Growing up, my grandfather impressed on me that the most defining quality of a man is his name. Your name is your word, your work, your family, your character, your reputation. Your name is your legacy.
Since 2014, I’ve created behind the name Bell and Oak in honor of the iconic intersection where Weldon’s--my granddad’s saddle and western wear shop--has served the community of Denton since 1957. That name and that legacy is an indispensable part of who I am--but I’ve come to realize it’s not all of me.
So with that same grit and gumption, that same pioneering spirit that paved the way for my grandfather to establish his own business decades ago, I am setting my sights on a new frontier in leatherwork . . . under the banner of my own name.
Under the name Clint Wilkinson, I aim to provide a brand new experience to my customers. It will be highly personalized, individually curated, and will allow me to practice the more refined aspects of elite leatherwork. I want to move folks’ expectations beyond monotone, assembly-line knock-offs to a world where their leather products are prized heirlooms intimately birthed from a shared vision between the craftsman and his client.
The model is centuries old, but has been forgotten by most in the Western world. Master leathermen and women in France, Hungary, Japan, and beyond are keeping the tradition alive in tiny ateliers and enclaves sought out by faithful pilgrims who long to reintegrate the magic of artistry into their everyday wares. I want to re-forge this sacred and time-honored relationship between craftsman and customer right here in Denton—in a place I love, and for people--strangers and family alike--that I am committed to serve with dignity and exceptionalism.
This is not a decision I take lightly. After all, it is a risk creating as yourself; there are no layers of marketing or branding to protect you from scrutiny. And we all know that it takes a lifetime to build a name worth remembering, but only a second to destroy it. Nevertheless, I believe that if I can build the kind of name that truly represents a lifetime of character, uncompromising quality, and rare, world-class workmanship, that risk is worth it.
I’m a simple man. As simple as they come. I eat the same thing for breakfast every morning. I draw and sketch every day before I start working on leather. But I think there’s something about those rituals--those every day liturgies-- that seep into our very identities. Those small, every day practices do something to us: they keep naming us, over and over. They shape and conform the name we see on paper to the image we see in the mirror. What we do repeatedly is who we are and who we become. What you see is what you get. That’s the kind of craftsman—the kind of man—I want to be.
My name is Clint Wilkinson, and I am more than a brand. I am a father, a husband, a son, a citizen. And I aim to be a master leather craftsman.
Thank you for joining me on this new journey,