PHOTO OF WORKSHOP
If we didn’t mention it before, we like old buildings! We recently moved our workshop from a big WWII era warehouse to a smaller, more intimate space … in another old building. Our new workshop is on the north side of town at the edge of Globeville, one of Denver’s oldest neighborhoods and one with a long history of blue collar industries. Although our building is tucked right under the crossing of two busy freeways, it’s surprisingly quiet.
Our new home is on the ground floor of a brick building that was built in the 60’s to house the offices, dormitories, cafeteria, and chapel for the Denver chapter of the Salvation Army. The space where we have set up our workshop was once the chapel for the organization’s 30 residents and staff. We are quite fond of the heavy wooden doors, the blond brick walls, the faux ‘terazzo’ floors (colorful chips set into a concrete slab), and the stained glass windows, and the space has a really calm and quiet feeling about it. This is what the space looked like before we moved our things in:
IMAGE: GARRISON BAG IN EMPTY WORKSHOP
And this is what it looks like now that we’ve moved all of our things in:
IMAGE: WORKSHOP FROM SAME PERSPECTIVE
You’re looking at 1600 square feet of leather equipment, sewing machines, tables, tools, shelving, and materials. This is where we design, cut, sew, and assemble every item we sell. We also have our shipping area and office here: since we do everything ourselves, it’s nice to have it all under one roof!
IMAGE: DETAIL VIEW
Our products begin right here in the back of the room, as raw materials. Our canvas arrives on a pallet in giant rolls, and we store it under our two big cutting tables so that it’s easily accessible. Here, we roll out and cut fabric for whatever we’re making: Garrisons, Backpacks, Dopp Kits, and Roll Ups—everything has its own pattern.
IMAGE: FABRIC CUTTING TABLE AREA
Next to our fabric cutting table is our leather cutting table. This is where we inspect our leather hides and then cut pieces to make our leather wallets, leather bags, bag handles and straps. We order our leather hides directly from the tannery and we store them (you guessed it!) right here under the table.
IMAGE: LASER CUTTER AND DIE CUTTER
That big boxy machine is our laser cutter, and it’s what we use to cut out our complicated wallet parts. And we cut our bag handles and strap parts on the big table press using metal dies.
IMAGE: LEATHER CUTTING AREA
Once we cut our leather pieces, we wax, buff and, depending on the product, glue them on this large table. We store all of our leather scraps in bins and we try to use them later. This is also where we stitch our leather wallets (that clamp looking thing is a stitching pony).
IMAGE: CLOSE UP OF HANS AND SEWING MACHINES
This is a very large walking-foot machine we call Hans. This burly machine was originally designed to sew horse saddles, but we use it mostly to stitch our leather Garrison, Day Bag, and Weekender handles. Hans is in good company with our other walking foot machines, where we sew on leather labels and assemble our leather Garrison Bags.
IMAGE: SEWING AREA
Across from our leather table is our sewing cluster. We have six older straight-stitch industrial sewing machines along with a serger for overlock stitching. The vintage machines against the wall are specialized machines we’ve been collecting over the past few years. We have some fun ideas in mind about how we want to use them, but we’re not going to make any premature promises or we’ll get ourselves in trouble! 😉
IMAGE: ASSEMBLY AND SHIPPING AREA
Once our bags are sewn and the leather parts have been made, we move them onto these big tables, where we attach the bag hardware (rivets, hooks, buckles, etc) using a combination of table presses and a foot press. We store our finished bags, wallets and small goods in plastic bins until someone places an order, and then we pack them up and ship them out right here.
IMAGE: OFFICE AREA
This is where we print our shipping labels, order materials, send newsletters, answer your emails, and dream up new ideas and products. Since most of our work happens in the rest of the workshop, we don’t need a very big office. As you can see, we’re quite fond of old objects and office supplies 🙂
IMAGE: PLANTS IN CAFETERIA
You might have noticed that in addition to bags, we make bags for plants! At one point we found ourselves with way too many plants in our house (and in our workshop) so we came up with a way to free up space and to use up some of our excess waxed canvas. We began making hanging planters a couple of years ago which has freed up some more table top space. But we still have too many plants, and some of them have gotten pretty big over the years! Since we don’t have much natural light in our workshop, our landlords let us keep all of our plants out here in the hallway next to the cafeteria. They are very happy here so far!
This is where we eat our snacks and lunch, make coffee, and store extra supplies. We got this chalkboard from our friends at RedCamper several years ago. Over the years we’ve used it to play team pictionary, keep track of larger projects, and sketch out new ideas. We’re currently using it to map out a few of our custom projects.
IMAGE: FLOOR PLAN
In case you’re curious, here’s a bird’s eye view of our setup. So far the new layout is working well, and we have very little wasted space. We even have a little outdoor area where, if we have time, we’d like to plant a garden. In the meantime, it’s where we let our kiddo run around when he comes to visit.
ONE MORE IMAGE
We hope you enjoyed this virtual tour! We’re looking forward to sharing more about who we are and how we do things around here.