BucketTalk Ep 24 | Dustin Loftis

Dustin Loftis



From a self-taught hobby to fully-realized craftsmanship, Dustin Loftis has turned his passion for art and western lifestyle into a tangible living. Owner of Dusty Hide Leather Company, Dustin has specialized in creating one-of-a-kind custom leather goods for the past 10 years. Listen in as Jeremy sits down with Dustin to learn about his start in tooling leather, custom upholstery, teaching, horseback riding, and more.

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ABOUT Dustin

With a background in art from an early age, Dustin Loftis has always wanted to apply his artistic talent to a craft he can earn a living from. He had considered tattooing and other crafts, but working an unpaid apprenticeship was not a practical situation. One day, a friend introduced him to leather crafting and let him design a belt.

“I had no idea how to draw Western floral patterns at the time, but I drew some out, kind of Googled some stuff. And then, you know, figured out kind of where I wanted to go with it. I knew a few things. And I was good at art. So I drew a pattern out, gave it to him, and he put it on the belt. When I got it in the mail a few months later, man, I thought it was the coolest thing ever.”

Dustin has now been making custom leather goods for almost ten years. What started off as a self-taught hobby flourished into his lifelong craft - from making custom belts for a few close friends to owning a full-fledged business. Throughout this process, Dustin has become disciplined in his artistry through striving to master his craft.

“I mean, essentially, I learned how to tool leather off of YouTube. And so it was kind of funny because I was by myself, I've always pretty much done it on my own...I filled up sketchbook after sketchbook just drawing patterns, trying to figure out what is my main goal… And I told myself, you know, I want to be one of the best, if not the best down the road… as long as I'm doing the highest quality work that I can do... I wanted to be known for doing really, really good work.”

Expanding into other mediums, Dustin has more recently been taking commissions for custom automotive interior detail. His journey into this space began when a friend gave him a center console to work on. After learning his friend’s truck burned down, he finished the piece anyway and found success.

“I didn't have a customer in mind for it or anything, I made a couple videos of it and kind of put the word out there to try to generate some interest in it. And then it blew up, I was really surprised at how much interest I got, and put it up for auction on eBay. And I think that one ended up selling for somewhere around 1400 bucks.”

Looking ahead, Dustin wants to continue growing his business to take on more automotive interior projects. By expanding, he can continue with his core business in creating smaller leather pieces, and take on bigger commissions that require a longer lead time.

“I would like to build an addition off in my shop, to where someone could put their vehicle in and leave it with me for a couple of weeks. And I'm, you know, I'm able to really go to town on the interior. And to me, getting into that crowd and everything with the passion that I have for, you know, fixing up vehicles and stuff, I think it's a really good fit for me.”

Dustin also teaches a wide range of students how to craft leather, along with having written a couple ebooks and guides. From a self-taught hobby to fully-realized craftsmanship, Dustin Loftis has turned his passion for art and western lifestyle into a tangible living.

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