Hey, it’s Becca here, from Sadelmager. I’m the co-owner and founder of this Canadian leather company based in Toronto and Alliston, Ontario.
My father and co-owner, Bob Meadows, founded All In Tack in 1999. He tossed out the corporate life to instead pursue an early retirement plan, and started his own custom leather and tack business. He did this after training with some of the best in his field and focused on creating custom tack and repairs for equestrians.
As a child, I always loved working with my hands and studied fine arts starting at five years old. I began apprenticing with my father before I started high school and took on leathercraft. My favourite part about this medium to this day is how challenging and unforgiving it is, meaning you have to work slow and with intention.
Never in my life did I think that this would be my career, although I was always fascinated by the thought of starting a business in apparel and design. But in 2012 I woke up one day and I couldn’t walk. Within one week I lost my job, my apartment and my autonomy. I was so blessed to have my family and friends who supported me. They helped me to see that my chronic illness was a challenge as opposed to a downfall. It was during this experience that I started Sadelmager.
I adopted the same traditional techniques of saddlery passed down from my father and applied them to create apparel. My goal was to fulfill a need that I felt was lacking in fashion, especially in women’s fashion – durability. I felt I was always compromising on either style or quality and never felt like what I spent my money on had any longstanding value. I wanted to create something that was sustainable, both in how it was built and how it could be used. All our materials are sourced in North America, ethically, and without exploitive labour.
I started by creating a small line of bags at the local farmer’s markets. This was the first time I was actually able to make money as an artist. I remember thinking at the time “I don’t know I could do this without starving!”
From there I evolved the business and partnered with my dad. It’s been some years since my uncertain beginnings but I continue to draw inspiration from the everyday. I love nature and grew up on a small horse farm outside of Alliston, Ontario and currently reside in Toronto, Ontario. My fashion influences come from many places; from punk music to Audrey Hepburn movies. I love fusing different worlds and influences, and my goal is to consistently create something that can work for anyone, in any wardrobe, anywhere. But more than that, I desire to create something which inspires you. Inspires you to see the extraordinary in the everyday, to appreciate the small things, to see new details that bring you awe and to see the beauty of art in everything.