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Blacksmith Labs - Official Affiliate Thread

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 


Hello gents,


I am Alan from Blacksmith-Labs, a premium leather mobile accessories manufacturer.  We are excited to open our first official thread here on the Style Forum. Please give me an opportunity to introduce our company to this unique community.


Our company started as an online retailer specializing in mobile accessories not long after the release of the original iPhone in 2008.  After years of frustration dealing with cheaply mass produced cell phone holsters, we realized the market is seriously lacking choices for stylish mobile accessories that are built to last and made of premium quality material.  I am sure you know what I mean if you have owned products from brands like Leica, Alden, Canali etc.  In 2012, we decided to launch a brand that is dedicated to producing mobile accessories with the best material and craftsmanship.


The Blacksmith-Labs was born in 2013.   


The brand was first launched in a campaign on Kickstarter in October 2013, introducing to the world a collection of holsters made of premium quality leather (e.g. Horween Chromexcel) and our proprietary metal alloy belt clips.  Our design philosophy is based on the concept of modern minimalist, focusing on the fundamentals of design without sacrificing functionality.  The Kickstarter campaign was very successful and it affirms our brand's direction.  The next step was to make our product available to general public.  After hours after hours of hard work with limited resources, our homepage and webstore was launched on January 1, 2014: 




I am a strong believer of understanding customers and responding to their needs is the best secret in successful product design and engineering.  Therefore, your feedback is extremely important to us and greatly appreciated.  Please feel free to drop me a message about your opinions on our current offerings.  On customer support side, we are committed to providing the best possible service to each and every customer.  I am open to answering questions on any topics about our company or products.  I can be reached via PM here, or by email me directly at styleforum@blacksmith-labs.com.


We are thrilled to be selected as an affiliate vendor here on the Style Forum.  To celebrate the launch of our webstore and becoming a contributing member to this community, we have created a 15% off coupon code (STYLEFORUMFANS) as a little gift for our new friends in the forum.  On top of the coupon code, as an introductory offer, we include complimentary FREE shipping worldwide on all products.


Some examples of our creations.



post #2 of 15
Welcome gentlemen.
post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 

A sneak preview of some of our latest front-page gallery creations!!!  Enjoy gents!!!



Barrett in the Horween Chromexcel Leather (Lapis Blue), together with my first serious watch - TAG Carrera Chrono Auto




Bruno in our premium leather (Chestnut Brown), in front of my dependable Polaroid Land 250.


post #4 of 15
Thread Starter 
We are thrilled to have our holsters reviewed by Connie on peanutbutterandwhine.com. Enjoy it!!!

post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 

We are excited to receive another glowing review by gavethat.com.  Check it out!!





post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 

To expend our already very popular Horween Signature Series, we just announces the following new Horween leather finishes are available for the iPhone 5/5s/5c Bruno belt clip holsters.


  • ​​​Horween Chromexcel ​​#58​72 Burgundy​​ Aniline Leather - a perfect match to your burgundy ​bespoke footwear
  • Horween Essex ​Dark Cognac Leather - an enriched medium brown​​​​​​​​, ​​​a sense of grand luxury
  • Horween Essex Natural Leather - ​​a light tan that ages beautifully with time




Through our closer than ever collaboration with Horween Leather Company, we expect to accelerate the expansion of our Horween Leather Series in the near future.  Based in Chicago, The Horween Leather Company has been around for more than a century, crafting leather the old fashion way to date.  ​​Their leather can be found in high-end accessories, footwear, and sporting goods.  


These new additions to the Horween Signature Series are now available for immediate purchase on our company's website, www.blacksmith-labs.com.



post #7 of 15
Thread Starter 

In response to the increasing demand on premium holsters for iPhone 5/5s protective case users , we just announced the immediate availability of several over-sized versions of Bruno and Barrett belt clip holsters.


