Almost everyone, whether they are aware of it or not, loves certain types of leather. At Beargrass Leather, Sam and I have our favorites too. One thing that we had to learn was to roll with the leather supply punches. Leather availability for chrome tanned products can be hit-and-miss. Therefore, we have made some priorities.
Our priority list almost always begins with "temper." This has to deal with the firmness of the leather. A great way to think about this is in terms of cooking noodles. An uncooked or barely cooked pasta noodle would have a firm temper. We want our temper to be soft yet firm (medium). Mostly, we want our big bags and totes to stand up by themselves (especially under the weight of some of our rolled straps).
We also prioritize American Bison. Not all buffalo leather is created equal because of a large industry for tanning water-buffalo. If you ever take a snow-coach through Yellowstone National Park, you will quickly be told that the tour guide will only use the term "bison." Bison Bison is the Latin name for the Prarie Bison that roam YNP, and it is the only bison leather purchased by Beargrass. If you are looking for a buffalo/bison bag, remember to use the search term "bison."
Finally, we love natural looking leather. Sometimes we buy a dark cherry stained elk. For the most part, we stick to leather with a cool grain (most commonly shrunk and not plate stamped), and we don't shy away from range marks and nicks. We think this adds character. We hope that you feel the same way.