Dustin Spencer, the founder, designer, and craftsman of Vermilyea Pelle, became fascinated with traditionally made leather goods at age four in his grandfather's horse tack room. While spending time with his grandfather, Dustin would spend hours digging through boxes of used headstalls, looking at all the broken-in or broken down boots, dissecting the saddles and generally trying to understand how everything was put together. Grandpa eventually had to accept the fact that Dustin was more interested in all his “old junk” than his horses and riding.
Dustin has a clear memory of how fascinating all the “old junk” seemed to him and has made it his passion to recreate that feeling. He spent a good part of his later childhood and teenage years feeding that memory by making small leather bags and moccasins. He then worked as a cobbler for 12 years, honing his skills on both products and machinery.
In 2008 Dustin started Vermilyea Pelle in an effort to pool all his experience, knowledge and interest. Starting with one vintage machine and a hand full of traditional tools, he has grown to a full shop with a consistent wholesale and retail business.
As Dustin has built his shop he has also built strong relationships with US companies who craft the raw materials from which his designs are inspired. From creating tanning recipes with Famous Horween Leathers out of Chicago or designing custom Shoes with Rancourt & Co out of Maine, Dustin builds partnerships based on respect for the heritage of the companies and a common interest in the techniques they use to make high quality goods.
Dustin's family on his mother’s side is from France and Italy, her maiden name is Vermilyea and Pelle is the Italian word for leather. Dustin's family tree on both sides has a long legacy of craftsman. Vermilyea Pelle is a way for him to honor his family, and the work is a continuation of his family’s craftsman heritage. (The Tree in the logo represents family roots and the bark that is used in the leather tanning process.)