Made in the Mountain Empire: Bristol Branded Leather Company


Bristol is a unique area with a state line running through downtown.

So, one local craftsman is using his skills to feature iconic symbols of Bristol in his small leather goods.

News 5's Jessica Griffith show us Bristol Branded Leather Company in this week's Made in the Mountain Empire.

"I like to pay homage to the city where I'm from," owner Ben Sharret said. Bristol Branded Leather Company has only been around since January. But Sharrett said it started up quickly.

"I thought one day if I could make a leather bracelet. so the next day it was just full blown we're going to local craft stores and buying scrap leather and all that," he said. Products include key chains, bracelets and coasters. Many feature local ties, like a Stateline leather key fob. Or the iconic Bristol sign. But that isn't all, there are other symbols, and he can customize them. "If it'll fit on a bracelet or a key fob I can put it on it," Sharrett said. He said the most popular product is the Bristol sign. Locals love it, and so do tourists. "They can actually carry them home with them rather than just have a picture. They can literally have something tangible to keep with them at all times," Sharret said. The process varies, depending on what product he's making. He showed me how he makes the Bristol sign keychain. He'll start by cutting the leather, stamping it, staining it, adding a top coat and smoothing out the edges, depending on how the customer wants it, before adding a leather lotion and the key ring.

Bristol Branded Leather is only starting out. Future plans include adding wallets to the collection. "If you have a good leather product, you want to keep it for as long as you can," he said. You can find the products at mercantile on state or online.

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