If you like leather…
You’ll love the colorful, customized chaps, chinks and cowboy collectables offered by SanirbaS.
By Kindra Gordon
Cowboys and cowgirls are loving the leather items Sabrina Harmon creates at her home-based business near Newell, SD. Harmon specializes in making custom chaps and chinks for adult and youth rodeo contestants – as well as participants in Little Britches and 4-H rodeos, and those little tykes who just can’t wait to grow up and ride a horse.
She’ll make any color combination and style requested and says “making the customer happy” is her goal.
“I’ll make them as plain or fancy as they want,” Harmon says, and adds, “I’ve never done two pair the same. Everyone likes a certain brand or style made to fit.” She has customers measure themselves and fill out a form that they mail or fax back to her, so she can get the customized fit just right.
In addition to her popular chaps and chinks, Harmon also will make shotguns (a tighter fitting leather pant) and roping bags upon order, as well as leather accessories such as pillows, concho belts, coasters and key rings. She also sells jewelry and Western clothing. Product prices range from $5 up to hundreds of dollars for the fancier, customized leather pieces.
Harmon started her home business nearly three years ago, after making the decision that it was important to be at home for her family – which includes six children and eight grandchildren. She and her husband Richard also operate a small farm and since he works construction and travels a lot, it was also important for her to be at home to run the day-to-day operations.
Having grown up at White River, SD, and previously working in agriculture as part of the Central States Fair staff and with a regional livestock newspaper, Harmon says it was important to her to continue working with people in agriculture. “I’ve realized ag people are the best people in the world to work with, and I enjoy going to ag events.”
She also had a passion for sewing and an interest in working and creating things from leather. “I’ve always sewn and over the years often made things for my own kids when we couldn’t afford to buy them,” she says.
Thus, with the purchase of a special machine for sewing leather her business began. Harmon applied for a business license in February 2004 and on the spur of the moment she spelled her first name backwards to come up with the business name SanirbaS.
She tells, “I was sitting in the tax office trying to come up with a name for my business, and I thought of Oprah. Her talk show helped motivate me to start this home-based business, so I did the same as Oprah did with her successful company (Harpo, Inc.) and spelled my first name – Sabrina – backwards. I remember the tax man telling me I had my vowels in the right places so it is meant to be.”
A Growing Business
Today, word of mouth is quickly helping SanirbaS Leather & Cowboy Collectables grow. Harmon says, “My best advertisers are my 6 children, 1 son-in-law, 2 daughter-in-laws, and 8 grandchildren, because I have so many of them, all with interests running from ranching and hunting to construction.”
Wherever they go, her family helps showcase the products she’s made. She tells that when her son wore chinks she’d made for him to a branding, she got orders for more chinks from others who liked what they saw.
Last winter (2005) when she had her first booth at the Black Hills Stock Show, she decorated the booth with some baby chinks she’d made as a gift for two new grandchildren to come home from the hospital in – never thinking those chinks would be the most popular item. But they were, and she got order upon order for them. Harmon says, “I learned at that point to attract a grandparent’s eye for their grandkids.”
Along with taking pride in her custom creations, Harmon says most importantly she takes pride in customer satisfaction – helping people find the perfect gift or leather item – and sometimes repairing a sentimental old pair of chaps and chinks.
She says, “I do zipper repair on coveralls, to patching canvas hunting tents. I have also made leather cases for guns and pool cues. Part of my time I spend just doing repairs or adjustment on someone’s favorite chaps & chinks, replacing buckles etc.”
She adds, “I want my customers to be happy and enjoy what I’ve made for them. I offer satisfaction guaranteed.”
Harmon is also committed to giving back to the ag community by donating a portion of her proceeds to supporting 4-H, FFA, youth groups and ag scholarships. As an example, she donated a pair of leather chaps to last year’s Black Hills Stock Show scholarship auction, and says, “My goal is to make a positive difference in someone else’s life while trying to stay afloat here on the place. People are more important to me then the all mighty dollar.”
Christian values are equally important to Harmon and are reflected in her business – from Christian type t-shirts, and cross jewelry, to soft leather bible covers and her friendly customer service.
She says, “You won’t find a “Save a horse-Ride a Cowboy” t-shirt in my offerings. Something like that may be a money maker, but I would rather sell one Christian t-shirt that would be worn and a make a difference in someone else’s life than sell a crude t-shirt just to pocket the money. My banker may not agree, but that’s me.”
Harmon credits the support of several local friends who have their own businesses with helping her get her start, and as her business grows she is excited about the future.
For now, she takes her wares to local craft fairs and stays busy with orders from word of mouth. She hopes to continue to have a booth at the Black Hills Stock Show, and as her youngest son finishes up high school in a few years, she hopes to eventually travel more to rodeos with her grandkids and her leather creations in tow.
To contact SanirbaS call 605-381-9136 or visit www.sanirbas.com.