“Once Around Again”

I received this from a customer and I thought that it was interesting

The man who rescued Chrysler Corporation from its death throes is now 82 and has written a new book, ‘Where Have All The Leaders Gone?’

He says…
Am I the only guy in this country who’s fed up with what’s happening? Where the Hell is our outrage? We should be screaming bloody murder! We have a gang of clueless bozos steering our ship right into a fog bank! We’ve got corporate gangsters stealing us blind and we can’t even clean up after a hurricane – much less build a hybrid car. But instead of getting mad, everyone sits around and nods their heads when the politicians say, ‘Stay the course.’

Stay the course? Are you be kidding? This is America, not the damned ‘Titanic’. I’ll give you a sound bite: ‘Throw all the bums out!’

You might think I’m getting senile, that I’ve gone off my rocker, but someone has to speak up! I hardly recognize this country anymore.

The most famous business leaders are not the innovators but the guys in handcuffs. While we’re fiddling in Iraq , the Middle East is burning and nobody seems to know what to do. The press is waving ‘pom-poms’ instead of asking hard questions. That’s not the promise of the ‘America’ my parents and yours traveled across the ocean for. I’ve had enough. How about you?

I’ll go a step further. You can’t call yourself a patriot if you’re not outraged. This is a fight I’m ready and willing to have. The Biggest ‘C’ is Crisis.(Iacocca elaborates on the nine C’s of leadership, with crisis being the first.)

Leaders are made, not born. Leadership is forged in times of crisis. It’s easy to sit there with your feet up on the desk and talk theory. Or send someone else’s kids off to war when you’ve never seen a battlefield yourself. It’s another thing to lead when your world comes tumbling down.

On September 11, 2001, we needed a strong leader more than any other time in our history. We needed a steady hand to guide us out of the ashes. A Hell of a mess, so here’s where we stand.

We’re immersed in a bloody war with no plan for winning and no plan for leaving.

We’re running the biggest deficit in the history of the country.

We’re losing the manufacturing edge to Asia, while our once-great companies are getting slaughtered by health care costs.

Gas prices are skyrocketing, and nobody in power has a coherent energy policy. Our schools are in trouble.

Our borders are like sieves.

The middle class is being squeezed every which way.

These are times that cry out for leadership.

But when you look around, you’ve got to ask: ‘Where have all the leaders gone?’ Where are the curious, creative communicators? Where are the people of character, courage, conviction, omnipotence, and common sense? I may be a sucker for alliteration, but I think you get the point.

Name me a leader who has a better idea for homeland security than making us take off our shoes in airports and throw away our shampoo?

We’ve spent billions of dollars building a huge new bureaucracy, and all we know how to do is react to things that have already happened.

Name me one leader who emerged from the crisis of Hurricane Katrina. Congress has yet to spend a single day evaluating the response to the hurricane or demanding accountability for the decisions that were made in the crucial hours after the storm.

Everyone’s hunkering down, fingers crossed, hoping it doesn’t happen again. Now, that’s just crazy. Storms happen – deal with it! Make a plan. Figure out what you’re going to do the next time.

Name me an industry leader who is thinking creatively about how we can restore our competitive edge in manufacturing. Who would have believed that there could ever be a time when ‘The Big Three’ referred to Japanese car companies? How did this happen, and even more important, what are we going to do about it?

Name me a government leader who can articulate a plan for paying down the debit, or solving the energy crisis, or managing the health care problem. The silence is deafening. But these are the crises that are eating away at our country and milking the middle class dry.

I have news for the gang in Congress. We didn’t elect you to sit on your asses and do nothing and remain silent while our democracy is being hijacked and our greatness is being replaced with mediocrity. What is everybody so afraid of? That some bonehead on CNN will call them a name? Give me a break. Why don’t you guys show some spine for a change?

Had Enough? Hey, I’m not trying to be the voice of gloom and doom. I’m trying to light a fire. I’m speaking out because I have hope – I believe in America. In my lifetime I’ve had the privilege of living through some of America’s greatest moments. I’ve also experienced some of our worst crises: The ‘Great Depression,’ ‘World War II,’ the ‘Korean War,’ the ‘Kennedy Assassinations,’ the ‘Vietnam War,’ the 1970’s oil crisis, and the struggles through years culminating with 9/11.

