Road Notes

A Journey by Two Leathersmiths

Leathersmiths Bill and Lauri KeitelWe find ourselves looking back at nearly forty five years as leathersmiths, handcrafting durable leather goods. Almost two decades of that have been spent on the road. We’ve pursued an old world trade, we are two leathersmiths. Perhaps we were born one hundred years to late? In the 1860’s our lives would have been spent making saddles and harnesses or making and repairing shoes and boots. However in present day, we spend most of our time crafting buffalo leather wallets, purses, belts and more.

January and February we traveled the SouthWest U.S. attending art festivals, street fairs & wholesale gift shows. We were also invited to exhibit at the Colorado Indian Market, an honor not afforded all craftspersons or leathersmiths.

Early spring and summer we expanded our roadshow to include such far flung elevations as Breckenridge Colorado (10-12,000 ft.) Many of our artist friends that also travel in RV’s can’t make the hill! Another new venue for us was Bozeman, Montana Sweet Pea Festival. We had a great reception and will try to see if we can somehow include this event in the coming years. We hold in high regard those fine folks that have patronized us along the way and allowed our roadshow as leathersmiths to carry on.

While traveling through the west we endured blazing summer heat and…. forest fires. We experienced minor breakdowns of our RV while sweating out the connections to our next show. Our western tour was saved by Fat Boy Tire and Auto in Wheatland Colorado! Woo Hoo Fat Boys!

Emmanuel was a hitch hiker from Belgium that we picked up on our way to Kalispell, Montana. The young twenty something hitch hiker was such a delightful travel companion, He traveled on with us another few days and another thousand miles. We coached him on his “road signage” (his hitchhiking sign). As we waved him goodbye, his new sign said “RideShare! California”.

Traveling throughout the Western Rockies and Great Plains we swerved eastward setting our sails to the most westerly tip of the Great Lakes. We cast a weather eye to Lake Superior-Duluth Minnesota & and the Tall Ships festival. These three destinations all happened within three or four weeks of each other and we have the feeling we are becoming “over the road” truckers. The Tall Ships festival was an amazing event. I’ve always felt I was a sea captain at heart, lacking only a boat, ocean and willing crew (GK).

Most people attend a festival or two each year in their travels. Over the past twenty years we’ve spent perhaps ninety days at festivals each year. We’ve met thousands of people each day, some of whom become Buffalo Billfold Company customers! As the years progress we are grateful for those customers that have made the Buffalo Billfold Company their signature gift giving present.  Our gratitude extends to our talented, dedicated, friends and employees back at our leather shop!   They are an integral part of this curious journey.

Bill & Lauri

The Buffalo Billfold Company

One thought on “A Journey by Two Leathersmiths

  1. Thomas says:

    Aloha Bill ,
    I want to add Kauai , Hawaii to your list of satisfied customers ! My brother Robert in Kula , Maui , just received his birthday ( Dec. 24 ) gift , the Bison 2 fold wallet , and he is really appreciative of it . He can tell by the quality it will last him long , as he describes it , his last wallet was always dumping credit cards on the ground and was long overdue for a replacement .
    Mahalo , ( Thank You ) Bill , for personally taking my order for shipment and getting it out to him so quickly , he received it today , ordered on Thursday so less than 1 week !
    Mele Kalikimaka & Hau’oli Makahiki Hou !! ?
    Thomas

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