In an era when business is dominated by factory production, Keith Valley is keeping traditional craftsmanship alive, one custom leather saddle at a time.
Keith Valley’s hand-tooled leather saddles take into consideration how the horse and rider move individually, creating a comfortable ride for the pair. He spent three years as an apprentice in Montana before moving to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where his business, Keith Valley Saddle Co., attracts tourists who stop by to admire his work.
Now, Valley is also getting national attention from the Deluxe Corporation's Small Business Revolution documentary project — a yearlong campaign that celebrates the vibrancy, variety, and community impact of small businesses across the country. The Deluxe Corp. developed the Small Business Revolution to focus on the importance of personal touch and local involvement in an era when business is becoming increasingly impersonal. The campaign is capturing the stories of small businesses and their customers, families and friends — all of whom are a crucial part of what makes our communities whole.
“The hands-on customer service, the entrepreneurial spirit and the deep community involvement people find in the small businesses they frequent make all the difference,” said Amanda Brinkman, chief brand and communications officer for Deluxe Corp. “Telling these moving, inspirational stories and putting a spotlight on these owners is our way of celebrating the best parts of American business.”
Due to the time-consuming nature of leather working and his attention to detail, Valley estimates he produces approximately 13 saddles each year. He credits his wife as his motivation, and his horse for keeping him sane after long hours at the workbench. Hoping to keep the trade alive, Valley is open to hiring an apprentice – and that’s the type of community impact that the Small Business Revolution is all about.
Read a profile of Skyhorse Saddles in the January 2016 issue. View a longer-form documentary about similar small businesses in America on the Small Business Revolution website.