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Steven Soria was destined for leatherworking. Born into a family of saddle makers, he grew up playing with edge creasers, beveling tools, and leather scraps. Today he owns and operates Make Smith Leather Co. in downtown Santa Barbara, where he still works with (and learns from) his father. In honor of Father’s Day, we sat down with Steven to talk about how his dad has inspired his craft.
The beginnings of Make Smith…
My grandfather and his brother were saddle makers up until the late 1960’s. My dad grew up around the shop and eventually ended up taking over. By this time much of the world had changed, moving away from a need for saddles, so the leather shop became more of a repair shop for travel goods. Eventually my mom started working there, too. I was raised around the family business, so my play toys were tools and leather. I eventually went on to explore fine arts and integrated our family trade into my practice.
I officially started my business on September 6, 2013. That was the day that I opened my doors to the public and my current location in downtown Santa Barbara. I was already selling online and doing custom leatherwork, but I wanted more of a presence. It’s here that I created a collection of designed goods and opened a small shop branding it Make Smith.
Repost from the Antioch Odyssey Online:
Tucked away behind Elsie’s (my favorite lounge in town), sits an unassuming little art studio. This art studio belongs to Steve Soria the designer and owner of Make Smith. Make Smith is a company that makes leather goods for men and women. This line includes wallets, belts, handbags, key chains, and products for the home. Each piece is handmade in Steve’s studio which also doubles as a showroom. Steve welcomed me into his studio space to sit down and chat about his ever growing business. As I walked into his cozy studio, I was amazed by how efficiently he set up his store. A big industrial sewing machine sits in the corner; while all of his tools are hung up against the wall. On the other side of the room, Steve has displayed all of his products ready for purchase. The Make Smith studio was so inviting that I could understand why Steve spends most of his time there.
Read more of this interview with ROSEMARY SCHWARTZ >>>>>> http://odyssey.antiochsb.edu/columnists/fashion-buzz-steve-soria/
It’s quite a treat to spend time with Steven Soria and to visit his incredible Make Smith Leather Company, a workshop and store located at the end of an alley adjacent to Elsie’s Bar.
Steven is a third-generation leather craftsman who combines his fine arts training with his family’s artisan heritage. There’s so much to see in his workshop, and my eyes wander from belts to tote bags to wallets.... Read More
Interview and article by Roger Durling reposted from www.independent.com
It’s fascinating that you are a third generation leather craftsman. Can you tell us more about that?
Yeah, so I never really had a choice as to whether or not to do leather crafting. My parents forced me into the family trade (hahaha, just kidding). I think it’s funny to joke about that with my parents, because I grew up with their leather shop as my daycare. They’re probably still surprised that I’m super into the family trade so strongly to this day. Running a small craft shop definitely has its challenges. The truth is, I love it. I’m proud of everything I’ve learned over the years from my grandfather, dad, and mom. They are really talented artists and craftspeople. I feel very fortunate to work within our family trade, inherit third generation tools, and make an effort to share the trade with others.
Where do you find inspiration for your leather goods?
Inspiration comes from many places– it’s hard to pin down. It’s fair to say that I definitely get highly motivated with raw materials, solid casted hardware, and leather that I find to be very beautiful. I’m constantly searching for new and unique hardware to add to my collection. Design wise, I feel like there are so many outside influences coming in all the time, and it’s hard to keep track of what I like, but Pinterest has helped me keep better track. I think it’s an overall compiling of everything I see on a daily basis, from browsing the inter-webs to art galleries and design shops.
Read more of this interview of the POKETO WEBSITE>>>>>
Repost from WERD. Article:
"The 12 exotic single-origin chocolates encased in this handmade leather portfolio include samples of smoked and leather aged 68% Dominican, 75% Palos Blanco, & 75% Madagascar. These gourmet dark chocolate bars will probably go quick but the portfolio will last a lifetime. A collaboration between Make Smith and Twenty-Four Blackbirds out of Santa Barbara, CA."
Read the full article http://www.805living.com
Its nice to wake up and see a favorite site like COOL HUNTING featuring a product we make. Check out the full article here: http://www.coolhunting.com/buy/not-yours-luggage-tags
REPOST FROM: ONTRAPORT blog
“Of course I’m a jack of all trades. I’m a business owner.” – Steven Soria, Founder of Make Smith
In our bubble of business, ecommerce seems to be the dominant force, but realistically the total percentage of ecommerce sales compared to brick and mortar sales is around 6%, according to Harvard Business Review. Although the scale of sales is unbalanced and the challenges faced are unique, an online business and a brick and mortar business have one blaring commonality — they’re the brainchildren of entrepreneurs.
Make Smith is run from an unremarkable 15’ x 20’ building tucked behind a dive bar in downtown Santa Barbara. Steven Soria, CEO and head craftsman of Make Smith, spends most of his time in this converted workshop crafting artisan leather goods — skills taught to him by his father and his grandfather. Before he recently brought on two apprentices, Steven made every single piece himself by hand.
When planning our road trip up Highway 1 for the Wildflower Tour we knew we had to make a stop in Santa Barbara to visit our friend Steven Soria of Make Smith Leather Company. He came to Desert & Denim this past February and showcased some serious craftsmanship (axe making workshop anyone?). Steven’s studio and shop are just as impressive and beautiful as the hand made products that come out of it. From the open sliding wooden door to the groovy tunes playing in the California air- It’s a day dream realized! Read about how Make Smith came about & then check out these amazing leather fortune cookies!
READ THE FULL ARTICLE AT: https://juniperridge.com/studio-visit-make-smith/
We were recently featured on the Kitchn.com website for our Leather Pot Holders, and a full kitchen tour of Steven Soria, the craftsman and design behind Make Smith Leather Co. Take look at this photo set. For more details follow the link to the full article on the Kitchn.com blog. Cheers!
To celebrate the collaboration and put the wares to use that we design for Jenni Kayne, we hosted a cocktail workshop at her Montecito Home store. For the occasion, local mixologist and barista Nick Purvis created two delicious, innovative cocktails, including the gin-based A Floral Affair, with white tea and lavender, topped off with Lillet/Champagne, and The Twisted Spoke, a tequila-based concoction with a nectarine/grapefruit mash, topped with ginger beer. Making the pairing and workshop that much better, Nick and Steven are friends, and part of Santa Barbara's burgeoning community of artisans and small batch makers.
For more details, visit this link: http://ripplustan.com/blog/view/654/cocktail-workshop-with-make-smith-leather-co/