Who is the "CO." in CLAFLIN, THAYER & CO.?
It's just me - Liz! I am a solo project, contrary to what the name might suggest. I do this, that, and everything else - pattern drafting, cutting, and sewing with some production help from local factories based in the San Francisco Bay Area. I love making clothing and bags and find much satisfaction in creating things other people love, too.
What is your design background?
My mom taught me to sew as a kid, though I didn't enjoy it much back then. In college, I started making my own clothes and worked in a fabric store. I was largely inspired to sew by the movies The Sound of Music and Pretty in Pink. I got my first industrial sewing machine in 2001 and have been making clothes ever since. I have an Associate's degree in shoe & accessory design but am largely self-taught through practice, trial and error.
Do you only have lips bags for sale?
At the moment, yes. I have been making the lips bags since 2009 in a variety of colors and leathers. I will eventually be adding more things to the shop, but I am starting with a narrowly focused assortment. Please check in periodically as I will continue to update the site.
How come you don't make moccasins anymore?
Simply because I got tired of making them and am focusing on other projects now. Moccasins are a great way to use the small pieces of leather leftover from bigger projects, and I like to waste as little as possible. If you want a pair of baby moccasins, I can still make them as a custom order but will not be selling them regularly in the shop. Please email for pricing & colors.
Where you do get your leathers?
Most of the leathers I use are purchased in Napa, CA. Prior to being known as a wine region, Napa had a large cattle industry with several tanneries located there to process and sell the leather by-product. Though the tanneries have since closed down or moved overseas, Napa is still home to the best wholesale leather supply on the West Coast. Most of the hides are European or Central American in origin and sold by the entire hide or side (1/2 hide). I mostly use cow hides processed with aniline dyes that have beautiful color saturation but still show all of the surface highs and lows characteristic of a natural hide. As a result, no leather is exactly the same and there will always be unique markings and differences from hide to hide. I also use metallic leathers which are plated, where the color is applied as a layer over the surface of the leather.
How do I care for my leather item?
Leather will evolve in surface finish and texture and become even better with age. For this reason, I love leather. You really don't need to clean it, unless you have a catastrophic accident of spilled red wine or something, in which case I can't offer you much encouragement. You can spot-clean absorbent leathers with a leather cleaner, brush dirt off of suede with a toothbrush or soft-bristled brush, or wipe off metallic leathers with a sponge. Please consult a professional dry cleaner for leather jacket cleaning.
Can you hem my jeans or fix this broken zipper on my bag?
Nope, sorry. Fixing broken clothing I didn't make is not my thing. I don't even hem my own jeans - I just wear them until they turn to shreds and fall off. I have so little time as is to work on all of the projects that really interest me, so I must decline the projects that do not. Thank you kindly for understanding.
What do you do with your leather scraps?
I use as much of every hide possible. Small pieces left over from larger projects become coin purses, pins, and labels. I donate small scraps after that - are you interested? Please email me - I would be happy to give you any scraps for free. I always have them, usually in many colors and sometimes decent sizes pieces. If you can repurpose them for personal or school projects, I would be more than happy to pass them on.