Steven Soria was destined for leatherworking. Born into a family of saddle makers, he grew up playing with edge creasers, beveling tools, and leather scraps. Today he owns and operates Make Smith Leather Co. in downtown Santa Barbara, where he still works with (and learns from) his father. In honor of Father’s Day, we sat down with Steven to talk about how his dad has inspired his craft.
The beginnings of Make Smith…
My grandfather and his brother were saddle makers up until the late 1960’s. My dad grew up around the shop and eventually ended up taking over. By this time much of the world had changed, moving away from a need for saddles, so the leather shop became more of a repair shop for travel goods. Eventually my mom started working there, too. I was raised around the family business, so my play toys were tools and leather. I eventually went on to explore fine arts and integrated our family trade into my practice.
I officially started my business on September 6, 2013. That was the day that I opened my doors to the public and my current location in downtown Santa Barbara. I was already selling online and doing custom leatherwork, but I wanted more of a presence. It’s here that I created a collection of designed goods and opened a small shop branding it Make Smith.