Dave Munson poses with one of his designed leather satchels in his office in Azle Aug. 21. He has been selling leather bags for the past 20 years. (Sandra Sadek | Fort Worth Report)

Editor’s note: Made in Tarrant is an occasional Q&A series on small businesses started in Tarrant County. Submit your business here.

Saddleback Leather Company

Who? Dave Munson is the founder of Saddleback Leather Company. 

When? He began selling his bags on eBay in 2003 and has been in the market for 20 years. 

Where? The showroom is located at 105 Speer Ave., Suite 4, in Azle.

What? Saddleback Leather Company sells bags, briefcases, trunks, duffel bags, wallets, belts and more. 




Dave Munson started his leather goods company 20 years ago. He shared his story and creative process with the Fort Worth Report. This interview has been edited for length, clarity and grammar.  

Sandra Sadek: What is Saddleback Leather Company’s origin story?

Dave Munson: I was teaching English down in Mexico for a year and I needed a bag to carry my books. There was leather everywhere. So I thought, “What did Indiana Jones carry?” and I looked for a leather bag like that but I couldn’t find one. 

I found a guy making bags and I drew out the (bag) I had in my mind. Everyone loved it and everywhere I went back to the States, people were like, “Where’d you get that bag? Where can I buy a bag like that?”

I ended up back in Juarez with my black Lab and slept on the floor. No hot water, $100 a month apartment for three years. This father and son would send bags up on the bus to the Juarez bus station. I’d go get them and take them to El Paso and sell them in a friend’s workshop at night. He let me use his computer. 

So, for three years, I was selling on eBay. That’s when I met my wife on MySpace, right before Facebook. We got married a few months later and started a factory in 2008 in a town called Leon Guanajuato in Central Mexico. It’s where all the best tanneries in North America are. That’s their whole life there. They’ve been working since they were kids. 

Sadek: Your site says everything has a 100-year warranty. Why is that?

Munson: We don’t use any breakable parts. And our leather is the toughest leather that we can buy. It’s thicker than boot leather. Our hardware is unbreakable. It’s custom hardware … A clip will hold up to 750 pounds so no one’s breaking it anytime soon. 

We lined (our products) with really tough (leather), either pig skin or goat skin, instead of nylon or some sort of fabric. That’s why we can give the 100-year warranty. 

Sadek: Where do you get the inspiration for your designs?

Munson: I’m always looking at army surplus, old antique stores. I like old-fashioned things — just like your grandfather’s case. We don’t like modern and new. We like classic and old-fashioned. 

It’s also very natural. I was raised in Portland, Oregon, in my formative years. So the edges are raw edges and stitching is coarse, thicker … That’s because I’m used to tree bark. I was into outdoor stuff. So where you’re raised really influences your style. 

Sadek: You also do a lot of charity work with Saddleback Leather Company. You have a collection called Love 41. 

Munson: Love 41 is based on Psalm 41. It says that basically, if you love the poor and help the poor, then God likes that. And that’s the reason that we do what we do. 

We’re Christians, we’re believers … God inspires us to go and love people, so we love people around the world by using our company and the profits that come from it. We try to influence other people and other companies — we’ve probably taken 300 people to Rwanda to visit their sponsored kids. So, we try to help people but also give an example so that other people can also go and do likewise.

We have a ministry that one of our Rwandan boys started, and we have a school in Mexico at the factory. It’s a homeschool curriculum so (the students) get a high school diploma from the U.S. when they graduate. 

Sadek: Anything else you’d like to mention or share?

Munson: We’re the official leather goods of the Texas Rangers. It’s our second year as the official leather goods, and we have two more years. Rolls Royce also recently asked if we would like to be in the Rolls Royce Club coffee table book. The book is all about design, so they’re highlighting companies that love design. 

Sandra Sadek is a Report for America corps member, covering growth for the Fort Worth Report. You can contact her at sandra.sadek@fortworthreport.org or on Twitter at @ssadek19

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Sandra Sadek is the growth reporter for the Fort Worth Report and a Report for America corps member. She writes about Fort Worth's affordable housing crisis, infrastructure and development. Originally...