About the Mercantile
Our shop was born in Mexico on a large isolated ranch, where Ranchlands' founder Duke Phillips III was raised. Each month, a saddle maker would come to the ranch to fix their tack and make any new bridles or reins that were needed. Duke looked forward to this visit every time and began a collection of his own tools that lived in a little leather bag on his saddle.
As Duke grew older and began managing different ranches, he always made a space for leather work. When he moved to the Chico Basin Ranch in 1999, he selected the old wood shop for the leather room. Duke started making bags for his three daughters, and then their friends wanted them, and their neighbors... and thus the Mercantile was born.
Today, our leather shop still lives at the Chico Basin and now shares a building with the saddle house. Our team of artisans is led by Madi Phillips and Tess Leach, Duke's daughter-in-law and daughter. The artisans who join our team may or may not arrive on the ranch with prior leatherworking experience; training these new leatherworkers is part of how we aim to keep the traditional methods of leatherwork–an essential part of ranching heritage–alive.
Duke's childhood in Mexico was the seed of our shop, and in our designs, we try to stay true to the core tenets of simplicity, practicality, and durability that characterize traditional ranch-made leathercraft as we create designs for life today. The goods we made are inspired by the pieces that we use on the ranch. For example, our Billie Bag is based off of a traditional Australian style of saddlebag that is used to carry a tea canister.
Over the years, the scope of goods we carry has expanded beyond our leather pieces to include an array of wares that complement our lifestyle or share our guiding principles of craft, culture, and sense of place.
We've also expanded our production, partnering with other leather shops to help us meet the scale of demand for our goods. Our longest-standing and most committed partner has been the team at "The Saddle Shop" at Colorado Correctional Industries (CCI). We work closely with the craftsmen in the shop here, exchanging ideas about design, materials, construction, and more. They receive prevailing wage, which helps them pay off restitution, court fines, child support, and save for when they are released from prison. We donate 1% of total sales from Ranchlands Mercantile to Creative Corrections Education Foundation (CCEF), a nonprofit organization recommended to us by the craftsmen at CCI. CCEF provides scholarship and financial aid opportunities to children of the incarcerated and at-risk young adults to enroll in college, trade school and certificate courses.
If you have any questions about our shop or would like to learn more, please send us a message using the form below.