BELL & OAK 2014 - 2016
Here is a brief history behind the brand Bell & Oak I created that helped me get to where I am today. I'm very thankful for all of my customers who purchased a Bell & Oak product during that time, because of you I'm now able to further my career as an individual custom leather artist.
In 1957 my grandfather, Weldon Burgoon, opened Weldon's Saddle Shop in Denton Texas. My mom, uncle, and grandmother helped him start the business by making hand made products such as ropes, belts, saddles, and other leather goods to sell inside the shop. When saddle making was slow he picked up a few retail items like hats, boots, and shirts in order to keep cash flow going. As the years went by Weldon's Saddle Shop grew out of that old shack and into a bigger building that's been located on the same street corner for over 50 years in downtown Denton Texas. His hard work, dedication, and knowledge has supported our family in more ways than I can describe. Weldon built over 150 custom saddles during his career amongst countless other leather goods. At 84 years old he still comes to work every single day.
I never had the privilege to meet my other Grandfather, "Smokey" Wilkinson, but he was a cowboy too. He raised my Dad & 3 brothers around the western lifestyle which led him into a professional calf roping career. I was raised around leather, western, and "the cowboy way" my entire childhood. When I was 12 my parents bought me a dirt bike for Christmas which changed everything in my life going forward. After riding motorcycles for the better part of my teens, I was given a iMac which launched a self taught graphic design career that began in 2003. After working for a couple of different companies & freelancing, the year 2008 led me into co-owning the world's most popular online publishing platform in the motocross industry, vurbmoto.com. To this day, we set the standard of how online media works in that industry. In order to stay ahead of the game you have to be glued to the computer screen searching for the next design trend that could help elevate our company. We were growing at such a rapid pace that we were not only business owners, but also content creators and contributor managers.
With that being said, I decided to create a new chapter of my life. One that is dedicated to my grandfathers craft and to small brands trying to rejuvenate American Made Goods. The name Bell & Oak comes from the street corners of which Weldon's Saddle Shop sits and has been located in Downtown Denton since 1957. Currently all of the products are being made inside Weldon's using most of my grandpa's old tools that have been in our family for decades.
- Clint Wilkinson 2013