Bruno Mezzano

- Medium-sized version of the original Bruno holster

- Designed to hold a typical iPhone 5/5s case or cover

- Example of compatible cases: Tech21 Impact Mesh/Shell, Speck Candyshell and Fabshell, Incipio NGP covers, and typical soft Gel (TPU) covers


Bruno Grande

- Largest version of the original Bruno holster

- Designed to hold larger rugged cases

- Example of compatible cases: Otterbox Commuter case, Lifeproof FRE waterproof case, and Mophie Juice Pack Air battery case


Barrett Grande

- Largest version of our popular Barrett holster

- Designed to hold larger rugged cases

- Example of compatible cases: Otterbox Commuter case



post #8 of 15
I've had Barrett Grande for over a week and this is my review:

I have an Apple iPhone 5s with a Tech 21 Impact Mesh case and ordered the Barrett Grande in black leather based on recommendations from Blacksmith-Labs.

The construction of the case is very good with a few stray threads but nothing that I think will compromise the integrity of the case. Blacksmith-Labs uses good quality leather but I believe that the Horween leather is probably the version to get if I were to do it again. I feel like the one I have is well made and stitched well but I can tell that with time this leather will become too soft with the frequent use of putting the phone in and out-it's already looser from when I first received it over a week ago.

The opening of the flap "slit" was stiff at first but it's starting to become soft to the point that without the phone putting enough tension length-wise, it will open too easily. I think this area needs to be reinforced given that the button stud where the flap opening attaches to is sturdy and well designed.

Since it was designed around the Otterbox Commuter series case, the fit of my iPhone with the slimmer and shorter Tech 21 Impact Mesh was good but looser. I figured this would eventually become an issue for me. Especially combined with the softer leather and the slightly larger fit of the Otterbox Commuter, there's more play top to bottom than I would've liked. I prefer that my pouches secure the phone inside and the pouch can be secured on my belt-I'm not so confident it will do the former unless I switch to an Otterbox Commuter or similar sized IPhone case.

This leads me to the metal alloy belt clip which I think is the best part of this case. It's sturdy, doesn't rotate around too easily thus maintaining its position, and stays on your belt or web gear on the shoulder straps of your pack. It's just too bad the iPhone itself could fall out unless it had a thicker case like the Otterbox Commuter or the flap can be more secured over the metal button and not pop open (it's happened already). The second best part is the visceral appeal of the case makes it a stylish accessory, especially when wearing a suit.

I would give the Blacksmith-Labs Barrett case a rating of 3.5 out of 5 Stars. If I had the Otterbox Commuter as my iPhone case or if I had an iPhone without a case (in the smaller Barrett), I can see giving it 4 Stars since I would think that it would fit better. The flap opening that goes over the metal button could be better designed with some reinforcement to keep it from popping open as the leather loosens, maybe the stiffer Horween leather versions are better.

Moreover, I have a lot of experience with leather goods of a similar size as this case that are used to hold various items and constructed with a lot of hand-boning. They are extremely tough with a similar price point and made in the U.S.A. Also, when I used to box on the amateur circuit, my leather boxing gloves were "Reyes" and made in Mexico and they took a lot of abuse and lasted for hundreds of rounds. So I know that well made leather goods can be done in Mexico as well. This is made in China (I know, iPhones are assembled in China). I would've preferred these leather pouches to have been made on this side of the pond. But this is more of a personal preference.

Overall though, I would recommend the Barrett Grande (probably the Horween version) to folks that have a larger case for their iPhones, like the Otterbox Commuter, or no case for their iPhones (regular Barrett's). They are stylish and made well enough to offer an alternative to the many "cheap" leather cases in the market that you can attach to a belt or a strap. Finally, I thought that their customer service was outstanding. Blacksmith-Labs was very responsive to my questions and requests, and they seem to stand behind their product.
post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 

Hi rbny,


We really appreciate you reviewing our product here.  As a start-up we strive to improve our products, services and overall customer experience and your feedback is extremely valuable to us. 


Regarding the relatively loose fitting on your Tech21 Impact Mesh case, as you can see in our previous news releases we have been adding more size options to cover more cases on the market, and Tech21 is definitely one of top brand on our list.  Unfortunately our limited budget would not allow us to fulfill all market demand, especially when we are on our pilot production lots (as mentioned in our email exchange, your Barrett Grande was handpicked by us from our very first lot of Barrett Grande).  Will you consider to try the Bruno Mezzano? It provides a perfect fit for your Impact Mesh case.  If you are interested, we can certainly send you a sample to try out.


