We had the good fortune of connecting with Leigh Bostwick and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Leigh, alright, let’s jump in with a deep one – what’s you’re definition for success?
Success for me is happiness. With my business, success is the feeling of accomplishment and joy I get when I have created a product that makes other people happy. Yes, you do need to have a profit for your business to continue through the years, but money isn’t the source of my feeling of success. I want my products to be durable and lasting, for others to love my products and be proud to use them daily. I want them to love my products enough to want to return to make future purchases. When I see someone get excited about one of the products I have created, and see them using those products, I know I have been successful. Some people define success as achieving profit and prosperity, but sometimes that profit is short-lived. If you haven’t created happiness that lasts through the years, is that really success?
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Professionally, I am the owner of the company J’Allen Leigh. I create high-quality, hand-crafted, leather products at my home in Desoto, Texas. The J’Allen portion is my son’s middle name, and the Leigh is my name. Right now, I am my only employee. From the design, to the creation of the patterns, cutting the leather, to the stitching, to the sales and shipping, I am it. I am the social media (non) expert on staff, the web designer, the photographer, etc. Running this Texas-based company in which everything is hand-cut and hand-crafted, is a full-time job. I can truly make a bag fit your lifestyle. The ultimate goal behind creating the business and the styles is to reach the level of store quality when I complete a bag. It has taken a lot of sweat and tears, labor and love, faith and prayer, and financial budgeting to get the business to where it is today. I work early mornings and late nights around my teaching schedule and my son’s activities in order to fulfill this dream. The path has not been easy. I have had trials and errors. The countless hours spent on achieving the sources of money needed to purchase supplies, the research for making construction top-notch, the bag designs, and finding venues to sell my products are some obstacles. However, being busy is what keeps me going. Staying busy means that I am continuing to be successful at creating leather bags.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
First is Whataburger. My son and I love this place. It is actually a little embarrassing, but the ladies in the drive thru in Desoto know us. (haha)
Mattito’s is one of our favorite dinner spots. It is close to downtown and hands-down, one of the best Mexican restaurants in the Dallas area.
There are so many great places in Dallas– Klyde Warren Park, Deep Ellum arts district, Pioneer Plaza, Perot Museum, JFK Memorial Plaza, American Airlines center to catch a game, Northpark shopping, the many great restaurants in the area… There are so many great spots in Dallas, it is hard to name them all.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Family and friends. If it weren’t for my family and close friends encouraging me and carrying my products from the get-go, I would not be where I am today. From the time I started making bags, even as bad as they were, my family and close friends carried my bags (faithfully) every day and told people about them. They have even stepped up and assisted by working at my events. AND, truly, the prayers from all the people at church and those who visited with me at craft events have made the business successful. My sister, Brenda, set up a home preview for my first big showing. She continues to host home events every summer and winter to showcase my bags. When I first began to do craft events in Dallas, Brenda and my mom flew to Texas from Montana to work a 4-day event. When it came time to get the website completed, my sister Revae was my go-to for the written aesthetics. There is not enough room on the page to mention all of the support I have received from my friends. One example of such support would be from one of my best friends since kindergarten, Kim. She has been one of my best customers since day one. Her loyalty and love for my product warms my heart beyond words. The first bag I ever sold at an event in Dallas was to Frank and Liz. They helped me begin to believe in what I could accomplish and provided guidance on how to display my products and how to set up for events. Then came Leslie. She was the first person I did NOT know who had confidence in me and my ability and purchased a special-order bag. That purchase was the one that made me believe more in myself and in my brand. Her continued support is awesome. Those I have listed above are an amazing example of the support I’ve received along the way. There are so many other friends and family I could mention, but I would hate to leave anyone out! Some of these people I’ve known a long time, and some I’ve been fortunate to meet along the way. These people have believed in me, they proudly show off their purchase(s) or display items in stores, they help with events, they inspire me to test my skills, and they push me to be better. I’m am so grateful for all of them.
Facebook: J’Allen Leigh
Tammany Stern for photo of Leigh Bostwick. Brenda Kitto for black bag photo.