In 2015, I decided to open Blythe Leonard LLC right out of the Celand Yard Dyers building, renovating and restoring the space as my business has grown over the years. I am a lot like my great-grandfather, I am told. We both want to provide jobs and create our own way in the world.
Blythe Leonard LLC began by making one bag, selling that one bag and buying materials for two handbags. It continued from there and now we create our handbags for men and women all over the country.
We believe in making our handbags one at a time and always guaranteed one of a kind. Our handbags are free of cancer causing chemicals, cardboard and stiffener free and made right here in our workshop in Thomasville, NC.
We have been blessed to support countless non-profits across NC and our community with our successes. I strongly believe in choosing to support causes that are near and dear to my heart--one reason why I chose to start my own company.
We have a wonderful team in our workshop which consists of my mom, Jane, and Beverly. Jane and Beverly cut leather all day where I get to design, sketch, pattern, sew and finish all products. Not one single piece of our brand is made out of our workshop.
I will continue to stand up for American Manufacturing and strive to design timeless, quality handbags that men and women can use for decades to come.
In 2020, I decided to open a second business, BL Maker's Market, which is a store that supports 170+ American Made Makers. Visit 12 East Guilford St. in Thomasville, NC Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00am to 6:00 pm to shop! You can visit our leather goods flagship store as well, which is located at 606 Davidson Street in Thomasville. We are open Tuesdays through Fridays, 8:00am to 3:00 pm. After hour appointments to shop can also be arranged, just by giving us a call!
It all started with a shear passion for creating and designing jewelry, shoes, clothes and yes, even bags. At age ten, I started my own jewelry company, The Blythe Collection--which I ran until my freshman year in college. Owning a company at such a young age taught me how to work with customers, how to display my creations, and how to work with the public.
I attended Savannah College of Art and Design and graduated in 2015 earning my B.F.A in Fashion Design and minoring in Accessory Design. At SCAD, I was immersed in creativity and out of the box thinking 24/7 for four years, which laid the groundwork for my business mindset for my career.
Creating luxury leather goods became a passion in college and one that I wish would have started sooner. After interning my junior year at a major mass market company, I quickly realized that working for a company that manufacturers their products overseas was definitely not the career I wanted.
I grew up in my great-grandfather's textile mills that he built from scratch beginning in the 1940's--a spinning mill, a hosiery mill and a dye house. Due to overseas competition, the hosiery mill and dye house closed in the early 2000's, leaving Thomasville to deal with a 13% increase in water bills and one hundred families out of a job. Luckily, the spinning mill is still in business and is only one of two left in the United States.
BL Maker's Market
Blythe working in her workshop with her mom, Jane.