Here’s a snippet from Cameron, following her visit to the Lone Star State
In 2017, I had the opportunity to visit American Leather’s factory, in Dallas, Texas. Before leaving I had a list of questions and felt prepared for a typical factory scenario: echoing sounds of nail guns, sawdust strewn floor, machinery noise, and apron-clad workers. Boy was I wrong!
Twenty minutes outside of Dallas, in a quiet industrial area, we pulled into a parking lot attached to what looked like a modern, glass-fronted building. As the group walked through the doors, the clean stone floor and beautiful furniture artfully placed throughout spoke of a quiet refinement and trusted quality.
Through a set of doors towards the back of this airy space, we entered the factory. It was unlike anything I could’ve anticipated- spotless floors, soaring ceiling, orderly lines of product, smiling employees, and the largest racks of leather hides I’d ever had the privilege to lay eyes on. To my left was an enormous space full of items awaiting finishing touches, and ahead of that, rows of seamstresses sewing each piece of leather or fabric going into an item. And that wasn’t all- CNC machines that were run by individuals able to visualize an entire, top grain, hide and choose where it would cut and what my clients would see upon unboxing. It was efficient, orderly, smelled of leather and linen, and I could not have been more in awe.
Through door number two, in a completely separate space was the wood shop. Here, I felt the most at home! Compressed air hissing, nails sinking into wood, and the smell of glue drying. But not a speck of dust or dirt. Each employee in their element- some cladding frames with padding, and others attaching the web suspension under the seat, more moving a finished product to the next step.
We finished the tour in the office and community areas. Flags representing each country associated with an employee hung in the cafeteria from the rafters. The amount of pride for place and career goals was tangible. And American Leather cares about each person as if they are a family- gym and healthcare facilities, beautiful break areas, a weekly free fruit truck, lengthy time off, and attainable work goals. It was a factory full of inspiration and acknowledged worth.
I never could’ve anticipated how much it would impact the way that I viewed something as simple as a chair or sofa. American Leather is truly unlike any other manufacturer. There is a drive to further their capabilities, do so without harming the environment, and keep up with having one of the shortest lead times in the industry. As someone surrounded by the manufacturing end of things, I knew I would be impressed, but I had no idea it would shape the way that I live with, sell, and anticipate the future of furniture.