Dennis

My name is Dennis. I am 29 years old and starting out as an entrepreneur who strives for more in life. When I first started working with leather, I made a clutch purse. Making this was time consuming and frustrating, since we have to cut all of our leather with dull scissors and a utility knife, everything from lace to our cutouts for our purses or wallets. We don't have access to a clicker press, a bell knife skiver, patch machines, or leather splitters that they have in professional leatherworking shops in the free world. Here, we are limited to a flatbed industrial stitcher and a cylinder arm heavy stitcher. In many ways we have to compromise and find new and inventive ways to sew things – it’s difficult, but I've managed, and it has in many ways made me better and more 

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creative. On top of that, being able to buy the leather and all the other materials we need like rivets, glue, snaps, paint, stains, and other things becomes hard to get, especially when we have to buy them ourselves, and with having a job that only pays 25$ a month. Every month, I use my money to buy materials to make these purses, wallets, etc...in order to help provide for my family.

 

That first clutch purse I made I sent to my fiancée and two beautiful daughters, and to my surprise they thought it was professionally made. When I told them I made it myself, my fiancée told me that I should sell my stuff, which I did in a couple local stores in Ohio with her help. I can honestly say if not for my beautiful fiancée, all I have done and the man I am today would not be possible without her trust, love, loyalty, encouragement, and support. She is my world, my best friend, my worst critic but also my biggest inspiration on top of my two amazing daughters...

 

Initially I made and sold this leather work to help provide for her and my two beautiful daughters - being in prison makes it hard to help provide for them, but I do what I can. When I sent my daughters their own clutch and saw their smiles and they realized that I made it specially for them, it brought me joy knowing I could put those smiles on their faces. Knowing that my daughters didn't have to go without presents for Christmas or birthdays made me push myself even further.

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As an incarcerated stepfather, I always find ways to encourage my daughters’ growth while supporting them as they follow their dreams; despite being locked up I do all I can to show them they are loved, appreciated and wanted. Along with sending cards, letters and gifts, I help their mother pay for their tuition, soccer practice, and numerous dance classes but this is not enough - in trying to adopt these girls and make them my true daughters legally, I have come to find out that it is an expensive process and in my situation, requires someone who can fight on your behalf, so I save money for our adoption process and lawyer but also to build a savings account for them.

I wanted something that my daughters could be proud of and that could eventually with time and hard work provide for their needs, wants and desires as they walk through life, including a trust account. My princess and my angel inspired me to make this trademark and strive toward building a brand, something I can pass on to them. Because of them, I am taking the steps to build this brand for the long-term, because it is through them and for them that I have purpose in life.

 

Despite the extreme difficulty of this situation, I will always find a productive way to help my fiancée and children – for this reason I make jewelry through my beadwork, and I also make wallets, purses, handbags, clutches and many other things through my leather art because as a future father and husband I feel that it is my duty and extreme honor to help in making sure my family are taken care of.

I wanted something that my daughters could be proud of and that could eventually with time and hard work provide for their needs, wants and desires as they walk through life, including a trust account. My princess and my angel inspired me to make this trademark and strive toward building a brand, something I can pass on to them. Because of them, I am taking the steps to build this brand for the long-term, because it is through them and for them that I have purpose in life.

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I wanted something that my daughters could be proud of and that could eventually with time and hard work provide for their needs, wants and desires as they walk through life, including a trust account. My princess and my angel inspired me to make this trademark and strive toward building a brand, something I can pass on to them. Because of them, I am taking the steps to build this brand for the long-term, because it is through them and for them that I have purpose in life.

 

Despite the extreme difficulty of this situation, I will always find a productive way to help my fiancée and children – for this reason I make jewelry through my beadwork, and I also make wallets, purses, handbags, clutches and many other things through my leather art because as a future father and husband I feel that it is my duty and extreme honor to help in making sure my family are taken care of.

 

My family and I have faced plenty of struggles in this life, and we have found that when it hits, it hits hard and keeps coming relentlessly, which is what inspired me to make the items you see. I wanted to make something so unique, something one of a kind that would start this brand and build my dreams, that will provide for my family and give them something to be proud of. Knowing the power & importance of relationships and collaboration, I started working with another artist who paints in order to do the paintings on leather – he’s not very good at leatherworking, and I’m not very good at painting, but together we are able to create something that exceeds both our talents combined.

 

Growing up in a family deprived of support, love, and money, I struggled to find a place for myself because whenever I found a spark of love it was taken away through abuse, neglect, and hate. Coming from a family with no father, and a mother who cared more about her boyfriend, daughter, and drugs then her son, I have struggled to find purpose.

I am thankful to have found that purpose in my angel, my princess and my fiancée. With all I have endured in and out of prison I always make sure that I support, love, and do all I can to provide for my family and to make sure that my children have a positive role model, and a dad/father who truly wants them and will support and love them no matter what.

 

In addition to going to school for my human services degree and working as a teacher’s assistant in a construction trades program, I do beadwork and leather work in order to build my future and to make sure that family has a bright future, for it is through hard work and dedication that I will be all my daughters and fiancée believe and know me to be.

 

I will strive for more and be that positive force of change and will not rest till I make sure my family have all they deserve and need - this is my dream and my purpose, and these ladies are what make me strive to be and do more in life.

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