Ep. 73 – The Origins of Saddleback Leather: Saying Yes & Giving with Purpose – with Dave Munson
How does a volunteer english teacher from Oregon end up starting one of the world’s most premium leather bag companies, in Mexico of all places?
It all starts with the spirit of adventure and optimism that was instilled in our guest, Dave Munson, CEO of Saddleback Leather Co., at a young age.
You’ll notice throughout this conversation that Dave raises his hand and says “Yes!” a lot.
Dave’s first introduction to tough leather was on the back of a bull, during a bullfight… while he was fighting the bull. Then he relocated to be closer to his fledgling bag business, and soon found himself in an encounter with a corrupt Federale, who quickly became a friendly (but still corrupt) Federale.
At every step of his incredible journey, Dave’s confidence and willingness to accept new challenges led him to new opportunities. He believes that trying new and unfamiliar things is one of the keys to success in every area of life.
“It’s kinda weird when I see someone being self-centered. You’re really missing out, buddy!”
Saddleback Leather started as just Dave and his dad fulfilling orders together, but now it’s a thriving company with 70 employees and a factory in Mexico. Of course, he can’t pilot that ship alone. Dave understands the value of keeping wise counsel, asking great questions, and letting the sailors sail the ship.
Following his passion for producing the perfect leather bag did come at a cost – he had to stop working directly with youths, and he felt like helping children was his mission in life.
As it turns out, Saddleback Leather supports a much larger ministry than Dave was ever able to alone. Instead of Dave around a campfire with 30 kids, he can financially support dozens of campfires surrounded by kids. On top of that, he’s able to provide free daycare for employees in his factory, offer classes to employees internationally, and support a vocational training program in Rwanda.
“The more you step out and try things, the easier it is to say yes.”
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