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Our Story

 

The Salz Tannery loading dock. A worker scudding a cowhide. Photographs by Ansel Adams, 1955.

AK Salz is California’s oldest leather brand.

Our family’s history with leather began in 1917 when Ansley Kullman Salz purchased the San Lorenzo Tannery, in operation since 1861.

A trained concert violinist, Ansley quickly fell in love with leather making and came to consider it an art form. Using the resources that were available to him in Northern California, like the bark from California tanoaks, he created Salz's iconic California Saddle Leather.

In 1947, Norman Lezin succeeded Ansley as president after marrying Ansley's daughter Margaret. Norman's oldest son Jeremy Salz Lezin followed him as president in 1990 and Mathew Lezin joined as Vice President five years later. Through the generations, AK Salz remained an industry standard and a premier West Coast tannery, synonymous both with undeniable quality and unique character. As Salz grew, the leather that was used for saddles, bags and boots on the frontier was recognized by the fashion industry for its raw vibrance. Demand for our leather spread and from the 1950s onward, Salz leather could be found in iconic brands, in luxury handbags, leather accessories, and footwear across the globe. 

The Salz Tannery remained a family business until 2001, when we decided to permanently close in the face of rising low-cost competition overseas. We kept our formulas and techniques a secret and California Saddle Leather, coveted by leather goods manufactures across the world, dropped out of existence.

 

 

Today, as the fourth Salz generation born into this industry our inspiration continues to be the natural beauty we see in the leather we commission and select. By designing and producing our own line, we again find the opportunity to showcase the unique character and effortless style of coastal California.

AK Salz is our Californian vision of luxury.