I would like to thank you for your feedback again.  If possible, would you mind to post some pictures of your Barrett case with your favorite matching outfits?





post #10 of 15
Thank you for your response to my review. Yes, I would welcome the opportunity to "test drive" the Bruno Mezzano for the Apple 5s w/a Tech 21 Impact Mesh case and write a review on it. I fully understand the challenges associated with a start up company producing merchandise that is mass marketed to the general public. Especially something like cases for a smart phone. I do applaud your effort for at least trying to cover the most popular versions with the corresponding accessories. However, as you know, I bought your case to fulfill a specific task which it does well enough but it does have its shortcomings; some are personal to me. As the saying goes."the mission drives the gear train." As to your other request-it's not going to happen because I prefer not to take photos of myself-hope you understand.

Thanks again for your outstanding customer service.
post #11 of 15
Thread Starter 

Hi rbny,


Great, I just sent you an email about sample we are going to send you.





post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 

In response to the popular demand from people who prefer to keep the phone in their pocket, the Blacksmith-Labs is excited to launch the new Bruno Pouch Cases for the Apply iPhone 5/5s.  The new Bruno Pouch Case is immediately available in various leather and color options, including the premium Horween Chromexcel and Essex Leather versions.  



post #13 of 15
Thread Starter 

The Blacksmith-Labs just announced the immediate availability of the Bruno Pouch Case series tailored for the Samsung Galaxy S5.  The initial release includes 2 leather and 5 color options, including the premium Horween Chromexcel and Essex Leather versions.  Similar to our very successful Bruno Holster series, the body of all Bruno Pouch Case is constructed from single piece of premium leather to achieve the slimmest profile possible.  On top of that, every single pouch case is hand-stitched to form the pouch body to give the perfect fitting and luxury feel.



post #14 of 15
It's been about three weeks since I received the Bruno Mezzano in chestnut brown color for my Apple 5s with Tech 21 Impact Mesh Case.

Like the Barrett, it is well-made with high quality leather and that metal clip again takes center stage as it is robustly built allowing the pouch to be attached to a belt or strap. I used this case more when casually dressed and during more active pursuits and the pouch managed to inadvertently move around my belt. However, the pouch was never dislodged and the clip served its purpose, keeping the pouch with my iPhone securely on my belt-no real issues here.

The construction of the stitching on the bottom border was/is a concern since the bottom part can fold over the stitching and could with time pull out the threads or become loose. Consequently, weakening the overall folded design of the pouch. This is important because the folded over design of the Bruno Mezzano is what determines the the overall fit and integrity of the pouch around the iPhone. There could be more reinforcement around this area to prevent this from happening. But I think that it should hold up for now-we'll see.

This folded over design is what makes the Bruno Mezzano fit the 5s with the Tech 21 Impact mesh case so well around the iPhone. The thin strap locks the iPhone better than the Barrett flap and the iPhone puts enough pressure that the strap has not popped open unlike the flap on my Barrett. Plus the Bruno Mezzano is noticeably smaller and sleeker which is preferable for me when wearing it on a belt.

But, in addition to the non-reinforced corner stitching, which is in my opinion only theoretically a weak area, the problem was the chestnut/brown color "bled" and stained two pairs of my trousers-that is unacceptable. Thankfully, the stains did come off and I took several wipes with a damp cloth to the pouch until it stopped bleeding its color-this seems to have remedied the staining issue. Nonetheless, this should've been taken care of prior to it being shipped out of Blacksmith-Labs. Hopefully, this has or will be taken care of by Blacksmith-Labs in their future production runs. Note: My black Barrett Grande exhibited no staining whatsoever and both the leather and color are holding up well.

Finally, I do think that the Bruno Mezzano is a really good and well-made pouch for the iPhone 5s with the Tech 21 Impact Mesh case. I don't want to give it a final rating just yet because the color bleeding is a sign of an improperly finish leather product. But I do like the design and utility of this pouch-more so than the Barrett Grande. How much more? Well. I just ordered a Bruno Mezzano in the Horween Lapis Blue for my iPhone and hope that the leather does not bleed and stain my trousers.

Many thanks to Alan at Blacksmith-Labs for providing me the Bruno Mezzano for testing and their outstanding customer service./SIZE]
post #15 of 15

Affiliate of the week - I can't keep on carrying my phone in this neoprene disaster.  

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