News ID: 315169
Published: 0919 GMT August 01, 2021

Harnessing teamwork: US couple creates leather jewelry, custom products

Harnessing teamwork: US couple creates leather jewelry, custom products
GARETT FISBECK/CPN

Not everyone can successfully incorporate marriage and business, but Bob and Patty Frakes from Oklahoma, the US, are breaking the status quo with their leatherworking company Frakes Designs.

Patty is a Travis family descendant and a paralegal by day for the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals. Bob retired from the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and now oversees their company’s operations, which includes creating jewelry, key chains and custom projects with leather, news-star.com reported.

Bob’s interest in the art form began at an early age, and he now has more than 30 years of professional leathercraft experience.

“When I was a kid, not far from our home was a Tandy leather shop,” Bob said. “I kind of became friends with the owner at the time, and I started fiddling around.”

He did not expand on his interests much until adulthood when another family member’s wood engraving provided ample inspiration. His brother gifted him a case of tools, which included everything necessary to get started.

“When Bob picked it up and started working, he just stayed with it,” Patty explained.

Drawn to Western patterns, Bob began completing smaller crafts for personal use, including belts and wallets. Three decades later, he has expanded on his skill set and can complete projects of all sizes: From earrings and bracelets to gun holsters and guitar covers.

After 48 years of marriage, the duo understands each other’s strengths and weaknesses.

“Bob and I laugh about that a lot because we’re both strong personalities,” Patty said. “But for now, I am the student, and he is the teacher. He is a true leather artisan. He knows what the leather can do.”

Although Bob worked alone in the beginning, a special project three years ago required Patty’s assistance. Since then she has provided product ideas and economic savvy.

 “My role is mostly design and finishing and assembling pieces. … I’m what you call product control,” Patty said and laughed.

Before becoming a school counselor, their daughter Jennifer was a basketball coach in Rush Springs, Oklahoma. She wanted a unique way to remind the players of their motto, “You get what you give.” Patty and Bob rose to the challenge, creating one-of-a-kind bracelets for each player and coach.

“That was our first foray into jewelry, and everybody liked them so much,” Patty said. “Up until this point, Bob was just doing special projects.”

Word spread quickly, and soon the Frakes had numerous requests for accessories, keychains and more.

“People in Jenni’s little town all wanted (our pieces),” she said. “And that’s how the beginning of our business was for us — just being able to create.”

   
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