photograph by Stacey Van Berkel

“I didn’t want to design a bag on the computer and send it to a factory. I would never feel the leather, never touch the thread,” Blythe Leonard says. “I wanted to create every day. Do something different every day.” And so, one year after graduating from the Savannah College of Art and Design in 2015, Leonard established her namesake, handmade leather goods company in Thomasville.

From the start, the workspace was extra special to Leonard: The building used to be a dyehouse, operated by her great-grandfather. Now, decades later, Leonard hopes to continue his legacy of creating jobs and championing American-made products. 

All of her materials — from buttery leather to brass hardware — are sourced from the U.S., and all of her bags are one of a kind. One of Leonard’s favorite things about her craft, she says, is designing custom products: “From sketching to patterning to making, I love the process,” she says. “And giving it to the customer! And them falling in love. It’s just” — she pauses — “amazing.”

Blythe Leonard
606 Davidson Street
Thomasville, NC 27360
(336) 687-5366

This story was published on

Emma Laperruque works as a food writer and recipe developer at Food 52 in New York City.