Whether it’s saddles, belts, or other leather goods, artist Don Gonzales sells to cowboys, college students, and everyone in between. Don’s business, DG Saddlery, makes high-end custom saddles in Bryan, Texas. With a one year waiting list, Don’s saddles are made by hand, one at a time, and are covered in Don’s hand-tooled decorative touches. Join us as we talk to Don about:

  • His early aspirations to be a veterinarian
  • Leather as a medium for art
  • How a hobby became a side business became a full-time career
  • Finding direction as a maker and as a business

august-232-225x300saddle1 saddle2

I had never been in a project where I — I felt like I was wasting time sleeping, you know? It was one of them deals where like every day I couldn’t wait to get there. He lived in the shop, the shop had an apartment, and I’d be coming in the door, I had a key, I’d be coming in the door and he wasn’t awake yet


I can remember thinking at that time ‘I think I’m good. I can nail the interview. As long as I can get the interview, I think I’m in.’ Well, my “No” letter — my rejection letter — came back faster than I sent the application in


And I was putting out applications and I didn’t get one phone call, man. It just — the path wasn’t working. Then about that time, the saddlemaker, he needed help. And so I offered to come work for him. I said ‘You pay me contract. Just let me try. If you don’t like my work, you don’t have to pay me anything.’ He said ‘Well, you’re here all the time, might as well put you to work

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Music: MANUFUTURE by DJ Derk Jickface

Wordsmithery: Bill Livolsi