When my father first started his company, he designed and produced men’s and ladies’ belts exclusively — even before Tocco Toscano and his apprenticeship in Florence. He was self-taught: he bought materials like leather hides, buckles and other accessories from local shops and made every belt by hand.
This was when he was fresh out of prison and rehab. My grandparents hated my father’s drug addiction and delinquent ways, so they decided to assist him in his business endeavour, probably because they saw that their son was finally aspiring to carve an honest living for himself. They were heartened that he was genuinely turning over a new leaf.
My grandparents and my father had a mini production line going — my father first designed the belts, then my grandfather helped with things like hand-cutting the leather while my grandmother mostly attended to the stitching. My father would then complete the rest of the manufacturing procedure and carry his wares on foot, personally visiting stores to sell his home-made belts.
(I will be writing a post about the manufacturing process of our belts, so stay tuned.)
I was very close to my grandparents, both of whom have sadly passed away — my grandfather when I was 13 and my grandmother just last year, a month before we launched Faire Leather Co.. Writing this makes me a bit emotional, partly because I miss them very much. But mostly, it is because I’m proud, proud of my parents and grandparents who came before me. I’m proud of my dad who successfully turned his life around, and it is really heart-warming that my wonderful grandparents supported their son despite him having lost his way at that time. What they did more than three decades ago has endowed me with the opportunity to carry on with what they established. You could even call it a tradition; a heritage.
And a heritage business it is. At present, Faire Leather Co. and Tocco Toscano make belts in our Singapore-based workshop, preserving the tradition. Our belts are one of the very few items that we still manufacture locally, and every single craftsperson working with us has been with the company for more than 20 years. Faire’s belts are thus crafted in an extremely precise manner, with the consistent amount of care and skill honed throughout the years. I hope that you guys will appreciate the effort, mastery and expertise that go into making each and every Faire Leather Co. belt.