This Alabama maker makes leather bags that are as buttery as cookies


Biscuit Leather Company, Homewood

The manufacturer: Becky stayner

Three years ago, Becky Stayner saw a leather handbag, bartered a bit, and found a new calling.

“My daughter and I were spending a weekend in Smith Lake and noticed this beautiful leather bag hanging from a staircase,” says Stayner. “I asked the owner where she got it and she said she did it herself. His father had been a leatherworker and had taught him the trade.

A professional food photographer with Baking light magazine, Stayner later took a portrait of the woman’s daughter at a high school football game. So they made a deal – Stayner took the picture and his friend showed him how to cut and sew leather.

“It was a bucket bag with two handles, very easy to make,” she recalls. “I started training in the evenings and on weekends, learning to work with leather – and the Biscuit Leather Company grew organically from there. I had one of my bags with me when I went out and people would ask me, “Where did you get this?” So I thought, ‘I bet I could charge this.’ “

Biscuit Leather Company is an Alabama maker with the mind of a great baker from the Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

Combining the aesthetic sensibility of a good photographer with the practical skills of a master craftsman, Stayner now creates high quality, functional leather bags, pouches, belts, newspaper covers and other pieces.

“I use either vegetable tanned leather or dyed leather from Horween in Chicago, America’s oldest tannery,” she says. “The tanned materials have a natural beauty and foundation, and many are honey-colored like a cookie, hence the name of the company. “

Stayner and his team of stitchers cut leather, then punch, sew, rub and wax (with a secret recipe) the bags until they shine like freshly buttered pastries. Although its bag line includes six styles (ranging from $ 300 to $ 500), its Original Grand Biscuit bag is still the top seller. Stayner offers them on its website and at arts and craft shows statewide. Or clients can schedule an appointment to visit his new studio in the Rosedale area of ​​Homewood and personally choose the leather and style of a bespoke bag, which typically takes six to eight weeks.

“I was working at home until we had a fire last spring,” she says. “A friend let me borrow her garage for a while. Then I met Terry Slaughter. A Birmingham advertising executive who runs the nonprofit Simon Cyrene, Slaughter had recently launched the New Rosedale Initiative to help revitalize the neighborhood.

“He was renovating these little shotgun houses and looking for artists to occupy them. So I rented one, ”says Stayner. “It’s really cute, a bit like a little cottage by the sea. And it gives me more room to work.

Stayner also shares her sewing and start-up skills through the BLC Workshop, a nonprofit she helped form to teach others how to start their own home businesses.

“With the exodus of textile workers to foreign countries, there are fewer men and women who have the skills to sew by hand,” she says. “The workshop’s mission is to train them in these skills, provide them with the education necessary to own and operate a piece-work business, and provide micro-loans for the tools and business licenses they require. will need. I hope to teach more people the craft and want to do it for a long time – because I think age makes people, like leather bags, better.

The product: Hand-sewn leather belts, clutch bags, handbags, tote and travel bags, as well as journal and notepad covers.

Bring back home: Protect your planner or appointment calendar with a leather journal cover ($ 100).

Biscuit Leather Company, 2764 BM Montgomery St., Homewood, AL 35209; 205-790-0786


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