Frequently Asked Questions

Do you brutalize and murder poor innocent hippopotamuses?

No. Hippo Products uses only the finest oil-tanned cowhide. It's very durable, weather resistant, and looks better with age and use. The sides I buy are byproduct of our dairy and beef industries - none of these animals were raised for their leather. No Hippopotamuses were harmed in the making of my products, contrary to popular belief. Interesting fact though - most people find hippos to be cute and lovable, when they are actually human-killing beasts responsible for more animal-caused deaths in Africa than any other animal save the mosquito.

Why leather?

A loyalty to a craft: Leather craft was born back when humans were inventing the first tools. No one had books or The Kindle. During evenings, everyone sat around the cave and socialized while making things out of the parts of animals they couldn't eat. Pretty soon, there were cave-people running around in sandals, hats, and raingear made from woolly mammoth hides. Some used the hide to make pouches for carrying food and water. The cave-people liked how the leather was supple but tough, how workable it is. They appreciated how it repelled the rain. And they knew that if something was put together well, from good materials, it would last a long time. Leathersmiths ever since have understood the importance of spending a lot of time sitting around making things. For centuries, crafts-people perfected their hand-assembly techniques and not until the last hundred years or so have these hand-skills been diminished - traded for automation and product uniformity. Hippo Handcrafted believes in staying loyal to the time-perfected technique of hand assembly. Comprised of choice sections of top quality leather sides, all our designs are individually bench-assembled via methods known only to the hand-execution technique that we've perfected.

Aside from arguably being humankind's first craft, the assemblage of leather items has an appeal of its own. Akin to working with aromatic woods, leather work appeals to all the senses. No modern material comes close to matching the sensational attributes of authentic quality-tanned leather.

Why Hippopotamus Handcrafted Products?

A loyalty to a craft: I began making leather goods in 1992 while finishing my design studies at the University of Utah. I didn't have a sewing machine, so I hand-stitched my first few projects. I found there was something quite rewarding about constructing a beautiful, functional piece of leatherwork with only your hands and some simple hand tools. Although the time involved in crafting a satchel can exceed twenty hours, I offered up a product line to customers at the Fremont Sunday Market in Seattle and started taking orders. I began looking for customers who shared my fondness for quality leather goods (and an appreciation for my leather goods in particular!), and my leather-craft career was born. Over the years, I have made thousands of custom leather accessories for customers through my art-market booths, art gallery representation, art festival and trade-shows, earning international notoriety in the craft industry for solidly-made, well-designed leather craft.

Why do you call it Hippo?

While trying to think of a name for my leathercraft business, I was trying to alliterate the Hs and Ps found in the words "Handcrafted Products." Well...I came up with "hypothetical," "hypocritical" "hypotenuse," "hippie" and, "HIPPOPOTAMUS." I eventually narrowed it down to "hippie," and "HIPPOPOTAMUS." because both images were tough and lovable, like my leather goods, but I didn't think the name "HIPPIE" would be good for "HIPPOPOTAMUS" it It's tricky to spell but fun to say. And hippos are tough and lovable, like my leather goods. My cartoonist friend Joanne Powell drew my Hippo logo for me years ago. I made two leather cat collars for her cats and obtained rights to the logo...thanks Joanne.

Do you do custom work?

If you work in Hollywood and need a satchel for a "Bravehearty" or "Indiana Jonesy" movie or something, please call me...I've always wanted to see one of my works on a really big screen. As for everybody else, please Email Email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , call, or visit my booth locations with your ideas and I'll let you know what can be done. If you have a custom design idea, please spend just a little time sitting down and trying to write out your ideas on paper. The trickiest part of custom work is understanding what the client has in their head. Please begin the design process with your own pen and paper – when we get together we can take it from there. Do keep in mind that I don't use Velcro, plastic windows, or zippers. I don't make miniature backpacks or anything deemed 'too cute,' I don't do fringe, cigarette lighter covers, moccasins, or those little squeezy coin purse things. Please be aware that custom work involves a potential for more work and increased risk on the part of the maker – be patient with me. The best time of the year to catch me for a custom job is from January into Spring.

Where can I see your work?

I display and sell my wares at juried fine craft shows throughout the United States. If you live in, Utah, Idaho, California, Oregon, or Washington, chances are that I've shown my work in your neighborhood and may be there again soon. Here's my show schedule for the 2010 season:

Fremont Sunday Market:  If you live in or are visiting the Seattle area, please visit me at the Fremont Sunday Market. I have been a regular artist on display at the Fremont Market in Seattle's Fremont neighborhood for several years now. The Fremont Market is a diverse smorgasbord of crafts, foods and imports, with a separate flea market full of unsuspecting treasures. I'm there most weekends from April through December. Hours are 10-5, rain or shine.  Feel free to give me a call or an email to make sure we'll connect on the day you come down.  Phone: 206-467-9370, email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Custom sizing:

To find the shoulder strap length for satchels and purses, use one of your own purses or shoulder bags for reference. Measure from one end of the strap (where the strap connects to the bag) up and over your shoulder and down the other side to the place where the strap connects to the other side of the bag. This length is your shoulder strap length. It is usually in the high 40" to low 50". You may also indicate an individual's height in the event that you are ordering a strap length for someone else. All my straps are adjustable by 5" to 8".

Belts: Although I don't carry belts on my web site yet, I make a very nice belt.  For sizing, take an existing belt that fits you nicely...measure from the prong tip of the buckle - all the way along the length - to the hole you use the most.  That's the number I need.  I make belts so that you can go a few holes tighter and a few holes looser from that measurement.  This measurement is also the number I use to calculate the cost - which is by the inch.  I can make belts small enough to function as dog collars, and large enough to fit even the grandest of waists.  Choose between any of my buckles that you can see on my satchels from the satchel page of my web site.


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