Featured Tippmann Customer
Name: Charles Preston Cavanaugh
Address: Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Company: Rise Above Leathers by Preston
(Facebook business page), prestonleather on Instagram.
How did you first get started in leather crafting?
Throughout travels over the last several years, I started venturing out at night and absorbing a lot of the music and artisan scenes. Between New York, Philly, the Rust Belt, Seattle, and L.A., the climate for trends was so open and volatile, and the reception usually preceded Iowa by two years or more. I wanted to create a standard in leather that mashed the riskiness of big city style with the grit of the Midwest. So on one trip, I bought a book on the history of leather crafting, and read it cover to cover.
Not long after, during the summer of 2008 while sandbagging around the hospital I was born in (and standing in waist deep river water), I realized that my volunteer time alone was not going to be enough to help my hometown recover. That experience planted the seed for the birth of Rise Above Leathers in early 2009, and a portion of proceeds from every piece I make and sell is donated back to the ongoing rebuilding/revitalization efforts in the Greater Cedar Rapids Community.
What are some of your stories on leather crafting?
When I started, I essentially was a walking billboard for my items. No matter where I was going I would be wearing one of my belts, cuffs, or watches. And from there you get the double takes, which leads to questions on where I bought it, to the conversation that I actually made it, then a customer is born. And that cycle repeats every time they wear their piece out in public. It all boils down to giving your customer that unique, one-of-a-kind piece and a memorable buying experience, and then they become your best marketing tool.
How long have you had (a) Tippmann Machine’(s)?
I’ve had my Boss for a little over a year.
What made you decide to purchase the BOSS?
When stitching is added to leather pieces, it instantly increases the visual appeal and quality of the item. Coupled with the fact that I only use high grade domestic leather and am promoting my product as Made in the USA, it seemed fitting that I should use the finest quality stitcher that is also Made in America.
Do you recommend any accessories?
Yes, the cobbler bench is a must. Easy to assemble, sturdy, comfortable, and mobile (I actually take the Boss and bench to art shows and stitch on site. It really helps my customers see first hand the work that goes into leather crafting).
Yes, on both tension wheels I back them off to the point where they are just touching the spring. This becomes my “tensioning starting point”. From there I use a black Sharpie to mark both the center bolt and the tension nut at the 12 o’clock position. This helps me count the number of revolutions I make when adjusting the tension, and also helps me find the “sweet spot” for different threads and leather thicknesses so I get a perfectly locked stitch every time.
What are your plans for the future?
I hope to continue to expand my product offerings, and my dream is to have a storefront in a historic district in my hometown where my workbench and Boss are the centerpiece of the store, and customers circle around me and shop for leather goods while I work.
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