Recently, a loyal reader and fellow Nashvillian, named Zach, told me about some great things coming out of nearby Cookeville, TN. About halfway in between Nashville and Knoxville, Matthew Thomas of Thomas Leather Company is putting together remarkably well made leather goods all on his own. Heading over to his Etsy shop, one will find a small assortment of hand-stitched leather wallets, belts, and bags. Upon closer inspection, you can really see the attention to detail he puts in to each piece and the passion behind it. According to Matthew, all the pieces are his own designs which are hand-stitched with a saddle stitching, a double needle approach that creates an exceptionally strong stitch. He goes as far to say, “It’s actually overkill for the things I’m making, but I like the finished product too much to use a running stitch or a machine or something; and durability is quite important to me. It’s time consuming but worth it.” What I find even better is that the craftsmanship does not just start and stop with the stitching. Matthew takes the time to punch out each stitching hole with a mallet, and painstakingly measures everything to exact proportions. Lastly, all pieces are made with vegetable tanned leather, which gives a very handsome and rich color to the leather. It’s a leather that is ready to take on character over time. In addition to wallets and belts, Matthew is willing to take on custom orders, as well. Coasters, playing card deck holders, and laptop cases have been made. He even says a cigar case in the works. Because of the Thomas Leather Company being a one man operation, inventory is limited. But contact him if you’re interest in having anything made, and you’ll find out good things do come to those who wait.