IVINS — Owned by a husband and wife duo who create handmade heirlooms that stand the test of time, a a unique leather goods company opened its doors.
What started as a simple interest in learning a new trade quickly turned into a full-time business for couple Ivins Todd and Lucy Duke, owners of Lazy 3 Leather Company.
Todd Duke said the idea for the leather business was first sparked by a wallet he bought at a big box store. As the owner of a trucking company in Colorado, he said wallets often blew holes in his jean pockets when he sat for long periods of time. As he went through several wallets, he had a decision to make: keep buying more wallets or try to craft his own.
Prior to creating his first wallet, Duke said the only leather working experience he had was in high school when he made monkey balls and sold them to other students for $5. Determined to learn all aspects of leathercraft, he scoured the internet for instructional videos and spent his time watching others do their leatherwork on YouTube.
The first item Duke created from a YouTube tutorial was made with suede leather he bought at a garage sale. Unsure how the process worked, Duke said he first used his wife’s home sewing machine, a machine he quickly learned was not made for working leather. Because of this, the couple decided to use the last of their trucking company money to buy a special sewing machine to continue their craft and start their business.
“It’s amazing what you can find on the internet,” Duke said. “For the most part, I learned everything on YouTube, just watching people and how they did it, and then developing our own path from there and being creative.”
In December 2019, Duke said he and his wife left a small farming community in Colorado for the desert landscape of southern Utah. Attracted by the region, they quickly discovered the large artistic community and immersed themselves in it.
“The maker community here is, I would say, second to none in the country,” Todd Duke said, pointing to an order of 5,000 leathers they are currently working on.
After moving to Utah, Lucy Duke, formerly a newborn photographer who sold handmade crochet accessories through Etsy, decided it was time to get into the leather business with her husband.
As she used her previous skills on Etsy to upload their handmade leather wallets, she said they were shocked to sell 40 wallets this very first Christmas. Duke now handles both the graphic design of Lazy 3 Leather Company and the creation of leather products alongside her husband.
Shortly after moving, the couple began selling their wares at the St. George Downtown Farmers Market, then moved their wares to the MoFACo artisan cooperative, where their work can be seen today. Lazy 3 Leather Company can also be found at Red Canyon Company in Hurricane.
Although they still have an online Etsy store that reaches people around the world, Duke said the majority of their business comes from the St. George area.
With batch orders now numbering in the thousands, Duke said they were left with buckets full of leather scraps. To avoid waste, they use this leather to create smaller items such as 3D animal keychains, earrings, and even their own Lazy 3 Leather Company business cards.
The best advice Duke said she could give to other crafters is to band together as a community. She loved learning from others and uplifting each other.
“Find someone who specializes in the same craft,” Duke said. “They will help you grow and learn. There is no competition when everyone has the same goals.
The couple agreed that it was about doing much more than creating products for their customers. personalized leather goods also have special sentimental value to those who receive them.
“When I create a product, I want it to be something they use every day that only gets better with age,” Todd Duke said. “Something they can pass on to their children when they pass away.”
As for the company’s future goals, Duke said there are currently no local facilities to purchase full-grain leather or hydes in southern Utah, which they hope to change. With the closest location to Las Vegas or Salt Lake, the next big goal on the horizon is to become Washington County’s premier leather supplier.
Lazy 3 Leather Co offers a variety of custom items including purses, wallets, bags, key chains, belts, gun holsters, knife holsters, mouse pads and even shoes.
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