After a quarter of a century, Leatherbeaten is closing

End of an era

The very beginning

Tupperware Party!

In the beginning, the internet did technically exist, but it was on a dark screen with blinking green characters, and everybody knew each other.  We were not early adopters of the technology.  We built up a small local following with our famous Tupperware (not actually Tupperware) parties.  This is part of a flyer I happened across recently from our second event, inviting the local kink enthusiasts to an evening of snacks, drinks and leather fondling. The logo was cut out of a Good Housekeeping magazine and modified appropriately. People ate, drank, conversed and laughed. From them we learned what they wanted and got to work. We still find our best inspiration from the folks we meet, looking for a piece that's exactly what they need.

The double buckle restraints

Early Days

As mentioned, we started Leatherbeaten in 1997/98. And yes, everything really was in black & white back then, and we developed our black and white photos in an actual, impromptu darkroom.

These were our first restraints ever, so with the imagination that would soon become our hallmark, we called them The Double Buckle Restraints.

Hand punched, hand stitched and hand riveted - glad those days are gone!  But they were super comfortable and adjustable. Maybe we should make them again...

rum, sodomy, & the lash

Early Experimentation

The Able Seaman was a replica of a genuine naval cat o' nine design recorded in  Clifford Ashley's fabulous 'Book of Knots'.  

Who could resist recreating this lovely, nasty flogger? Well we could, after making a number of them.

The braiding is complex - this is a single strand of 1" manila rope twisted in many bizarre configurations. And you really need a bunch of free time, say on a square rigged four master, to put one together.  And yes, they're lovely, but they're  impossible to clean; after a lashing at sea, the blood soaked cat would be thrown overboard. 'Nuff said!

A Typical Sales Trip

Finding Hidden Drives

Our sales trips usually involved two people, one motorcycle with a disastrous flaw, a tent, two saddlebags full of clothes and several black bin liners stuffed with whips.  This is at a long, long gone fetish store, outside Ann Arbor, MI, called Hidden Drives.  It was on a  dirt track leading off the highway, and lavishly fitted out on the inside, but the outside just looked like an old barn, which, in fact it was.  The only clue to its presence was a yellow diamond shaped sign by the side of the road that read "Hidden Drives", and which looked so much like the regular "Hidden Drive" highway sign that we drove past it five times before we saw the extra 's'.

This bike was a 1975 Honda CB500/4. The flaw was a worn out clutch cable that  snapped on us two days later on the way into Chicago.

An Inside Look

In The Workshop

I've actually forgotten how many workshop spaces we have had over the years.  We always seemed to be on the move; often in the dead of night, occasionally in idiotically heavy snowstorms, sometimes using a bespoke combination of motorcycles and shopping trolleys. Everywhere we've been, our goal has been to create tasty toys for BDSM enthusiasts around the world. Here our master whipmaker is throwing together a pineapple knot to decorate a Jellicle Cat.

Marketing? Us?

Early Valentine's Ad

One of the things that distinguishes Leatherbeaten from, say, Harley-Davidson, is our respective approaches to marketing.  

HD, I suspect, have a healthy respect for marketing, and an even healthier advertising budget, enabling them to employ multinational ad agencies to prey on the psychological weaknesses of middle aged, middle class men.  Here at Leatherbeaten, we don't have an advertising budget, and our marketing strategy has usually involved cut'n'paste posters stapled to telephone poles.  

Very occasionally, we ran ads like this one, in Peterborough's student and community newspaper.  

New digs (Again)

On the move (again)

That workshop moved so many times that every so often we'd turn up to work and it would have moved without us. This was one of the rare occasions when we bothered with an open house. As our regulars know, nice looking, shiny retail premises have never been our top priority, but I seem to recall making an effort for this one. No pics, though, for an aide memoire.

Our Elusive Founder

last seen wearing

This is the only known photograph of our elusive founder, Hyacinth Prendergast. It was found stuffed into a teapot in our workplace kitchen, and despite having clearly suffered some superficial damage, it represents the best likeness you are ever likely to see of the redoubtable Ms Prendergast.  

In August of 2007 she abandoned her sailboat in the Makassar Strait and struck out into the dense rainforest of Kalimantan.  There, in the convivial company of tapirs and orang utans, she continues to direct our global enterprise; eschewing the company of humans, and rebuffing all attempts to persuade her to return to what she calls "civilization-in-inverted-commas".

Still creating

Move to the Big City

After years of resistance, we finally moved to Toronto. As can be seen, we may be city slickers, but we're still creating gear the old fashioned way. This is a Dragonfire taking shape under our mastercrafter's hands - one piece, from lash to handle. If you make it out to the workshop, you'll still find a dearth of pretty retail space - but will find us happy to discuss the fine details of gear to satisfy your innermost desires.

of an era

The end

This is it. Thanks to all of our enthusiastic and faithful customers over the years. We love you people!

They say that those who can't do, teach. We'll be teaching our craft through the medium of Patreon. We welcome all leather lovers. Come join us!