We had the good fortune of connecting with TJ Peden and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi TJ, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
Work life balance has always been tough for me. I tend to get out in the shop and next thing I know it’s 10 o’clock at night. Which wasn’t a problem back when I started this business and it was just me. Now with a wife and 4 month old at the house I’ve had to try and figure that out. It took me a long time to figure out a good balance for me and my family. I used to always be a little on edge because I knew I had a ton of customers who were waiting on their product. So I was putting in 15-16 hour days year round. And that just wasn’t working for us. So I physically and mentally had to take a breath and relax. I figured out some business plans that made the shop more productive. So I could still get almost the same amount of product out the door in a 10 hour day. And it’s been a much better experience. Because after all the reason most people start a business is to provide for their family. And that also means being able to take time off and spend time with them.Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I think one thing that sets me apart is I make everything that comes out of my shop. I make all my own templates and patterns, I hand draw every piece with a pencil straight onto the leather. So there is not any two things that come out of my shop that are the same. And I’m really proud of that.Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I live in a small town in west Texas of about 1300 people with one blinking light. So there’s not a whole lot of places to go. But some of my favorite things are hanging out on my patio with good music, a lone star beer and good people. We go to Palo duro canyon quite a bit which is a beautiful place here in the panhandle. Love to hunt and golf. That would be one heck of a week.The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My wife is always giving me good ideas on different styles and designs to try. She pushes me to always be moving forward. And my dad has always owned his own business and instilled a good work ethic and some business in me. And that’s helped me a ton.

Website: www.etsy.com/shop/TJsCustomLeather

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