If I’ve learned one thing, it’s ‘You don’t get anywhere by standing on the sidelines waiting for somebody else to take action.’ Whether it’s building a better car or building a better future for our children, we all have a role to play. That’s the challenge I’m raising in this book. It’s a “Call to Action” for people who, like me, believe in America. It’s not too late, but it’s getting pretty close. So let’s shake off the crap and go to work. Let’s tell ’em all we’ve had enough.’

Make your own contribution by sending this to everyone you know and care about. It’s our country, folks, and it’s our future. Our future is at stake!


A Skirting Story

A Skirting Story

I take pride in improving on available leathers to the trade drawing on a lifetime in this business and the mentoring from my dad, my uncle and my grandfather who was the founder of our company. Directing a tanner to modify their tannage for a new product not otherwise available which helps our industry is much more satisfying than finding a way to squeeze an extra profit from our customers. In addition to our regular trade, we have some high profile clientele such as the NYPD mounted police department, the US military, some of the best polo players in the world, the tack for the winners of a dozen Kentucky Derbys, high end boots made in Argentina for clients such as HRH Prince Charles, bookbinding leathers for The Library of Congress, Harvard, Stanford, etc. A month ago I was hired as an expert witness in leather for a case on the East Coast. All of these are so fulfilling to me as well as the customers who call and are happy with the product and/or service which they receive from our company.

Becuase of my business philosophy, we do something which no one else in this industry offers: free freight on orders over $75 and free pickup on leather which doesn’t meet the customer’s expectations (some minor, reasonable, requirements of course….like don’t cut up the leather and ask for a return…or let us know within 15 days AFTER your receipt). The reason that we do this is because leather is so difficult to describe in words or pictures that we want you to know that we are trying to act as your eyes to give you the leather that you expect, not the leather that we want to get rid of.

Most importantly, I wanted to share with you the “story of our new USA skirting:”. We used to offer skirting from Westfield Tanning until they went out of business. The leather was very well received by our customers and was even used by West Brothers in the production of a custom made saddle for one of our Presidents. I started working with a tanner in Argentina who was purchasing North American steers to produce a Golden type skirting. The first couple of shipments were very nice so we increased our orders substantially. Unfortunately, the leather which arrived in the next few orders was much too soft and we made a claim with the tanner. The skirting, though being 12/14 oz, when put grain side up on a table and folded with the backbone towards the belly would just lay in place like a limp rag. (The skirting should snap back and not be able to stay in this position.) The US agent who came to inspect the leather found nothing wrong with the leather and we were stuck with a financial loss. However, we decided to try to work with the tanner on future production as our earlier shipments indicated good potential. As a result, I made a trip to Argentina every 6 weeks to inspect all leather coming to us, about 2000 sides each visit. I took notice of which North American hide sources resulted in the best production of skirting. The hides from a broker in Canada produced by far the nicest skirting. They had a nicer grain and very interestingly to me, they did not run off in weight around the rib cages (this is a difficult defect to readily detect) These visits lasted for a little over a year. Our customers were very happy with the leather. After about a year, my visits stopped. The tanner forbade me from pre-inspecting our leather after I received a shipment which was not the leather that I inspected and I made a complaint. For the last couple of years we have been purchasing our leather elsewhere and I am concerned about the lack of consistency in the leather which we have been receiving. Sometimes it’s great and sometimes there are too many butcher cuts and/or other defects. It’s difficult for us to give all of our customers the leather which they need.

A couple of months ago I approached the hide broker in Canada, who owns a US tannery, to see if we could have a skirting made to our requirements which is very different from the company’s current production of skirting. The first two sample shipments sold out very quickly and we have just received our third shipment. I have called most of the saddle makers who have purchased the skirting and so far we have an excellent response. I have been writing about this for weeks. The leather is made by agreement for Siegel of California, Inc only by Wickett and Craig. We are using only their top selection of hides. As we become aware of problems, they will be rectified whether in tannage or hide selection. The price is 159.95/each. I hope that if you are a custom saddle maker you will give this a try. Not only do we hope to be able to give you better value for your money due to excellent cutting yield, but we hope that you will come to be able to depend on the product always being consistent… for example no hard spots that are uncuttable.

Hope to hear from you soon with a trial order. Of course, your satisfaction is guaranteed.

Greetings from Steve Siegel

Welcome to theĀ  Siegel Leather Blog.

Over the coming months I hope to share some of my 30+ years of experience in the leather trade.

pic of steve