Island belt buckles (left and middle) designed by Bernard Kelly Designs
Success is in the details at Cellar Leather
Year-round residents of the Cape see many stores come and go on Main Street in Hyannis, but if you are familiar with the area, you’re sure to have strolled by Cellar Leather at 578 Main Street, where leathersmith Jeff Taylor has set up shop for nearly 40 years.
Taylor’s shop is a colorful sea of leather goods, from bags to clogs to his signature leather belts and belt buckles. “We offer an eclectic selection of unique leather goods,” says Taylor. Unlike many leather goods in an era of online ordering and mass production, Taylor oversees the making of his leather products from start to finish, ensuring that each piece is special and a true piece of art.
Using his home basement studio and his Hyannis shop for crafting, Taylor’s hands-on method is important to him as a longtime leathersmith. “My passion about my work comes from the good feeling of creating my belts and leather goods from beginning to the finished product,” says Taylor. “It’s paying attention to all the detail and making quality leather product that can be appreciated for a long time.” This detail, perhaps, is what has made his business successful for decades.
Taylor’s leather crafting started after he graduated from college in New York, the same place he started showing his products at craft fairs in 1977. He wasn’t necessarily thinking of moving to the Cape, so it was fated that he met Brian Framson of Jewelcraft in Hyannis at one of those shows. “It was he who suggested that I move to the Cape and open a shop,” says Taylor, and in 1980, he made the move to 578 Main Street and has been open year-round ever since.
One of Taylor’s specialties is handmade leather belts and buckles, many of which will remind you of the Cape with shapes of oysters, anchors, hooks and more. His favorite leathers to work with include water buffalo and traditional English Bridle leathers, but he does not discriminate—a variety of cowhide and buffalo leathers are used in Taylor’s store, all of which are naturally vegetable tanned.
With Cellar Leather, you get the quality you pay for. “Handmade leatherwork using a natural quality leather is bench-crafted to allow attention to be paid to detail, and there are no shortcuts to produce things quicker,” says Taylor. “My work is done with a specific benchmark of craftsmanship that will stand out from mass-produced products.” And stand out they will. A leather accessory from Cellar Leather will last you for years, and whether you’re a year-rounder or just a visitor, it will surely remind you of Cape Cod.
Mary Anglin is an intern for Cape Cod Life Publications.