships that last a life time. Experience Make Smith. 

    November 22, 2017

    What does leather smell like?


    This question is posed to me almost everyday, so I've had a long time to think about it;  What does leather remind me of? It's the smell of an old workshop, an old saddle museums, or a luxurious car, and, just pure nostalgic feelings for the past. But most importantly, I'm reminded my craft, of the type of leather that I work with everyday. I'm reminded of a particular leather that I find to be the most beautiful to touch, to smell, and work with. This special leather is called LATIGO, which translates from Español to English as Spanish Whip. Naturally, I've found this name to be the inspiration for our first line of aromas. 

    So here we are; Spanish Whip, a rugged and playful aroma roll-on oil for men with hints of tobacco flower, citrus, sandalwood and cedar meticulously blended by @mossbotanicals of Ojai, Ca from all natural ingredients. Available this week in our showroom in a very limited quantity.

    October 17, 2017

    It's Workshop Season

    The suns out in Santa Barbara, and we are hosting a variety of classes in which students will make their own handcrafted leather goods fitting of the season. Our curriculum emphasizes DOING to learn, MAKING to be creative, and EMBRACING mistakes to gain experience. We empower our students to craft with their hands, become self sufficient and build confidence, all while having a ton of fun.

    Our New Workshop Schedule: 

    Bracelet Making Class
    Thursday, October 26th :: 6pm - 8pm
    Saturday, October 28th :: 5pm - 7pm

    Belt Making Class
    Thursday, November 16th :: 6pm - 9pm
    Saturday, November 18th :: 5pm - 8pm

    Tote Bag Making Class
    Thursday, November 30th :: 5pm - 9pm
    Saturday, December 2nd :: 5pm - 9pm

    Our new workshop dates are up! We will be putting workshops together from October through December twice a week. Snag a spot or two and come join us at the variety of workshops we are offering this season. See you there!

    *For more information on the specifics of each workshop please visit our workshop page at or give us a call at 805.699.6296

    September 20, 2017

    New Product Launch :: Crossbody Soft Brief

    laptop briefcase 1

    laptop briefcase 3

    laptop briefcase 2


    Turn Heads and make a statement. The new Crossbody Soft Brief is here and its the perfect accessory for you to go from business to beach and back around again.


    This is not a messenger bag, its better. We ditched the flap and created a soft brief that will take you where you need to go and maybe a bit further. If you're anything like us, we’re always looking for the perfect carryall. We’re last minute packers and that meant needing to make a bag that inspired confidence, easy and style. I'm pretty sure we nailed it. With an adjustable strap and a internal laptop sleeve this bag goes at the top of the packing list (that is if we have time to make one). From a business meeting to a long weekender it doesn't take no for an answer.


    Whats our favorite part? Well the laptop sleeve of course. With contemporary convenience built right in, its hard to say "why not" to this durable design.  

    Buy one here!  $325

    Photos courtesy of Lerina Winter 

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