Column: Custom leather goods serving Jemison, Chilton County

Published 11:22 am Monday, January 22, 2024

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By Elisabeth Altamirano-Smith | Community Columnist

Local leather artisans, Tyler and Emily “Dale” Cole of Augusta, Georgia moved to Jemison in November 2023, and have brought their experience on making leather goods to Chilton County. Dale Cole Farm designs leather goods, creates personalized artwork on leather which is hand-drawn and hand-painted, provides leather cutting, repair and hand-sewn custom leather orders. All orders are customized to fit the customer’s requests and include a wide variety of products, some of which include: belts, Apple watch bands, cowboy hats, leather cleaning and reshaping, knife sheaths and gun holsters.

“It started when my wife needed a new seat for her horse saddle,” Tyler Cole, Dale Farm co-owner, said. “We thought, why pay $500 or $600 for a new saddle when we can fix it ourselves. I had my grandfather’s old leather tools, and we went to work.”

Once friends saw the leather items the Coles had created, they began receiving requests from the community until it grew into a well-loved business in Augusta, Georgia. In November 2023, the Coles moved to Jemison for an employment opportunity in commercial drone-land surveying.

“People in Chilton County have been so friendly and welcoming,” said Emily Dale. “We have already had several local businesses contact us about stocking some of our leather goods in their store. We have also met some people that are part of the horse and rodeo community, which is nice.”

Dale Cole Farms plans to include a store at the front of their farm to showcase their inventory at a later date, but is currently taking orders via Facebook on their page — Dale Cole Farms.

When a customer has a specific design in mind, Emily draws and sketches a personalized image on the leather. Once approved by the customer, Tyler cuts, “tools” and hand-sews the product. Once assembled, he passes the item back to Emily for painting.

“Leather lasts forever and it is an heirloom gift,” said Emily Dale. “I know many times people think of heirloom gifts as diamonds or watches, but so is leather. I love creating gifts for people and seeing them put it to use.”

One of Emily Dale’s favorite custom orders from the past was an antique Masonic bag that the Coles were commissioned to repurpose into memorial keepsake bookmarkers and keychains for the mason’s great grandchildren.

Another popular gift item is customized leather belts which range from $75-$150. The price depends on if the belts are plain, include buck stitching or tooled with decorative “floral” design.

“My favorite part of doing leather work is that these are things that people use every day,” said Tyler. “Whether it is a knife sheath or something else, leather is something that people touch and use daily.”

For more information, contact Dale Cole Farm at 706-401-4758.