The Original Leather Craftsman of Olvera Street

The Original Leather Craftsman of Olvera Street

Planted across the street from the Union Train Station in downtown Los Angeles, Calle Olvera has been a traditional marketplace since 1932. Although these very grounds were deeply rooted in the founding of the City (since the early 1800's), Olvera Street was officially established as a cultural center for art, music and authentic Mexican cuisine on April 26th, 1932. Legend has it: the City of L.A. converted an alleyway into storefront spaces and invited artisans to "set up shop" and create their handcrafts for sale. It wasn't long before glass-blowers, pottery makers, steelsmiths and leathercraftsmen opened businesses here to showcase their creative works. It also allowed interested customers access to purchase merchandise. The brilliant idea of a few city-leaders has grown into an international tourist attraction that is still busy with activity, even to this day. Olvera Street's popularity even saved it from the former-mayor Villariagosa, when he had trouble quantifying the values of a true city landmark. Aside from that, the Municipalities of the this great City- nuestro pueblo, la reina de LOS ANGELES have preserved it for many generations. They have protected the historical landmark from over-developement, in a commendable effort to maintain Olvera Street's authentic charm; where musico serenades are commonplace, up and down the cobblestone street. An original residence, the oldest house in L.A. is located on Olvera St. La Casa "Avila" de Adobe serves as a museum and gives us a glimpse into the pueblo's colonial life, before the modern conveniences of gas, running-water and power.

Vega's Leather Shop-22 E. Olvera St. Downtown Los Angeles

The restaurants and craftshops that run up and down Olvera St. have been serving the needs of tourists, and locals alike. Each shop has a story. One of these stories is the establishment of Vega's Leather Shop by Mr. or Don, Adalberto Vega. At the age of 17, Adalberto first learned the craft by watching a leathersmith in Tijuana, Baja California. He started with a run of belts that, he chuckles when he recalls, he couldn't even give them away. Over time, A. Vega successfully created and sold numerous leather products in addition to belts. These included: wallets, purses, backpacks, jackets, hats, sandals and huaraches. Don Aldaberto Vega grew as an artisan, and a professionalism stemmed from his deep respect for leathercrafting. At a young age he had learned that his great grandfather was a leathercrafter, and saw his father make saddles and chaps. So there was an honor tied to the tradition. He gratefully reflects that it all worked for him. In that he made many happy-customers and business partners were drawn to him. Eventually, one particular partner greedily accused Adalberto of stealing from him. What did the Don do? At that very moment he wiped his innocent hands free of the unscrupulous accuser and told him he could have the entire $1,400 in the company's savings (a fortune in TJ during the '50s), but their business relationship was ended. This true caballero left with $28 in his pocket, his integrity intact and a dream to make his mark in the U.S.. in the City of L.A. Adalberto Vega originally arrived to Olvera St. through family ties with Juanitas Restaurant (also still open). It wasn't long before somebody believed in his skill, and loaned him $300 to start his business.

After the intitial costs of opening his shop, he was left with $70 to buy leather and started working it... Over 58 years have passed, and Aldaberto Vega's Leather Shop is still in business. Hasta la fecha, this master leathercraftsman works at his store and continues to do what he does best: making leather products that are practical to use, and beautiful to look at.

It is our great pleasure to present Don Aldaberto Vega's signature designs. Authentic hand-tooled leather purses that he created (cut, engraved and painted by the master himself). These purses come in two designs: the "Vega" y "La Normita". The larger purse is his trademark design that is as durable as it is attractive. He gave it his family name, like he did his leathershop over 50 years ago. As things that symbolize what is important to him, each purse is made with quality you can rely on; so they are built to last. This Vega design is big enough to carry the items necessary to make the day's journey easier.. It is available for purchase only at Vega's Leather Shop and sold exclusively online from this site Shop for only $140 each.

La Normita is sleek (smooth, trim and graceful); A finely contoured purse designed for the woman on the go... Compact and lightweight for easy carrying. Yet, it's big enough to carry all the essientials. A strong zipper keeps all your personal items easily contained. The beautiful leather is top grade, of course, and the handtooled flowers are engraved by Adalberto Vega himself. After 50 years of experience making leather purses, Senor Vega calls this bolsa design worthy of carrying the name of his Wife (whom has since passed on), his wife of a life-time: La Norma Vega. There is a picture of her in the display case inside Vega's Leather Shop. In his words, she was the woman that inspired him. Not only to create this design, but to make a life and raise a family in this Land of Opportunity ...where Dreams do come True. Adalberto V. still makes these purses in her loving memory and sells them in his shop. You can personally purchase one from this artist there, or you can order them from Shop for $95. While supplies last...

And Have A Happy Mother's Day/ Feliz Dia de Las Madres From Vega's Leather Shop - 22 E. Olvera Street, Los Angeles CA 90012

Written by - J. G. Vega / Adalberto's Apprentice

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