Tandy Leather Company, Fall-Winter 1961-1962
Dave Tandy started in the leather business in 1919, supplying replacement leather pieces to shoe repair shops. After WWII, his son Charles tapped into a burgeoning hobby movement in leather crafts, and this soon outstripped the repair supply business.
Starting in the 1950s, particularly with more leisure time and Western shows blanketing the TV and movies, plenty of people got into leather. Look at all the things this 1961 catalog shows that you could make from bits of hide: moccasins, bowling scorecards, school beanies, comb cases – all sorts of things. There were pages of purses and and wads of wallets; plus all the tools and hides to make them with.
You could do it purely as a hobby, like Dad and little Bud pictured on the front cover, or you could maybe make some money on the side.
In combining stores and catalogs, Tandy father and son discovered a strong business model. Not long after this catalog, Dave would pass away and Charles would apply the model to another business. He purchased a failing electronics company in Boston, and turned it into the Radio Shack empire, eventually reaching thousands of stores and far eclipsing the leather business, which Charles then sold in the 1970s to fellow business associates.
Ironically, the Internet eventually destroyed Radio Shack and the home electronics store business. But Tandy Leather survives, 101 years and counting, still with about 100 US stores, still producing catalogs, and still selling moccasins and wallets.